O's interested in dealing for Rangers' Borbon
Outfielder goes on waivers if no deal is made by Wednesday afternoon
BALTIMORE -- The Texas Rangers are optimistic they can trade Julio Borbon before 2 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and the Baltimore Orioles remain very interested in the outfielder. Borbon would need to be put on waivers if a trade is not in place before that deadline.
The two teams have had ongoing discussions regarding Borbon, who was designated for assignment last Tuesday, with the Rangers primarily seeking a pitcher with options in return, a source told MLB.com. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has been hesitant to trade pitching, although he did deal veteran reliever Luis Ayala earlier this month, and the sentiment remains that the Rangers asking price would have to soften for the two sides to strike a deal.
The Orioles had a wealth of outfielders in camp this spring, but there remains concern regarding their lineup. Only the middle-of-the-order bats have really produced, and not a lot of favorable left-handed hitting options like Borbon are in the system.
The team recently promoted left-handed hitter Chris Dickerson, adding him to the 40-man roster. Borbon, who has plus-speed, could add another element and give the club further depth.
Borbon has experience batting leadoff in the Majors, hitting .286/.342/.371 in 52 career games batting first, and has also spent 130 games in the No. 9 spot, an area of the lineup that has struggled for the O's. But it's it's uncertain how much of an immediate offensive boost he would give the Orioles, since he has just one at-bat this season and has been home since he was designated.
The O's interest could also be defensive-minded, with the club still cautious regarding the durability of Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis, who had season-ending injuries last year. Reimold has primarily served as the Orioles' designated hitter in favor of left fielder Nate McLouth, while Markakis hasn't been off to a particularly impressive start defensively. Borbon -- who has played center field almost exclusively over his career -- has good range, although his arm strength isn't great.
Borbon, the Rangers' regular center fielder in 2010, hit .276/.309/.340 with 11 doubles, four triples and three home runs, with 15 stolen bases in 22 attempts for the Rangers that season. The 27-year-old is a career .283/.324/.358 batter in part of four years in the big leagues. He spent last year with Triple-A Round Rock, where he batted .304/.349/.433 with 23 doubles, eight triples and 10 home runs. He also had 20 stolen bases in 28 attempts.
The Orioles are not Borbon's only suitors, as the Mets and Astros have also expressed interest in the outfielder.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.