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4. Which players in the trade market do the Orioles covet?
The Orioles obviously like Royals designated hitter Billy Butler, pictured, but they're not the only ones who do. Butler is one of the best hitters in the game, and it's still unclear whether he's truly available.
Even if Butler is truly a trade option, it would be a leap to say the Orioles have enough to net him. The Orioles need someone to fill their current holes at first base and left field, and they could find some suitable trade options among Butler's Kansas City teammates.
The Royals' Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon can both play first base, so if they are made available, they would both be intriguing options. Even a player like Kansas City outfielder Jeff Francouer could be an interesting option because he would give the Orioles another former Gold Glove winner in the outfield.
Another trade option who might fit is Washington Nationals first baseman-outfielder Michael Morse. Now that the Nationals acquired Denard Span to play center field, moving Bryce Harper to a corner outfield position, Morse’s future with the club will be dictated by whether the team can re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche.
Morse fits the mold of a power bat the Orioles can use in the middle of the order with some defensive flexibility. He becomes a free agent next season, so the Nationals are willing to move him now.
Duquette could also look to trade for a player like Seattle Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak, a former top prospect who has yet to live up to expectations.
Smoak only hit .217/.290/.364 in 132 games in Seattle last season, but he had 19 homers and turns just 26 this week.
June 30, 2012