Kansas City, Mo. // The Orioles could have a tough decision on their hands in the coming weeks regarding the future of Jeff Conine , who signed a one-year, $1.7 million deal in December with an option for a second season.
The option vests if Conine reaches 450 plate appearances and the 40-year-old is on pace to eclipse that mark with 320 plate appearances with 61 games remaining. Conine would earn $2 million next season if the option vests, a high price for a player who will turn 41 next June and is obviously not in the club's long-term plans.
Still, Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said that the option has no bearing on his decisions and he'll continue to play Conine, who has been one of his team's hottest hitters over the past month, raising his average 34 points since June 22.
"I've been told not to let any of that stuff enter in my decision, so it won't," Perlozzo said. "I am out here to put the best team out on the field to win. I don't think that [other stuff] matters."
There's still a decent chance that the Orioles could trade Conine before Monday's non-waiver deadline, making his contract a non-issue. The St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Seattle Mariners are among the teams that are interested in Conine, who would likely bring a mid-level prospect in return.