It's not immediately clear whether the Orioles are looking at Hendrickson as a starter or reliever, but his presence would allow some of the team's younger pitching prospects to develop at a more leisurely pace. Baltimore could announce his signing as early as Tuesday, assuming his physical examination went off without a hitch.
Hendrickson, who began his career with Toronto, went 7-8 record with a 5.45 ERA last season with the Marlins. The southpaw made 19 starts and racked up a 6.09 ERA before the All-Star break in 2008, and he's posted a 5.38 ERA as a starter and a 3.11 mark as a reliever over the last three years.
Baltimore currently has just one starter -- Guthrie -- pencilled in for a slot next season. The Orioles elected not to tender Daniel Cabrera a contract earlier this month and will likely evaluate Matt Albers, Radhames Liz and Garrett Olson in Spring Training to determine which of the three is most capable of sealing a back-end starting job.
Manager Dave Trembley said at the Winter Meetings that Troy Patton will likely start the season at Triple-A Norfolk, and he's also on record as preferring Brian Burres in a bullpen role. Andy MacPhail, Baltimore's president of baseball operations, has said repeatedly that he'd like his team's prospects to take their time.
The Orioles have several well regarded young arms -- first-rounder Brian Matusz, trade acquisition Chris Tillman and draftee Jake Arrieta among them -- and MacPhail would like to see them progress at their own rate. That's a luxury Baltimore hasn't been able to afford in recent years, evidenced by the cases of Olson, Cabrera and Adam Loewen.
Baltimore is also reportedly interested in Japanese free agent Kenshin Kawakami, who would give the Orioles another veteran presence behind Guthrie. Kawakami is expected to be pursued by several teams.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.