The Baltimore Orioles' desire to shore up their outfield has them focused on Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Matt Lawton. The teams have spoken several times about Lawton, according to two baseball sources. To obtain Lawton, 33, Baltimore would send outfielder Larry Bigbie, whom the Pirates covet.
There are several issues in obtaining Lawton, though; most important that he is a free agent at the end of the season. Baltimore will likely not just want to rent Lawton for two months and then see him walk away in the offseason. The Orioles are discussing asking for a window to negotiate an extension with Lawton if they continue to aggressively pursue the outfielder. The Florida Marlins are also interested in Lawton.
The Orioles view Lawton, hitting .270 with 10 home runs, as an upgrade over Bigbie, who, at 27 years old, continues to be viewed mostly as a prospect.
Perhaps the other stumbling block to a trade is that Lawton is owed approximately $4.8 million this season. The Orioles might also ask the Pirates pay some of Lawton's salary.
Lawton would seem to be an ideal No. 2 hitter who could fit between Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora in the lineup. Baltimore has tried to find a No. 2 hitter since spring training, but no one on the roster has fit into that spot. Lawton's 53 walks would rank first on the Orioles and his .376 on-base percentage would trail only Roberts. Lawton has a career .370 on-base percentage.
The Pirates have already shown interest in Bigbie this season, who was batting .258 with five home runs prior to Monday's game against the Texas Rangers. It's possible the package for Lawton could be extended to include either pitcher Mark Redman or pitcher Kip Wells, but the Orioles' interest in those two pitchers appears to be mild.