Despite agreeing to a minor league contract with 37-year-old left-hander Wandy Rodriguez on Friday, the Orioles are still in conversations with another veteran starter, Kyle Lohse, according to an industry source.
The right-handed Lohse, also 37, remains an option to be added to the Orioles’ minor league stable of starters as they attempt to create depth at Triple-A Norfolk and provide insurance for a big league rotation that currently has a trio of starters age 26 or younger.
An offer has been made to Lohse, but the sides have not been able to agree on financial terms. Talks appear to be ongoing.
Lohse, known as a control artist, has pitched 15 seasons in the majors, including last year when he was 5-13 with a 5.85 ERA in 37 games (22 starts) for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Potentially, the Rodriguez acquisition could have tempered the club’s interest in Lohse, another veteran who struggled in 2015. But the Triple-A Norfolk rotation surely has room to grow; it is currently comprised of starters that are not viewed as ready to join the Orioles if an immediate need arises: Odrisamer Despaigne, Nick Additon, David Hale, Angel Miranda and Joe Gunkel, who is expected to make his Triple-A debut Sunday.
Rodriguez, who will report to extended spring training in Sarasota, Fla., is seen as “pitching depth” for the Orioles right now. But the 11-season veteran, who was 6-4 with a 4.90 ERA in 17 games for the Texas Rangers last year, likely will get a chance to prove he has something left at Triple-A.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette is always intrigued by low-risk veterans who may be able to help at some point during a long season. And he has said previously that he will continue to look for pitching options this year.