- Andrew Cashner wasn’t the only Padre to draw interest from the Orioles, as the O’s also discussed James Shields and Matt Kemp in talks with San Diego. Shields has been the subject of some trade speculation this winter but there hasn’t been much solid buzz around the veteran following his somewhat disappointing 2015 campaign. Shields allowed a career-high 17.6% homer rate last year despite pitching home games at Petco Park, which certainly would be a concern for a team playing in hitter-friendly Camden Yards. Shields can opt out of his contract after 2016, and if he chooses to remain in his current deal, he’s owed $44MM in 2017-18 (counting the buyout of his 2019 club option). That opt-out and Shields’ age make him a trickier trade candidate than Cashner, despite Shields’ stronger career track record and history of success in the AL East.
- Kemp, meanwhile, was also an Orioles target last winter before the outfielder was dealt from the Dodgers to the Padres. Kemp would provide the O’s with a bat beyond their rumored targets of Dexter Fowler, Pedro Alvarez and Jay Bruce, and he might come at a discounted price since San Diego would obviously have to eat a healthy chunk of the $86MM owed to Kemp through the 2019 season (the Dodgers are also paying $14MM of that total). Kemp’s hitting has been inconsistent over the last three seasons, however, and Baltimore’s outfield defense would take a big hit with either Kemp or Mark Trumbo getting regular playing time. As Kubatko puts it, Kemp is “still not coming to Baltimore,” so it may be that the O’s have moved on.
- Several teams have asked Baltimore about Jonathan Schoop but the O’s aren’t listening to offers involving the young second baseman.
- Minor league southpaw Chris Lee is also getting attention in trade talks, and while Lee doesn’t seem as untouchable as Schoop, Kubatko says the Orioles “would like to hold onto” the left-hander. Lee was recently ranked as the seventh-best prospect in Baltimore’s system by Baseball America after a 2015 that saw him make his Double-A debut. The Orioles acquired Lee from Houston last May for two international bonus slots.
- The Orioles are planning to watch Tim Lincecum’s upcoming throwing session once the date is finalized. The O’s were linked to Lincecum earlier this month and they’ll likely be one of several teams interested in seeing if the former two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is looking healthy.
- Beyond Lincecum, “the Orioles are pretty much open to any bounceback candidate coming off an injury,” Kubatko writes. This search would include Cliff Lee, though the O’s don’t seem to feel that the veteran southpaw wants to pitch in 2016.