Originally posted on FOX Sports  |  Last updated 1/23/13
The Baltimore Orioles, quiet all offseason, might finally be turning active. The Orioles are pursuing a trade for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Jason Kubel and also are interested in Detroit Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello, according to major league sources. No deal appears close, and it seems unlikely that the Orioles would acquire both players. Kubel, 30, is owed $7.5 million next season, plus a $1 million buyout. Porcello, 24, recently avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $5.1 million salary for 2013. Other possibilities for the Orioles include free-agent left-hander Joe Saunders and Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano, who is available in a trade. Soriano, however, is the least likely option, sources said. Saunders, 31, is seeking a three-year deal, sources say. Soriano, 36, is owed $36 million over the next two years. The Cubs would need to assume the bulk of that obligation for a deal to happen, and Soriano would need to waive his no-trade clause. To this point, the Orioles' only free-agent acquisition has been outfielder Nate McLouth, whom the team re-signed to a one-year, $2 million contract. Kubel, who batted .253 with 30 homers and 90 RBI last season, would fit well for the Orioles as a left fielder and designated hitter. Soriano, who batted .262 with 32 homers and 108 RBI, could fill the same role. McLouth and Nolan Reimold currently are projected to rotate at left field and DH, and Wilson Betemit is another option at DH. Betemit, a switch-hitter, hits righties well. Kubel bats left, Soriano right. Porcello was only 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA last season, but his performance likely would improve if he went from the Tigers to the Orioles and pitched in front of a better infield defense. The Tigers, who also are looking to move outfielder Brennan Boesch, continue to pursue late-inning bullpen help. As FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported last week, the Orioles might be willing to offer closer Jim Johnson in a deal for Porcello. Johnson, 30, led the majors with 51 saves last season, but relievers work fewer innings than starters and generally have less value. Porcello also offers an extra year of control -- he is three years away from free agency, Johnson two.
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