Orioles have been in contact with Nate Schierholtz

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The defending AL East-champion Orioles have been linked in recent weeks to free agent outfielders like Norichika Aoki and Colby Rasmus, but Aoki signed with the Giants on Monday and Rasmus agreed to a deal Tuesday with the Astros. So, what now?

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets that the O’s have been “in contact this winter” with free agent Nate Schierholtz, adding that he’s someone the club has “courted” before. Connolly also says the Orioles could revisit their interest in Ichiro Suzuki, who remains without a contract for his age-41 season.

Schierholtz hit just .195/.243/.309 with seven homers and 37 RBI in 122 games last season between the Cubs and Nationals, but he had 21 homers and 68 RBI in 137 games for Chicago in 2013. He turns 31 next month.

Bryce Harper is on paternity leave

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Several years ago, Bryce Harper made news when it was revealed that he thought the word “meme” was pronounced “may-may.” That may be my favorite Bryce Harper moment ever.

As it was announced by the Phillies a little while ago that Harper has been placed on paternity leave, I’m wondering if he pronounces the word “baby” “bébé.”

I wouldn’t think less of him if he did, actually. One of my favorite people in the world does that.

Anyway, congratulations to Bryce Harper on becoming a dad. And it’s good news not just for him but for the Phillies and their fans as well. Why? Because as Bill noted earlier this week, Harper seems to hit better when he’s being taunted and mocked. For now that’s not very important, as the child won’t be talking for some time. As a father of teenagers, I can tell you that eventually the little monsters live to disrespect their dear old dads. If Harper’s current motivational patterns hold, by the time that kid is ten Harper will be winning the dang Triple Crown every year.

But again, congratulations to the Harpers.