With Nick Markakis signing with the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles are on the hunt for outfielders. They lost a 2.0+ WAR player in Markakis, and with DH/OF Nelson Cruz signing with the Seattle Mariners, they have a need to gain some ground offensively. Marlon Byrd, a candidate among a multitude of available players at the position, was the topic of discussion when the Phillies and Orioles met Monday at the Winter Meetings in San Diego.
Byrd has proven he has more to offer as a 37-year-old. For the Phillies in 2014, he hit .264/.312/.445 while leading the team with 25 home runs. Defensively, he saved six runs in right field, four of which with his arm. However, he also teamed up with Ryan Howard to be the top two strikeout leaders in all of baseball.The $8 million he is owed in 2015, and the vesting option of an equal amount for 2016, makes him an affordable, middle of the pack option with a similar WAR output to Marakakis over the last two years. It may come down to what Ruben Amaro Jr. deems a fair trade.
One theory that has surfaced involves Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez, a free-agent signing from last offseason who never lived up to potential. Jimenez was a late winter add-on for Baltimore, and touted as likely a valuable one, but spiraled downward (4.81 ERA, -0.5 WAR) for most of the season before being left off the playoff roster. Amaro has made starting pitching a priority at the Winter Meetings, so it may not be Jimenez, but he could be seeking others at the position.