Some quick thoughts on some teams that still have work to do. Warning: The following list is not meant to be all-inclusive. Other clubs also are trying to upgrade.
*Padres. One rival executive says there is no chance that general manager Josh Byrnes completes his off-season with the addition of free-agent right-hander Jason Marquis as his only significant move.
The Padres seem disinclined to make a strong play for any of the free-agent remaining starters, believing that some of their youngsters can be the rough equivalent of veterans such as Joe Saunders, and at a much lower price.
A trade for a pitcher such as the Detroit Tigers’ Rick Porcello, Kansas City Royals’ Luke Hochevar or Los Angeles Dodgers’ Aaron Harang remains possible, though the Padres might be content to wait until spring training to better determine their needs.
The Chase Headley-for-Justin Upton talks failed to progress, according to major-league sources.
*Orioles. They’ve lost first baseman Mark Reynolds, and to this point all they’ve done is re-sign outfielder Nate McLouth and trade for two borderline major leaguers, outfielder Trayvon Robinson and infielder Yamaico Navarro.
The Orioles were one of the teams that pursued Upton, showing strong interest a few weeks back. Those talks sputtered, however, and the team currently appears more focused on adding a starting pitcher. Saunders remains a target, according to sources; the Orioles checked in on Porcello, but couldn’t find a match.
The addition of a middle-of-the-order hitter also wouldn’t hurt. The Orioles recently spoke with free-agent designated hitter Lance Berkman, but were not interested in paying him big dollars, knowing that Berkman has suffered injuries three of the past four seasons.
Something to remember: The O’s could pursue Nationals left fielder Michael Morse in a trade if the Nats resign free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. Or, the O’s could conserve their resources and address their needs later.
*Rockies. Bottom feeding for pitching – right-handers Jeff Karstens, Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Jair Jurrjens are among the possibilities, though some of those pitchers interest the club only on minor-league deals.
One intriguing longshot: Rafael Soriano. The Rockies only could sign the free-agent closer if his market crashed and he was willing to accept say, a two-year, $16 million deal. The team would lose a second-round pick for signing Soriano; its first rounder is protected.
*Phillies. Most of the heavy lifting is done, but the Phils continue to look for a right-handed hitting outfielder.
Manager Charlie Manuel likes Darin Ruf, and the team has discussed going with platoons in both left and right, incorporating Dominic Brown, John Mayberry and possibly Laynce Nix.
Ruf is a right-hander hitter, but has only 33 major-league at-bats. The Phillies, sources say, continue to look at all options, including the signing of free agent Scott Hairston and trades for the Chicago Cubs’ Alfonso Soriano and Los Angeles Angels’ Vernon Wells.
Hairston, however, reportedly wants a two-year contract in the $8 million range, and that price might be too steep for the Phillies’ liking.
*Mets. Trivia question: Who are Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill, Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis? The current outfielders on the Mets’ 40-man roster.
Andrew Brown and Brian Bixler, two players on minor-league contracts, also figure into the mix, and the Mets surely will sign another outfielder. Hairston is among the options; he won’t find more playing time elsewhere.
The Mets also are looking for a fifth starter, and they’re reportedly interested in free-agent right-handers Carl Pavano, Shaun Marcum and Chris Young.