As spring opens, Orioles still working on Gallardo, Fowler

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A week ago, it appeared a deal between the Orioles and starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo was all but complete and a contract with outfielder Dexter Fowler was coming together rapidly.

But the two free agents remain unsigned as the club is set to open spring training in Sarasota on Thursday, leaving fans to wonder what’s taking so long and whether the signings will still happen. According to multiple outlets, the Orioles remain confident that they’ll sign both Gallardo and Fowler, but money remains an issue for both players.

Fowler and the Orioles are discussing a contract in the range of $12 million to $13 million annually for two or three years, according to ESPN.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time this offseason in which the Orioles have taken longer than expected to complete a signing as initial reports of a new contract with Darren O’Day were shot down by the reliever himself in early December — the contract was finalized a week later — and high-profile negotiations with first baseman Chris Davis stretched for several weeks before the slugger signed a seven-year, $161 million last month.

The good news for fans rooting for these signings to happen is that no other club has been linked publicly to Gallardo for quite some time while there have only been vague mentions of the Chicago White Sox remaining interested in Fowler recently. However, both players and their agents know the Orioles need help in the starting rotation and in the outfield as they try to cash in despite a depressed market for their services this winter.

Baltimore would be required to surrender the current 14th and 29th overall picks in the 2016 draft in order to sign Gallardo and Fowler, who rejected qualifying offers from their former clubs at the start of the offseason.