While the rest of the baseball world was watching Derek Jeter try to look pretty and Cliff Lee supposedly being offered a seven year deal, Orioles fans all over were waiting anxiously to see what the next big move from President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail, would be. In a fan’s ideal world, the Orioles would have signed Cliff Lee today and traded Chris Tillman for Prince Fielder. Sorry to break it to everybody, but the Orioles made no official moves today. Zero. Nothing. Nada.
MacPhail and Showalter still had a busy day, offering more contracts to free agents and working on trades. Here are the main headlines that day two brought us from Orlando:
- MacPhail was on the verge of trading outfielder/first baseman Nolan Reimold to the Tampa Bay Rays for shortstop Jason Bartlett. While Bartlett had a down year last year offensively, and is in no way a defensive upgrade over Cesar Izturis, this trade would have helped the Orioles offensively at the SS position. Poor numbers from Bartlett are still a step above anything Izzy gave us last season, which was the overarching thought on this deal. To some fans’ minds, like mine, this trade seemed ridiculous. Reimold could be a future big hitter in baseball, while Bartlett is only signed on for one more year then could walk. Reimold had a down year, but could easily bounce back if 100% healthy and in shape. In the end, the trade fell through for the day. But look out, because this trade or one of the like could still easily happen. One rumor stated that the Rays only would do the trade if RHP Alfredo Simon was included as well, which I thought was absolutely ridiculous.
- Kenshin Kawakami, an interesting case starting pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, was a supposed target for the Orioles today. The main significance of the deal for the Braves was to be a salary dump, since he is owed $6.67 million in 2011. While Kawakami had a 3.86 ERA in 2009, injury and general slump brought him a 1-10, 5.15 ERA 2010. As of around 3 P.M., though, the deal is supposedly out of the question. This is another case to keep tabs on. The Orioles showed obvious interest, and if other moves don’t go their way, that interest could easily pick right back up.
- According to multiple sources, the Orioles were one of several teams that have contacted the Brewers about a trade for Prince Fielder. While there was a good chunk of positive speculation on the possibility of this type of deal, most people don’t see it happening. The Brewers would most likely ask for LHP top prospect Zach Britton as the cornerstone of a trade, and for only one guaranteed year of Fielder’s service, it does not seem worth it one bit. Fielder’s agent is Scott Boras, which legitimately hurts the chances we would have on agreeing to a contract extension with Prince considering Boras is one who likes his major clients to test free agency for big money.
- MacPhail has a two year deal offered to relief pitcher Kevin Gregg. Gregg was the closer for Toronto’s power staff last season, converting 37 saves successfully in 43 chances, posting a 3.51 ERA with 8.8 SO/9 and 4.6 BB/9. Multiple other teams are interested in Gregg, but MacPhail in his nightly talk with the media did say that the club is close to contracts with veteran relief help, which makes it sound like a big possibility that we will land the 32 year old RHP.
- Talks with Koji Uehara heated up today, and the Orioles say they are close to signing him to a deal as soon as tomorrow. With other suitors in the mix for the Japanese closer, some think that the Orioles may have finally offered Koji a multi-year deal, most likely with low guaranteed money and loaded with incentives. Heck, Fangraphs even claims that the deal is done, though when posed with the question of if this report was true, beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli shot down that claim. If Koji came back and the O’s signed Gregg, it would be interesting to see how the late innings roles were given out, considering past closer Michael Gonzalez is signed on for big money in 2011.
Some side notes as well:
- The Orioles lone 2010 all star, Ty Wigginton, signed a two year deal with the Colorado Rockies for $8 million. So much for him filling in at 1B or a utility role for the O’s in 2011. Though it is interesting to point out that he may fill the 3B hole in the Rockies system left by Melvin Mora (Orioles 3B from 2000-2009). Mora left the Rockies and was signed to a one year deal with the Diamondbacks, filling in for the newly acquired Mark Reynolds.
- The Paul Konerko negotiations between him and the White Sox are rumored to be breaking down. With the Orioles having a big offer on the table for Paulie K, this could be a huge opportunity for the club to snag the strong first baseman.
- Somewhere along the lines, the Orioles name came up in talks for Hideki Matsui. I just don’t see that happening, plus he is known to want to play for a contender.
- The Rays and Mariners are interested in free agent LHP Mark Hendrickson. Good. Take him.
- More speculation that Adam LaRoche is highly valued by the Orioles front office makes it seem like a good fit for him to join the system at first base.
- Carlos Pena’s name is still coming up, but until his price goes down a bit, it doesn’t look like the Orioles are keen on bidding for him at the moment.
And a final note from the one and only Oriole on Twitter (Adam Jones):