The Orioles went into this weeks Winter Meeting in Orlando with obvious wants:

  • A middle of the lineup power bat at either/both corner infield spots (1B/3B)
  • An offensive upgrade at shortstop over Cesar Izturis (2010 line: .230/.277/.269)
  • Bullpen arms (fill-ins needed for Albers and maybe Hendrickson, Uehara)
  • A veteran starting pitcher who can be an innings-eater (like Kevin Millwood was supposed to be, just with a lower ERA)
  • A utility infielder or left fielder if need be

Coming to the end of day one, Andy MacPhail has definitely began with a fast start when it comes to filling in those holes listed above.  While many fans were hoping this last month during the offseason would have already brought us some solutions, the front office was busy configuring a coaching staff and preparing for these meetings that no transactions got done in advance.  Right out of the gate, the Orioles made a move that affects multiple of those points:

In a move that sends RHP David Hernandez and RHP Kam Mickolio to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Orioles traded for power-hitting third baseman Mark Reynolds.

Reynolds is a 27 year old middle of the lineup bat that the Orioles have been looking for at third base, hitting an average of 35 homeruns and compiling an average of 95 RBI over each of the last three seasons.  With a breakout year in 2009 that saw Reynolds stack up 44 HR, 102 RBI, and 98 runs scored, the main worry for Orioles fans now are the numbers that he put up last season.  While he still did have 32 HR and 85 RBI, his career low .198 average and third consecutive season with 200+ strikeouts is a huge problem if we are looking for an established bat to lead by example in a lineup full of many young talents.

Hernandez was a solid part of the Orioles bullpen last season after being demoted from the starting rotation (5.31 ERA in 8 starts, 30:29 K:BB ratio).  While his fastball velocity picked up after his transition, he still had small command issues coming up in many outings, and looked very timid in his two closing opportunities (one blown save).  While he would like a chance to start somewhere, the Diamondbacks see him fit for a 7th inning type relief role.  Mickolio, between command and then health issues, never got back to the Orioles major league roster after a positive 2009 and quite worrisome beginning to 2010.

In terms of how this affects the Orioles overall goals:

  • A middle of the lineup bat was brought in at 3B, and he is signed on through 2012 with a club option for 2013
  • Another bullpen spot is now vacant with the exit of David Hernandez

After this trade was said and done (pending phsyicals), there were no more official moves made by the club.

Some rumors that could set the team up for transactions for the rest of this week are:

  • Possible trades with the Rays or Twins for Jason Bartlett or J.J. Hardy respectively, though David Hernandez was thought to be a piece that the Rays may have wanted for Bartlett
  • Connections have been drawn to a possible contract with Kevin Gregg (relief pitcher)
  • While five other teams are supposedly interested in reliever Koji Uehara, the Orioles are the favorites to re-sign him to a one year deal, though a multiple year offer from any club would most likely draw him in
  • Possible other names you may here brought up as targets for the Orioles: Carlos Pena (1B), Derrick Lee (1B), Josh Willingham (1B/OF), Paul Konerko (1B), Bobby Jenks (RP), Jesse Crain (RP), George Sherrill (RP), Grant Balfour (RP), Scott Downs (RP), Brian Fuentes (RP), Matt Guerrier (RP), Kerry Wood (RP), and more