Jon Morosi of FOX Sports is reporting that the Orioles are talking with free agent starters Joe Saunders and Chris Capuano. The Orioles had previously shown interest in A.J. Burnett; their newfound interest in Saunders and Capuano could indicate that they have moved on in their pursuit of starting pitching.
Saunders pitched for the Orioles briefly in 2012, posting a 3.63 ERA in seven starts. The 32-year-old spent 2013 with the Mariners, finishing with a 5.26 ERA in 183 innings.
Capuano, 35, has spent the last two seasons with the Dodgers. He finished 2012 with a 3.72 over 33 starts. Last season, he made just 20 starts, suffering from a left calf strain, a strained lat in his pitching shoulder, and a strained left groin.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.