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December 18, 2010

Orioles notes: LaRoche, Blanton, Thames

I’m as sick of providing incremental updates on the Orioles’ search for a first baseman as you are of reading them. However, I’m still getting daily questions about it, so I feel compelled to address them. Here is what I feel comfortable in saying: The Orioles have been negotiating daily with Mike Milchin, the agent for Adam LaRoche. They clearly are focused on getting a deal done with him, so much so that Derrek Lee appears to be on the back burner. LaRoche also maintains interest in playing for the Orioles, though they aren’t his only option. Despite the daily negotiations and the mutual interest, a deal wasn’t imminent as of last night, according to people on both sides. I wish I had more information for you as to why. LaRoche reportedly wants a three-year deal, so perhaps that’s the big holdup. I cannot say for sure, as neither side is returning calls.

At this point, the Orioles are not in on veteran pitcher Joe Blanton, who is expected to be traded by the Philadelphia Phillies after their signing of ace lefty Cliff Lee. The Orioles are still looking for a veteran pitcher, but they’re not all that high on Blanton and don’t necessarily think he is a great fit in the American League East. He’s also still due $17 million, and while the Phillies would undoubtedly absorb a chunk of that money, the Orioles would also have to give up something to get him. It’s possible that after acquiring a first baseman and one or two relievers, the Orioles could decide that a veteran starting pitcher is the final piece of the puzzle for a solid offseason, and they could make a play for Blanton. However, that appears unlikely at this point.

While the Orioles’ focus is elsewhere, they are acutely aware that they could use another bat off the bench. There are still moves to be made, but as of now, their three- or four-man bench would include some combination of Craig Tatum, Jake Fox, Cesar Izturis, Felix Pie, Nolan Reimold, Robert Andino and Brendan Harris. One player to keep an eye on is free-agent outfielder Marcus Thames. The Orioles have spoken to Thames’ agent, but it’s nothing serious at this point because the club is trying to figure out what it's going to do at first base and designated hitter. I also read earlier this offseason that Thames might be headed to Japan, so perhaps this is a moot point. I do think Thames would be a nice fit. Orioles manager Buck Showalter likes Thames, who came up with the New York Yankees and also played one year in Texas, both as a player and a person. Thames handles left-handed pitching, long a problem area for the club. His power -- he had 12 homers in 212 at-bats last year -- and his ability to play both the outfield and first base would really give Showalter some flexibility and some pop off the bench.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 12:15 PM | | Comments (63)
        

Comments

Oriole Insider Hidden Camera Exclusive -- Andy MacPhail's negotiating style on display

Here we see Andy goes on a fast break with Mike Milchin, Adam LaRoche's agent, and to push the talks to a close!...or are yet another round of negotiations in the offing? Watch to the end of this drama-filled clip to find out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPWBcDSYeqo&NR=1

Let's get this LaRoche deal done already. Gvie the guy a 3 year contract, assuming he will come here. He is only 31. He has been amazingly consistent. He will hit 25 homers, knock in between 85 -100 runs, hit about 40 doubles and play very good in the field. With him, Hardy, Reynolds, a healthy Roberts and the nature progression (hopefully) of the young guys like Wieters and Jones, this lineup can be very solid. Signing LaRoche would be the next piece in a nice Christmas present for O's fans.

My guess is that the O's and the agents for LaRoche and Greeg are playing chicken with the O's;to see who flinches first. LaRoche wants the third year and Gregg wants a Jenks sized contract, not $8-10M per. I willl assume that we get both eventually, though I am not a huge Gregg fan. But relievers are getting snapped up quickly now so viable options are dwindling.

Do you know if the O's have looked into Doumit or Napoli for backup catcher/bench bats? Either is an upgrade offensively to Tatum or Fox and can be gotten fairly cheaply if reports are accurate.

So Jeff, anything new on LaRoche or Blanton? I kid, I kid. Thanks for the non-update, update. I'm sure with Christmas next weekend it will be resolved early this week. Then we can start to badger you on the next name linked to the O's. Have a great weekend

i thought i read that adam laroch only wanted a two year deal, but if he wants a three year deal give it to him. the orioles are supposed to have money to sign the players they covet. lets get the deal done. i would not have any problem with trading nolan reimold or a pitcher to the philies for joe blanton. to me he is better than any pitche the orioles have at the present time. it is about time the orioles stop overrating what they have in the minors.

The Orioles are a packaged NUT CASE. The FO is a joke. Good grief.....if LaRoche wants a 3 year deal and if that is, in fact, the holdup......then just give it to him for crying out loud before someone sneaks in and gets him. He's only 31 years old so a 3 year deal isn't an issue. Hey Andy McFail......get off the pot and just do it. You haven't spent any of that alleged ton of money yet.....so JUST DO IT!! This organization is just about as maddening as a root canal.

Jeff,
Thanks for the update. Thames would be a nice, under the radar with nice upside deal for the O's. Though probably looked at as bottom feeding by those uninformed. However, the O's just said yesterday that Scott would probably DH against even most lefties. Thames can also play LF and 1B, so if we bomb on either LaRoche or Lee, this could be a nice 300 AB player capable of 15-18 HR's or more and Scott still gets his wish. I wouldn't be against that move, as Fox is also capable of being in that mix against lefties. Let's continue to ask Santa Andy though for either LaRoche or Lee and 2 more nice relievers. Hopefully, by New Years we can all sit back and see how much better this team has become!!!

laroche solves the immediate problem, as it appears there is no one in the system ready to take on the job this year. at the end of the day, signing him to a reasonable 3 yr contract doesn't preclude the Os from moving him at the right time to the right place if the farm actually gets to the point of developing actual major league position players.
Now, somebody find the scout who projected Snyder and Rowell, convinced someone to draft them with the Os first pick, and fire him. You can't go back, but you can fix things going forward. Let's face it, unless those 2 have a hitters epiphany between now and april, those are 2 pretty bad misses.

Great update! I'm one of the many people frantically checking to see when the O's finally ink Gregg/LaRoche, so thanks for little tidbits like this. Your patience with an impatient fan base is appreciated.

One clarification, however. You said, "There are still moves to be made, but as of now, their three or four-man bench would include some combination of Craig Tatum, Jake Fox, Cesar Izturis, Felix Pie, Nolan Reimold, Robert Andino and Brendan Harris." Pie and/or Reimold will play LF, meaning that four of five, not three or four, of those guys on the list will be on the team. Correct?

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Jeff Z's reply: Yes, I meant three or four of those guys will be on the bench. And as it stands now, if Pie is the starting left fielder Reimold likely will be on the bench and vice versa.

@ Jim66

In defense of Brandon Snyder, he was originally drafted as a Catcher by the O's and I believe he hurt his knee and no longer could catch. My guess is the O's didn't want to lose out completely on the money that they signed him. Is he a 1st baseman, maybe/maybe not. He looks like one, but has he proven to actually be one, no he has not. The person or persons that I would fire if they already haven't been would be everyone involved with the 2004 draft! Since, I want to show everyone that the squirrel is a big "Softie" ! I am not going to go on one of my big speeches and pound on the podium like I usually do. However, I would like to point out that the Orioles could have drafted Billy Butler instead they drafted Wade Townsend, a pitcher who didn't even sign with the O's. So if there's anyone left from that debacle I would quietly, but in a firm way tell them their services are no longer needed!

Oh one other thing, maybe I am looking at this the wrong way, but if LaRoche and Gregg are making demands that are unreasonable. I know, I am not a GM, but if I were I would walk away. Those two aren't the kind of players that can make demands and get what they want.

What's the rush? Last I checked, spring training starts in late February. It must happen because Ken "Broken Record" Francis wants it to? Don't get your panties in a wad troll boy.

I think Scott deserves to play every day. By now he should have shed the label of "streaky hitter"; he simply wasn't that last year. He got extremely hot at times, but his cold spells were not extreme, other than the slow start.

I like Pie a lot, but until he gets more plate discipline (which he had Aug. '09) , a platoon makes sense. And Reimold is more intriguing to me than Thames. I think Thames actually hit better against righties last year?

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Jeff Z's reply: He hit more homers against righties last year, but he batted .300 against lefties. For his career, his numbers mostly across the board are better against lefties. He does have more homers against righties than lefties in his career but that's in a lot more at-bats.


Jeff,
Jen Royle is commenting that the O's are somewhat interested in Freddy Garcia. After comparing numbers to Blanton, who would obviously be more expensive, it looks like Garcia finally had a healthy year and pitched fairly well for Ozzie in the AL with 18 out of 28 quality starts. Just in case, any idea on what he'd cost us? I could think of worse, though all in all rather see Tillman/Britton get those #5 starts, if we couldn't work out a deal for someone like Carmona.

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Jeff Z's reply: Not sure, can't imagine much more than an incentive-laden 1year deal but I don't know that for a fact.

Jeff, I appreciate the info you provide. I get frustrated reading the ignorant comments as well. There are some ungrateful people out there. I know you cannot wait for the regular season. Everyday its getting closer. Stay Strong!!

I would be interested in Thames especially if Pie got packaged in a trade or something.

I am getting sick of this Gregg situation. If he doesnt want to come here and is going to keep playing games they should move on. He isn't Dennis Eckersley or anything close.

I don't think they should sign LaRoche for 3 years just because he is the only thing out there. Once they lost out on Martinez I was hoping they would have traded for a first basemen. Personally I don't want them stuck with this guy for three years. I don't think he wants to come here and he is holding out for another team that may or may not exist. I was hoping for some right handed power this offseason at first.

I would almost rather Lee for a year instead of being stuck with this guy for all that time.

Jeff, don't forget...breathe. Thank you for the updates.

Figure $25M for all three of the years LaRoche wants, along with a fourth year club option or buyout, That's about what Jason Werth - of pretty much similar talent and age - makes in five minutes.

So when put into perspective, it's a good deal for everyone. Let's get it done - and that goes for ALR as well as AM. BTW, does anyone remember when quasi-GM Mike Flanagan tried to trade Brian Roberts and another player whose name I have I have sadly forgottent to Atlanta for Marcus Giles and LaRoche?

Mr. Angelos vetoed the deal due to his love for B-Rob. Say what you will about Mr. A - and I have said plenty - he apparently knows a crap trade when he sees one.

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Jeff Z's reply: Hayden Penn was the other guy in that deal. And yes you are right, that would not have worked out too well.

squirrel, i wish at this point that snyder had at least shown something with the bat, regardless of position. I mean, he can be like half the players in the league and hit his way to the majors. I mean they can find the guy a position. Who is projecting defensive excellence at the catching position. And even if he could catch, he couldn't hit.
Didn't mean to drag up the Os pathetic draft history, but if you are going to be a successful mid-market team, you need to develop your own Laroches of the world. Or at the very least some serviceable major leaguers. If they did, we wouldn't be having these conversations, and be talking about bringing real difference makers to a good team.
Hopefully Buck, with his development experience and eye for talent, can help out here.

hey Jeff, any word about maybe pursing Lastings Millidge for the 4th OF spot? He's awesome - AWESOME - vs lefthanded pitching and plays all 3 OF spots excellently...and has very good speed. Maybe our new 3rd base coach would have more insight regarding Millidge, but I'm thinking he'll not be very expensive and would be a good addition to the team.

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Jeff Z's reply: Haven't heard his name mentioned, but that doesn't mean it hasn't come up.

I'd rather see the O's play some flotsam off the waiver wire than give LaRoche a 3-year contract. He's a mediocre player. He's perfectly fine to fill the position for 2011, but if they want to compete they will need to do better.

Derrek Lee for 1 year is a much better idea. And why exactly can't Luke Scott play first? Is it because he believes first base wasn't born in the United States?

Jeff,

Has there been any talk of bringing Corey Patterson back? I know he's not much for OBP, but what he's done for the O's when he's played has been pretty good, IMO.

Sincerely,

(Not a relative of Corey Patterson)


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Jeff Z's reply: Sure, that's still a consideration.

Jeff -

Can you confirm or deny the three year, $15 million offer to LaRoche that MASN is reporting?


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Jeff Z's reply: I cannot. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy of the report, but all the people I have spoken to both from the Orioles and from LaRoche's camp have refused to offer specifics, or even confirm or deny anything about the O's offer.

Section 34...you can't be serious! Apparently, you didn't come to the games when Scott player first. Had you, you would have seen that he lived up to his reputation, all hit and little glove. when you put the bigger glove on him, it's apparent that he has very little "baseball instincts" to handle it. If you've never played the position, you'll probably not understand. Buck has already made it clear that we need a solid defense to back up the pitchers and a quality glove and stick is LaRoche. Maybe you didn't notice that he's averaged a "mediocre" 25 bombs and about 90 RBI for 3 straight years. Better yet, he's close friends with Reynolds and there is something to be said for that. Lastly, my feeling is he may be looking at TB right now as well. They need a power hitting 1B as well. We need to give him his 3 years...he's only 31 and has earned it.

It's hard to get excited when the Orioles are rummaging thru the scrap heap yet again. LaRoche? Thames? Blanton? Were these the names O's fans were expecting to be discussing this winter? MacPhail and Angelos need to get out of the owners box once in awhile and see what the ordinary fans have to endure from the Red Sox and Yankees fans flooding the stadium.

Jeff, has there been any talk about asking why guys like Lastings Milledge, the Last Next Great Met, can'f find a home in MLB?
Especially when they are so AWESOME that
the best they might be able to do is audition for the 4th Outfield chair in the Baltimore Orioles orchestra?

I say NO to 3 years for LaRoche. I'd like him to come here too, but he's a stopgap player, and we don't want to get saddled with a bad contract. 2 years with a vesting option, maybe, but 3 years is a bad idea, unless it's for considerably less money.

I'm a bit confused about something: aside from Gonzalez, do the Orioles have a lefty in the pen? Is that going to be Troy Patton? Mark Hendrickson? I would rather they address that problem (Ohman, Beimel) than worry about Kevin Gregg, unless I'm wrong.

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Jeff Z's reply: No, you are right. They are looking to add another lefty as well, though I think it would be on a real small deal, perhaps even minor league deal with big league invite.

Thames and Harris are not better than the young players we already have in Reimold and Andino.Not sure how Andino got in everyone's dog house....he's got talent and versatility.Sign Laroch for 3 yr ..24 million....Mc Fail is absolutely paralyzing...probably takes him 3 days to order dinner.Arieta,Berguson,Pie and possibly Xavier Avery gets Greinke.Here is my lineup:
Roberts - 2b
Hardy - ss
Markakis - RF
Reynolds - 3b
Laroch - 1b
Jones - cf
Scott - dh
Wieters - c
Reimold - LF

Rotation
Greinke
Matus
Guthrie
Britton
Tillman

foget LaROCHE , lets trade for "THE PRINCE and get a real 1st baseman !!

LaRoche definitely solidifies the line-up as legitimate, even if still a step or two behind TB, Boston and NY. But enough of an upgrade to potentially overtake one of those teams, if the starting pitching performs like it did under Buck in the 2nd half and we get some breaks along the way.

I agree that Blanton is probably not a viable option for us. He's fine in the NL, but we all know what happens to mediocre pitchers in this division.

Still some starting pitching and probably one more significant offensive "producer" away from realistically competing for a wild card, but this should be the best team we've seen on the field in some time. Starting pitching will ultimately determine how much this teams improves in the standings.

terpfan --- "Troll boy"? "Broken Record"? What's that all about, besides solid evidence that you lack even the remotest sense of humor. I could trade insults with you, but I'm not going to stoop to your level.

Andy, you did excellent job of signing mark reynolds and jj hardy..but Laroche worth 3 years, $16-18 million is a terrible money. He would not accept that. You should add more money than that like $35 million

Jeff--I think the Yankees will bring back Thames. I still would like to see the Birds sign Cantu.

I have to agree with the comment about Andino. I really like the pop in his bat and his numbers on the farm were pretty good. They are probably thinking he needs more time but unfortunately with his contract we don't have that option. I truly hope they don't let him go. As for Laroche, if you listened to sports talk radio Reynolds gave a very interesting interview with Scott Garceau. When asked about him, he seemed to slowly answer but did not give a rave review that he hoped he was coming but that he would be a good player on any club. I still think we are truly missing the boat by not signing D. Lee. This is a big time guy that was injured last year and yes had a bad year for his stats but still has the bat speed and gold gloves under his belt. He is good for another 2 to 3 yrs and could be an absolute steal.

Please give up the talks about us trading for Greinke and this crazy talk about giving up 2 starting pitchers and 3 other players for him, not happening.

Lastly, Scott is defensively challeneged but I still believe if we gave Vlad the 2 yr deal and flipped them in left with Pie or such as the extra we would have an incredible lineup. Think about our existing lineup and additions with Derek Lee and Vlad G. at the top of their game. That would be unreal. However, we can have offense but without pitching we are out of luck. If the young guys don't continue on their path, ie Berge and Matus we are severly in trouble. Tilman won't get it done, but Arrieta reminds me of a young Mussina. Berge healthy is extremely undervalued and will be a strong third or fourth pitcher on this staff for years to come. However, we don't just need another veteran innings eater, we need a guy who can give us quality starts night in and out. Tilman can't make that move, he is a AAA all star who doesn't get it done in the majors.

@Keir,

I agree w/ many of your points about the pitching staff. but, every time somebody declares Chris Tillman a bust (and you're not the only one) it tends to raise some red flags for me.

Chris tillman was drafted out of HS and rose threw the minors at an incredibly fast pace and has been extremely successful at every level he's hit.

He is only 22 years old. He's younger than every single one of the O's pitching prospects, and that includes Zach Britton. For you to judge what his future is as a major leaguer is ridiculous. He made his debut at 21 and the only reason that happened was because the O's pitching staff was terrible and Brian Matusz had only just arrived on the scene in Double A Bowie, having pitched only a few months at Frederick before that.

Tillman never should have been promoted as fast as he was and it was only due to dire necessity at the big league level. In reality, since he and Britton are about the same age (Britton is a few months older) they should have been on the same track in the minors, both looking to break into the majors this season at 23 y/o.

Moreover, in his career, he's pitched barely over 100 major league innings, spread over two seasons. Have they been great? no. has he shown real promise at times? absolutely. if you watch him closely enough, it is more than evident. his curveball was a thing of beauty even in his first year. but, was he a finished product over the last two seasons? no way. his four seam fastball is too straight, for one thing. So, what did he work on all of last year? learning how to throw a cutter to make up for his lack of movement on his four seamer. these are the kinds of things that are supposed to happen for a 22 y/o pitcher when he's in the minor leagues. chris didn't always have that benefit. so, instead he gets criticized for being a bust. for us to judge him as if he is a finished product at 21 and 22, before he's fully ready, makes absolutely no sense. And, for us to judge his full career potential on about 100 innings of work is preposterous. it's a tiny sample size. statistically meaningless over the long term.

if he hadn't been called up to the majors too early, all we'd be doing is talking about how good his numbers are at AAA (and they are excellent) and how great it was when he threw a no hitter last year.

My point is, there may be a time to judge Chris Tillman, and that time may be this season. But, it is way way premature for you to be making any kind of assumptions about what kind of pitcher he's going to be over his career.

As a long suffering Orioles fan, now living in Vermont, I also each day obsessively check to see whom the Orioles will add to their roster. I look at the long term, and am looking for solid, incremental steps each year. To that end, Laroche and Blanton would be a step forward. Add 2 or 3 solid players, each year, and give the young starters time to progress.

Hello one and all!!

After further review.... Its a good thing Lee signed with the Phillies and not the Yankees. It shows me he is a class act not like the most out for all the money. Look out Yankeees: Buying Championships are done. As you'll boy's are getting older and Pettite is leaning toward retiring. Though he had his better days two behind him.
Are will going sign anybody to replace Millwood? Go Phillies!!
As Peter isnt going to spend the money to win a championship and players will not go there cause of it! Thanks Peter
Go Phillies

Why are the O's so high on LaRoche? It would be a very hard pill for me to swallow for the O's to say they have improved by adding the two strikeout happy corner infielders from the last place team in the worst division in baseball. Go get Lee. You can sign him to one year. He hits for better average, more power, right handed, three time gold glove winner, and is primed for a bounce back year. Plus LaRoche you lock up for two or three years and I don't know if we want to be stuck with that infield for that long. I would like the O's to at least create the illusion that they are going to make a play for Fielder next year (though he will probably be traded before then).

Gee, it's terribly disturbing that the Orioles don't have their starting lineup in place. I mean it's already December. The Winter Solstice is just around the corner. Yet LaRoche and Gregg and all those others still haven't make up their minds about signing with the Orioles. Whatever happened to press gangs? Can't we bop them over the head(s) and waterboard them until they agree to terms? Time's a-wasting. In seven or eight weeks pitchers and catchers report.

Hey Keir,
I grew up with a Keir who always made these kinds of comments..."Tillman is a AAA AllStar?". Let's give a 22 yr old some credit. If he is a AAA All Star, that's actually a good sign and signs point to him having what it takes to grab the 5th spot in the rotation, sooner than later. He has the stuff, just needs time to figure it out. Lastly, Reynolds and LaRoche are good friends and when asked about LaRoche, Reynolds was slow to answer because he didn't want to say anything that would affect LaRoche's position with any team that he's dealing with. As a close, personal friend, one would gather that Reynolds may know a little more than most. We can always assume, but Reynolds did say he's tried to get LaRoche here. That's good enough for me. Apparently, The Nats and TB also want LaRoche. Just give him the 3 yrs and let's get this over with.

We can stop all the Greinke wishlist Bs now at least he's in the other league. did any of y'all REALLY think we had a shot at him? I think he will do fine in Milwaukee but I am of the opinion that the Royals got the better of that deal. I think it wll turn out similar to the Bedard trade for them.

I see that Greinke has gone to the Brew Crew for a bunch of minor leaguers. Ok, let me get this straight, Gonzalez went to Boston for Minor Leaguers, no actual major league proven players, AND now, a similar deal is struck for Greinke. WTF!
Obviously the Orioles aren't just playing w confederate money, their major league and minor league talent pledge allegiance to General Lee's flag too!
Circle the wagon train again folks, won't be long now before another slaughter begins.

I say the O's should try and acquire both Lee and LaRoche. Making a push for Lee, short term deal makes sense. You get a bat with some pop, and could spell LaRoche for a day off here and there. Something to maybe offset the young arms, and add sure run support. Luke Scott can hit, but did he ruffle feathers with his comments about Obama?

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Both guys want to start, so I dont see LaRoche and Lee here. And I don't see Scott being dealt, at least not because of his political views. If there is interest sure, but the club's not giving away Luke because he speaks his opinions.

I agree w enzo wholeheartedly. I read from time to time here this frustration w Tillman's progress. If the Orioles weren't so thin depth wise with their pitching they wouldn't feel the need to move their young guns to a level their not prepared for before they're ready. Remember one of his stints last year came against the Rangers who he no-hit for the better part of the game, vs. no less than CLIFF LEE. The recap from that game tells the story. The guy has huge potential and he proved he could do it vs a world series caliber team. Now give him the chance to mature a bit under the leadership of a proven manager and see what happens.

Again, how did the Oriole nation become satisfied for a goal of what -maybe 4th place instead of 5th???
Wow, what a change of culture in the Oriole management/ownership over the last 15 years!

Hey Sizemo, you are uninformed. The Royals got a steal here for Greinke and at least 2, if not 3 of them will possibly start right away. Not sure what your sources are, but the SS Escobar, the CF Cain and possibly the 100 MPH throwing Jeffress will play huge roles for KC right away if he has conquered his substance abuse issues that have cost him 100 games. The 4th guy could be the best of all eventually, as he had 130 K's in only 100 innings this year. Just look these things up before commenting...it's really pretty easy. Milwaukee is apparently going for it THIS YEAR before they lose Fielder, but they gave up a ton for Greinke and Betancourt.

Why do Bosox, Yankees, Angels, Phillies, and others just MAKE deals and THEN you hear about them? The O's have a long and drawn out negotiation, reported ad naseum in the press. Much like stretching out every deal, without seeming to be able to close one. Could anyone explain this phenomenon, or is it just my imagination?

Any chance we take a shot on a guy like Webb or Young? I believe a team in our position needs to take some chance, and these two were aces before their injuries. It also fits the need for a veteran pitcher that can lead our young guns.

Marcus Thames is a horse. I work at the stadium and have seen enough of him to know that he would be great as a DH. Not so great in the field but can really smack the ball. I say sign him.

There goes grienke....how do we not get that guy...toss tillman arrieta and anyone from the farm they want other than machado (yes i know he can't be traded yet anyway). If we managed to keep britton in that deal our staff would be great next year, add a flier on young or webb and sign up laroche or lee. We still wouldn't win anything but we would at least have that first step toward respectability. I just don't understand how we couldn't trump what milwaukee gave up or at least try to...that kind of difference maker doesn't appear everyday especially one we actually have a chance to obtain.

There will be no LaRoche signing as long as there is at least one other team interested in the 1B. McPhail does not battle for players. He waits for them to kneel down before him.

Bring on Spring Training! Sarasota should be fun

http://www.springtrainingtips.com

I thinking signing Laroche shows a sign that your giving up on Bell. Iam tired of all the stopgates. But iam also tired of are lousy farm system. Bell was suppose to be are thirdbasemen of the future. Dont block the guy for 3 years at 1st now. There is always next year. Sorry but its true i just dont see the Os winning the division this year. Give Laroche a 1 year deal with a option.

I am glad to see that Corey Patterson's name was mentioned. I know that he is not the best hitter in the world, certainly, but when he runs the bases it is so much fun to watch. He is an exciting player. I hope that there is room for him on the 2011 Orioles.

Mickey Mouth, the Royals got talent back, lots of it, wasn't arguing that, but no actual proven big leaguers were received, which is what was previously reported they and San Diego said they wanted in return. Go sit down now.

Why not get a real player and first baseman? Start talking with the Cardinals about Albert Puljos. If the Orioles are going to be the best and pay for the best, why not have the best? Offer the Cardinals their choice of any six players from the AA and AAA rosters. Albert makes Texeria look like a little leaguer- he a real player and a game breaker.

Perhaps the reason for no news on Adam LaRoche is not only because McFail is nocturnal and sleeps all day. Perhaps it's because the O's are being linked to Andy LaRoche which makes much more sense for two reasons........1. The player and the "GM" share the same first name and 2. The player hit below .210 last season making him far more attractive to a bunch of losers. If they can land him for $12/hour he can moonlight in Angelos's law office cleaning and polishing whatever it is Angelos spends his billions on. Since that doesn't include the team, it would have to be in his house, car, or office. Pathetic isn't it?

Jeff-- any possibility the Orioles have talked to the Pirates about Ryan Doumit? He's versatile with the ability to catch, play outfield, and cover first base in a pinch. In addition, his bat is well above average. I understand the Pirates expect him to start in RF next season but who really knows if that's not a way of driving his price up in a trade as they do their annual unloading of players above 25.

Andy McPhail was hired in June of 2007. He's had 3 years to change the direction of the Orioles.
Each year the media has to make fans believe that "this year is going to be different" If not, there will be no readers. No readers no job.
Is there anyone who believes in his/her own mind that McPhail has improved the organization? If so, how?

Not that the Os will get LaRoche, his agent has to be smarter than that., but.......even with LaRoche as an Oriole, the team would still come in last place. McPhail knows that. His thinking must be: "why waste the money when the team will remain in 5th place anyway". He couldn't care less that the fans want it and need to have something to hope for.

PREDICTION:
Adam LaRoche will sign a 3 year contract with the San Diego Padres in warm sunny California with Arizona as its spring training site.
Derek Lee will desire to sign with Tampa Bay in warm sunny Florida but if financial terms can not be agreed upon, Lee will sign with Washington DC

Jeff - I assume that you no longer read the comments to your posts considering the same folks are say the same things every...single...day. All of these armchair GMs with their ridiculous trades/free agaent signings - they think MLB is a fantasy draft.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: No trust me, I read them. I was off yesterday so Dan handled the approving of comments, but I'm certainly aware of what people are writing.

Figure $25M for all three of the years LaRoche wants, along with a fourth year club option or buyout, That's about what Jason Werth - of pretty much similar talent and age - makes in five minutes.

So when put into perspective, it's a good deal for everyone. Let's get it done - and that goes for ALR as well as AM. BTW, does anyone remember when quasi-GM Mike Flanagan tried to trade Brian Roberts and another player whose name I have I have sadly forgottent to Atlanta for Marcus Giles and LaRoche?

Mr. Angelos vetoed the deal due to his love for B-Rob. Say what you will about Mr. A - and I have said plenty - he apparently knows a crap trade when he sees one.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Hayden Penn was the other guy in that deal. And yes you are right, that would not have worked out too well.

-----------------------------------

Just like he declined so many other trades taht turned our to be great for us? let me think; larry bigby and Cabrerra for josh becket maybe? AJ Burnett deal? The Eric Chavez deal? how about the Ervin Santanna deal? they all turned out to be great right? Angelos is a moron who cannot wants everything in return for nothing but won't give up a thing to get something of value. That principle applies the way he runs the organization as well. If it wasn't for the ticket sales, he would put bunch of high schoolers in the Orioles uniforms.

The orioles always had some hot short young prospect; at the end they have all failed. The Orioles time and time again had chances to get rid of that young talent for proven talent but....Look at what happened to all the prospects now. They have not produced a single start caliber player. Sometimes you just got to go for it. you can always re stock but having a star player is not upto you. That is why you have to snatch them when they show up. People who run the Yankees and the Red Sox are not idiots. If they could put a championship team together with just prospects, they would. Tampa has no choice so they try but they simply got lucky with their prospects producing at the same time. That is one in a million.Probably will never happen again. The Os have to make moves that starts the cycle. Biggger starts, more tickets, more money, more player contracts, more wins and even more money.

For everyone out there implying that LaRoach is a "stopgap", get a look at his career stats before you look foolish.
First & foremost, the guy suits up & plays the game hard. Secondly, look what he does every year with the bat. He consistanly hits 25/35 homeruns, (in OPACY add an extra 7/10),drives in 80/100, hits a ton of doubles, will steal a base for you and gives you an EXCELLENT game at first base.
In reality, there are very few major league first basemen with his years in the Bigs that have continually put up his numbers.
He is an excellent sign for the dollar in todays market & his numbers at the end of the year will not be very far off from wonder boy Texeria...and at about 1/20 the cost.
Sign him McFail & quit quibbling over nonsense. Everyone knows the O's deal has to be exceedingly better than any other clubs for the same player so realize that & just get it done.

I'm don't know Jack, but i second his argument, LaRoche is best of the rest available by far. Only 12 NL Players had more RBI's for Pete's Sake! Directly to that point, Yo Pete, lift your stubby finger and let Andy put the pedal on an extra Mil or 5, and get this guy in Black & Orange. The gate return will easily justify, as for once, in what, at least a dozen years, the O's would take the field w 9 guys who have significant major league experience!
THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE NO BRAINER!

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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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