The Orioles are willing to forfeit the 17th overall pick in 2014 and its associated bonus pool money to sign a compensation free agent, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal writes in his latest column. It would appear that the O's aren't done sorting through external rotation options after adding Suk-Min Yoon earlier this week.
While Baltimore has been connected with pitchers such as Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez in recent weeks, new quotes from baseball operations chief Dan Duquette suggest stronger interest than what's been previously reported. "We do have a little bit better talent base in our organization. Our scouts have done a decent job recruiting internationally as well as domestically," Duquette comments. "With the maturity of our team, we have to take a look at it."
That last quote likely refers to the Orioles' current window for contention, which looks to narrow considerably after the 2015 season, when first baseman Chris Davis and catcher Matt Wieters are scheduled to hit free agency. Augmenting the rotation with a pitcher such as Santana or Jimenez would appear to be the most likely avenue of upgrade, as Orioles starters posted an ERA of 4.57 in 2013, good for 12th in the AL. It's currently not known whether the O's prefer Santana or Jimenez, but payroll flexibility isn't an issue, Rosenthal writes.
Rosenthal's article outlines another intriguing possibility: that the Orioles ink two compensation free agents. Adding Santana or Jimenez and a hitter — say, Kendrys Morales — would cause Baltimore to lose the 55th selection in the draft in addition to its first rounder, and such a move is "probably a long shot," Duquette says. However, losing one pick "makes the second one easier, frankly," he adds.