O's unlikely to offer arbitration

O's unlikely to offer arbitration to four free agents

One of the offseason's key deadlines strikes Monday at midnight ET, when all Major League teams are required to decide whether to offer arbitration to their outgoing free agents. Baltimore isn't expected to do so for any of its four veterans, none of whom would require Draft pick compensation if they accepted arbitration and signed elsewhere.

All four of Baltimore's affected players -- first baseman Kevin Millar, left fielder Jay Payton and infielders Alex Cintron and Juan Castro -- were designated as neither Type A nor Type B free agents. That means that there is virtually no advantage to offering them arbitration, beyond the possibility that they'd accept and stay in the fold.

The Orioles aren't expected to make a serious play for any of their outgoing free agents, but Millar likely represents the best chance of the four to return. Baltimore is attempting to make a play for Severna Park, Md., native Mark Teixeira at first base, and even if that falls through, the club would likely move Aubrey Huff over from designated hitter.

Millar has voiced his desire to come back to Baltimore for a fourth season, though, and will likely be available to sign late in the process. With that in mind, his candidacy may become more attractive over time.

Hot Stove

Things are a little more cut-and-dried with Payton, who grew uncomfortable with his role as last season progressed. The veteran is believed to want a shot at a starting job in another city, and failing that, to play for a contender. The Orioles' outfield appears to be set, with Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis nailing down jobs.

Castro and Cintron were both part of Baltimore's ill-fated effort to determine the starting shortstop job last year, a search that will continue into this offseason and perhaps beyond. Both veterans held the starting role at one point or another, as did light-hitting utility types like Luis Hernandez, Freddie Bynum and Brandon Fahey.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.