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December 8, 2010

No offers for Pena or Konerko; trade talks ongoing for shortstop

Just a few quick tidbits after our meeting with Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail:

MacPhail said that the club did not make an offer to free agent first basemen Carlos Pena and Paul Konerko despite reports that suggested otherwise. Konerko re-signed today with the Chicago White Sox, while Pena inked a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs.

The Orioles spend a big part of the day trying to find their 2011 shortstop. MacPhail acknowledged that he talked to the Minnesota Twins about J.J. Hardy, the Tampa Bay Rays about Jason Bartlett and the St. Louis Cardinals about Brendan Ryan. They also met with the agents of Cesar Izturis. MacPhail said that it is likely their 2011 shortstop comes from that group.

As for the first base vacancy, MacPhail said there are a lot of options remaining, which is slightly surprising because Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche are the only two names that jump out at me. Perhaps, you can throw Lyle Overbay into that mix.

He also said that the club has expressed interest in several DH types, which could lead to Luke Scott moving to first base. A couple of those targets are believed to be Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui and Jim Thome. They did not, however, have a representative at Magglio Ordonez's workout, so you can probably cross him off your wish list.

The Orioles have the fourth overall pick in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, and MacPhail said that the club has discussed several names at that spot. However, a couple of teams have also contacted the Orioles about trade options with that pick. At least one person I discussed floated the theory that the Orioles could draft a player for the Twins and include him, along with minor league reliever Brett Jacobson, for Hardy.

MacPhail said there were no changes in the negotiations for free agent relief targets, including Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg.

As for Luke Scott's comments, MacPhail basically said that the club's statement earlier today speaks for itself. He also said that he doesn't foresee Scott getting fined, which is what happened to Aubrey Huff a couple of years back when he made his infamous comments about the city's nightlife.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:12 PM | | Comments (15)


I guess the fact that they didn't offer him a contract made it a lot easier for Peña to not choose the Orioles.

Ok, color me confused...somebody explain these quotes from Mr Pena vs the AM statement

Pena had a multi-year offer from the Orioles, but preferred going to the Cubs.

“I think it was very close actually,” said Pena who batted .196 with 28 homers and 84 RBIs with the Tampa Bay Rays last season “(The Orioles) showed extreme interest, but at the end of the day I thought this was the best fit for me. ...

He said the Orioles were “were very aggressive. I am very flattered… I was very flattered with the interest that was shown.”

Make the Hardy trade and would then please sign LaRoche to a multiyear contract and leave Luke as our DH. The should have signed LaRoche last year. The Os need to add some punch to their lineup. These guys are good players and would add upgrades in offense and defense. Spare us the Overbay signing. He would be a our new Atkins. We need some proven players who are not past their prime. Go get them both!!


Any thought to the idea of the Twins waiting for the Orioles to grab someone they have their eye on in the Rule 5 Draft before trading JJ Hardy? THANKS!


Nevermind! I just read Dan's article, "Bartlett dealt to San Diego; off O's wish list" where he says:

"It’s also possible that the Orioles could select someone with the fourth pick of Thursday’s Rule 5 draft and include that player in a trade, whether to the Twins or another team. "

Luke Scott's comments regarding President Obama is unfortunate. His ill advised comments will cost him millions of dollars in future earnings and limit the teams that will want to sign him.
How stupid can one get?

Maybe Luke Scott? No! I'm a fan of string-band music, and I've seen so many bands which apparently got started, realized they didn't have a bass player, and figured they could just put some leftover musician in there. Maybe the guy who was going to play second fiddle, or maybe the guitar player's girl friend. It's just the bass, just four notes over and over, who cares. No! First base isn't the most demanding job on the team, but it is a real job, and you need a first baseman to do it.

would you characterize the O's winter meetings as bad so far?
I mean they have only addressed a trade for a low BA for 2 pitchers that had reach already the majors, and it seems that every one they target before the winter meetings are off to a different teams.
As a O's fan would you be discouraged with the results?
Thanks for the great job you are doing to keep up with info every minute.

Jeff Z's reply: Not at all. It doesn't matter if a deal gets done in Orlando or back in Baltimore on Friday. They have got Reynolds, they are pretty advanced with Koji, they are closing in on Hardy trade. As I said, it doesn't really matter if they get things done tomorrow or next Tuesday. And really, what target did they miss on this week? Despite what was reported elsewhere, Pena and Konerko were never really in play, nor was Werth or Adrian Gonzalez.

Z Man---
1. how long is Hardy under contract?

2. why was Luke not groomed for 1B sooner? Seems like he's a 1B type.

Jeff Z's reply: Hardy is a free agent after the 2011 season. Not sure about Scott. He's never looked too comfortable at first, but he hasn't played there much so that's understandable.

i feel what i have been reading the last few days as all balonie. i just don't believe what andy macphai has to say these days. he has told us a lot of stuff and nothing has happend. he still wants nothig but over the hill players


Cheese, Leonard your are usually fairly positve in your comments or at least you take a neutral position. You're right though Andy Mac has done a fair amount of talking this year and not all that much action unless you consider conversation action?

Look I will take a reasonable positive stance here. If the O's get JJ Hardy.
The O's will have 4 to 6 guys that have the potential to hit 20 or more home runs. If everyone stays healthy.

1.) Adam Jones
2.) Nick M.... I know he hit a lot of double last yr, we got "Jimmy" as a hitting coach so that can change.
3.) Mark Reynolds
4.) JJ Hardy
5.) Luke Scott
6.) Quite possible Matt Wieters.. here's to hoping he finds himself in 2011

So if they do that, they might be able to match the offensive output of the 1997 team. That's a tall order to be sure. Lets try to be hopeful though!

Jeff: why does there seem to be a reluctance to go after Adam La Roche. He is a consistent 25HR, 80RBI 1B with a good glove and would seem to be very affordable and is young than most of the 1B available?

Jeff Z's reply: THey're very much in on LaRoche, Dave.

jeff, maybe someone can ask AM or Pena about the apparent discrepancies in their statements. I mean either AM forgot that he offered him a contract, or Pena thought the guy offering him a contract was AM.

Jeff Z's reply: I think there was a disconnect between Pena and his agent, Scott Boras. Say what you want about Andy MacPhail but he wouldn't have lied on the record about making an offer. Pena probably got the wrong information from Boras or the disconnect could have been the case of semantics. The Orioles may have told Boras how they valued Pena, but not extended an actual offer.

I think everyone should cut Luke Scott some slack over his Obama comments. After all, he's always had trouble with lefties.

Nationals will sign LaRoche.

You heard it here first.

OK, so you probably didn't hear it here first. But they're jonesing for a 1B who can hit and thankfully the Cubs were happy to blow $10M on Pena.

They're getting $51K per point in his '10 batting average so best of luck with that. Or $42K per point in his career BA if you want to be more conservative.

Jeff Z's reply: Actually, that's been speculated all week with one report even saying it was close at one point. So I didn't hear it here first.

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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