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Report: The Orioles remain interested in free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo

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After losing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen in free agency, the Orioles’ starting rotation is a big question mark. As of now, they could be looking at a group including Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Vance Worley. Doesn’t exactly scream AL East favorites. The club picked up some depth today by acquiring Odrisamer Despaigne from the Padres, but they might not be done making moves.

According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles still have interest in free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo. The market hasn’t been kind to him, as he’s attached to draft pick compensation. And this is a big deal for Baltimore, who are set to pick 14th overall in this year’s draft. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has gone on record saying he’s reluctant to give up the pick, but Rosenthal writes that Gallardo’s price tag could drop to a point where they’d be willing to make a deal.

Gallardo, who turns 30 later this month, is coming off a career-low 3.42 ERA over 33 starts with the Rangers. That’s an impressive accomplishment considering the hitter-friendly environment, but his declining strikeout rate is surely another factor in why he’s still looking for a home in early February.

Strikeout percentage:

2012: 23.7 percent
2013: 18.6 percent
2014: 17.9 percent
2015: 15.3 percent

The Astros and Rockies were mentioned as possibilities for Gallardo last month, but it’s safe to say the Doug Fister signing takes Houston out of the mix.

Blue Jays, Josh Donaldson to table extension talks

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Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.

Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.

The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.

If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.