FEB. 20: The Orioles are “closer than ever” to signing Gallardo, reports Encina. The two sides are nearing agreement on a three-year deal in the $35MM to $40MM range. Executive vice president Dan Duquette says a deal is not imminent. It’s worth noting that the Orioles tend to be very fastidious with final contract details and physicals. A final announcement may not come tonight, but it’s looking increasingly likely.
FEB. 19: The specific holdup in talks between the Orioles and Gallardo aren’t clear, but an opt-out clause is not the cause for the delay, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Baltimore is not going to give Gallardo an opt-out clause, and the pitcher’s camp is not demanding one in negotiations.
FEB. 18: Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun hears that Fowler has recently been seeking a four-year deal or, at least, more than $45MM on a three-year deal. Baltimore’s reportedly increased willingness to spend bodes well for the two sides being able to bridge that gap. Encina writes that the O’s “don’t seem to be in a rush” to complete either deal, noting that fans shouldn’t expect to see either in camp today. Encina echoes the sentiment that the O’s ultimately expect to sign both, however.
FEB. 17, 7:35pm: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports some of the parameters being discussed by the Orioles and Fowler (links to Twitter). The two sides are exploring a deal that would pay Fowler $12-13MM per season over a two- to three-year term, Olney hears. That’s a hike from previous comparisons to Howie Kendrick’s two-year, $20MM contract with the Dodgers, but even $12-13MM over a two- or three-year deal represents, from my vantage point, a rather nice value for the Orioles.
Olney adds that it is the Orioles’ “expectation” that they will sign both Gallardo and Fowler, with Gallardo bolstering the starting pitching and Fowler becoming the team’s everyday right fielder.
1:03pm: We checked in earlier today on the Orioles’ efforts to make some late additions of qualifying offer-bound free agents, as reports have suggested continued optimism that Baltimore will finalize a deal with righty Yovani Gallardo. Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com hears much the same (links to Twitter), and adds that the O’s are “confident” they’ll land outfielder Dexter Fowler as well.
Notably, per Kubatko, the O’s have yet to agree with the dollars being sought by their open-market targets — suggesting that there’s a bit more ground to cover than some minor contract provisions. He adds, interestingly, that the price tag on one or both players has “apparently changed recently.”
The expected cost of these players at this stage of the market remains a bit murky, though we have heard suggestions on both. Gallardo was said to be nearing agreement on a deal that would pay him in the $40MM to $45MM range over a three-year term. And Fowler has reportedly drawn interest from the O’s at around two years and $20MM.
While there’s still confidence in adding multiple players, Kubatko says that the Orioles would be interested in reaching agreement with Fowler whether or not a deal is first finalized with Gallardo. Adding either player would require the sacrifice of the 14th overall pick in this summer’s amateur draft, while signing both would spread that cost somewhat since the O’s next selection currently stands as the 29th choice.
Meanwhile, Baltimore still isn’t ruling out a move for Reds’ outfielder Jay Bruce. But it appears that the interest is tepid, as the team has real concerns about the former star’s ability to bounce back after two consecutive disappointing campaigns.