The Orioles have called the Astros about Wandy Rodriguez

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We learned earlier this week that the Orioles are “going hard” after Brewers’ right-hander Zack Greinke, but it appears Dan Duquette has some other targets in mind as he attempts to upgrade the starting rotation.

According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, the Orioles have called the Astros to inquire about the availability of Wandy Rodriguez. Kubatko notes that Duquette is “talking to lots of teams,” so this could be a matter of due diligence, but Rodriguez is a logical name to pop up over the next couple of weeks.

Rodriguez has a 3.54 ERA through 17 starts with the Astros this season. While the 33-year-old southpaw has averaged a career-best 1.9 BB/9, his strikeout rate (5.8 K/9) is the lowest since his rookie season in 2005 and his and swinging strike rate (7.1 percent) is at a career-low level.

Rodriguez is owed roughly $5 million for the rest of this season and $13 million in 2013 while his contract includes a $13 million vesting option for 2014. The vesting option becomes a player option in the event of a trade, so that could complicate the ability of Astros GM Jeff Lunhow to find a suitor.

Coming into today’s action, Orioles starters rank 27th in the majors with a 4.73 ERA. While offseason acquisitions Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen have been pleasant surprises, the rest of the rotation has been pretty shaky.

Reds ink Oliver Perez to a minor-league deal

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The Reds have signed free agent reliever Oliver Perez to a minor-league contract, the team announced Saturday. The deal comes with a major-league invite and could be worth $1.25 million if Perez secures a roster spot this spring, with an additional $500,000 in potential performance bonuses.

Perez, 36, is coming off of a two-year run with the Nationals. He produced a 4.64 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 an d10.6 SO/9 through 50 relief appearances and 33 innings with the club in 2017. The veteran lefty hasn’t kept an ERA under 4.00 in at least four seasons, but he continues to be undeniably solid against left-handed batters, holding them to a .227/.301/.364 batting line over 18 1/3 innings last year.

While returning southpaw Wandy Peralta appears to have locked down a bullpen spot already, Perez will still compete for another role against fellow left-handers Cody Reed and Amir Garrett, both of whom also have experience in the rotation. If Perez doesn’t break camp with the team, MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon notes, he’ll be permitted to opt out of his contract. The Reds are currently looking to bounce back from a dismal performance in 2017, one in which their bullpen ranked 28th among major league teams with a collective 5.63 ERA and -1.2 fWAR.