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December 3, 2010

Pre-winter meeting tidbits (Part 1): Konerko, Jenks, Koji and Reynolds

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for some, but the more I hear, the clearer it becomes that the Orioles’ interest in free agent slugging first baseman Paul Konerko is largely overblown. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has had conversations with Konerko’s agent, Craig Landis. They have talked about the parameters of a deal and Konerko’s interest in playing in Baltimore. But to say Konerko’s camp is weighing this huge offer from the Orioles -- as has been reported -- isn’t really accurate. The Orioles, like everyone else in the big leagues, are convinced that Konerko is re-signing with the Chicago White Sox. The next person I speak to in the organization who feels the O’s have a shot at Konerko would be the first.

Speaking of the White Sox, I’m told the Orioles contacted the agent for burly closer Bobby Jenks shortly after learning that Jenks had been non-tendered by Chicago. Perhaps they aren’t as confident that they’ll be able to re-sign Koji Uehara as they are acting. Or perhaps they want to sign both to strengthen the back end of a bullpen and give themselves more flexibility to trade David Hernandez or move Hernandez, Jason Berken or Jim Johnson into the rotation. Either way, the Orioles are interested in Jenks and should have more conversations with his agent at the coming winter meetings.

Speaking of Uehara, I’m told by veteran scribe Hideki Okuda, a great resource for American beat guys on all things Japanese baseball, that the reliever posted a message on his personal website saying he just moved to a new place in Baltimore. Perhaps this means nothing, or perhaps it’s the latest sign that Uehara is comfortable in Baltimore and wants to remain here in 2011. I’ve written all this before: Uehara’s young son goes to school in Baltimore and is making great progress in learning the language and the culture. That’s something Uehara would probably prefer not to disrupt. Uehara has been seen at at least two Ravens games wearing a Ray Lewis jersey and a wide smile. He also loves closing games, an opportunity he won’t necessarily get elsewhere. The Orioles have made progress on contract talks with him, and if I’m a betting man on something that gets done at the winter meetings, I’d put my money on re-signing Uehara. Then again, with the way things are going with the Orioles this offseason, another team will probably swoop in and offer him a two-year deal.

With Adrian Beltre mostly out of the picture, the Orioles have few other third base options besides Ty Wigginton or Mark Reynolds, who appears on his way out of Arizona. SI’s Jon Heyman reported that Chris Tillman’s name has been discussed. I’ve heard the names Josh Bell and David Hernandez mentioned, and that Arizona is really looking to bolster its bullpen with a couple of young arms. I don’t know this for sure, but my gut is that the Orioles would rather trade Tillman in a deal that would land them less risky of a slugger than Reynolds who will hit his homers but also strike out at a dizzying pace. Either way, the Orioles aren’t completely sold on Reynolds -- for good reason -- and still aren’t budging on the Diamondbacks’ asking price, but the sense is that the deal is out there if they want it. The same holds true for potential deals involving shortstops J.J. Hardy and Jason Bartlett. The teams are waiting for one another to blink and get desperate, and it hasn’t happened yet.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 11:54 PM | | Comments (107)
        

Comments

Holy jeez - just do it. Pull the trigger on these trades. Everyone already knows that its the Orioles who are the desperate ones. The cats been out of the bag for a few years now lol. And welcome Hardy and Reynolds to Baltimore for Christmas. Just get it done.

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Jeff Z's reply: Your post made me wonder if O's do move Hernandez in a Reynolds deal, whether they would be out on either Bartlett or Hardy. I know the Rays specifically wanted Hernandez. Just speculation on my part but if O's get Reynolds, it might make it more likely that they resign Cesar to play SS.

Reynolds would mash it here, I can live with the strike outs. Make it happen (without losing Tillman)

It's odd to me that the Orioles value Tillman over Hernandez, given the potential of Tillman.

Hey Jeff,

One more question: how many people are the Orioles bringing to the winter meetings? And who? (I guess that's two!)

--

Not sure of the exact number,but it's a good-sized contingent of the obvious people: MacPhail, Showalter and the secondary brass

Thanks for the information Jeff. Reynolds would be an upgrade over Wiggy. Sounds like Arizona prefers Hernandez over Tillman. I would make the trade. Hernandez is projected to be a future closer but it is much easier to find bullpen arms than power hitters.

As for first base, without getting Konerko, I would like to see LaRoche. He's not a big name but he's consistent with the bat and glove.

Do you have any idea who the Twins would want for Hardy? If he can stay healthy he has some pop in his bat.

Strikeouts aren't as bad as grounding into double plays. I'd be happy with Reynolds at 3B and Wiggy at 1B. And I'm very happy with Izturis at SS. He gets some clutch hits fairly regularly.

Also: the spam filter below is requiring me to type in the word "imbecile." I guess the software didn't get your request to use respectful language!

What fool GM would be crazy enough to trade some of his best pitching potential for a 3B with a .198 average? How ridiculous is that?

You know those losing streaks the Orioles have piled up over the last few years? The groundwork for those are laid in November - December - January.

We are at the point in time that the "Br" needs to be jettisoned when MacPhail is described as the "Top Brass" of the Orioles' management team.

Its the least we can do for the GM with the distinction of accumulating more loses in 3 consecutive years than any other Orioles GM in history - and that includes 1954, 1955 and 1956.

I like the idea of bringing in Bobby Jenks for many reason including tat it opens up the possibility to move Hernandez. Having Gonzo, JJ, Jenks and Koji would be a pretty tough BP to go through plus it would allow the O's to not overuse Koji. I think Berken should have been an all star last season and not Wiggy so I am not in a rush to trade him, but I would trade Hernandez in a NY minute for Bartlett. He may never duplicate his 09 season, but he brings a lot more to the dance than Izzy.

I would love to see the O's offer a 1 yr deal for Koji with a club option or if he makes so many appearances it automatically becomes guaranteed. He seemed pumped after every save and the guy wants to be here which is a rarity these days so I hope the O's get this done.

Chris Young went through the big HRs, small avg. phase and he came out of it so with all the turnover in AZ, I think Reynolds will be fine in a new situation with some stability. Reynolds has been through 3 managers in his brief career so I don't think that fact can be discounted.


Jeff, I like Konerko a lot, but I've had a hard time believing he wants to come here so let's say the O's get Reynolds to play 3B, who is at 1B? I am in the minority on this, but I would much rather have Cantu at 1B than Wiggy. I've seen Jorge play live a lot of the past several years and I am impressed with his knack for getting the clutch hits plus he has a very good relationship with our new hitting coach. He was also a team leader along with Uggla so while he's not Dunn with the HRs, he also doesn't have the question marks that Berkman, Lee and Pena have.

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Jeff Z's reply: Pena, LaRoche, Derrek Lee? You know I'm not a big fan of Cantu. We've discussed this. I'd rather have Wiggy. Perhaps, I'm overreacting to how bad Cantu was with Texas and the fact that he was barely used in the playoffs.

Looks to me like the O's theory of growing arms and buying bats is going down the toilet.What a surprise that they aren't that serious about Konerko and that making progress on Koji is from page news.

The reason players don't wan to come here is not only the last place AL East thing but the fact the O's don't seem to have a sense of direction. Kenny Williams and other GM's aren't afraid to take chances.The o's have gone backwards record wise ever since McPhail's been here. It would have been a lot wore last year if Buck hadn't taken the job.

McPhail more or less ordered Pie to play LF for 2 yearsand this guy is a major loser. He's been in organized ball for over 10 years now and foolish people continue to think he'll break out any time. Meanwhile they've ruined Reimold and Snyder.Why weren't these guys playing in Sept.?

A lot of oriole fans, especially the ones who post on boards are gullible to believe all of Andy's crap regardless of results.The whole coaching staff are outsiders now ,alienating fans even more.

The baseball gods determined that a manager gets to pick ihs own people whether it makes sense for the team or not..The o's don't promote coaches from the minors which is very discouraging to the staffs there.

Would you rather have "Milwaukee East or "Arizona East"?

Milw-McGhee-3b/2b-Weeks [move Roberts to 3rd. Sign DLee. Would probably take more from us for Milw.
OR
Ariz-Reynolds-3B/Drew-SS. Sign LaRoche.

Looks like my prediction of a blockbuster with Arizona could come to fruition--maybe.

I cannot remember the players I mentioned prior, however, I would not mind seeing "Arizona East" patrol the infield at Camden.

Offer Arizona:
Tillman, Hernandez and a lower level SS for Reynolds and Drew [Machado may have a world of potential--potential being just that]. Sign laRoche.

Replace Hernandez with a Fuentes, Wood type
.
Offer Scott for Gonzales-Oak

Offer AJones for SP

Sign FA OF, RP, 1 other "hitter"--do not care about position--a professional hitter.

"All I want for Christmas is my two fro..."

or 1 meaningful O's signing!

Reynolds is a PH RH bat. I don't get the obsession with batting average anymore. Its a useless stat that just lets you know how often he gets a hit. Don't you remember as a kid 'A walk is as good as a hit'? Its now a game about getting on base. Which for him was 32% of the time last year. And .334% of the time for his career.

Oh the .320 OB% would also have been 4th on the O's of the guys with at least 300 PAs. Only Markakis, Scott and (by 5 points) Jones. But to help you out Wigginton (.312), Tejada (.308) and Bell (.224) all spent time at the hot corner and got on base less then Reynolds did last year. Even hitting .198. 2 of them spent time batting clean up. Give me the guy with upside of 40 HRs anyday.

Re: "Just speculation on my part but if O's get Reynolds, it might make it more likely that they resign Cesar to play SS."

Righty corner power bat is higher on the priority list I suppose, so I'd make the Reynolds trade first. If Hardy was unobtainable at that point I'd talk to STL about getting Brendan Ryan over here. His glove is even better than Izzy's, and he's younger, with a less expensive contract..

I would be very disappointed in the team if they signed Jenks and/or Reynolds. I think this would make the team worse. Other than Konerko, and they don't seem to have strong interest, I really don't see how this team will improve unless they're some "mystery" team in a big name acquisition. Signing Jenks or Reynolds would be swapping out Atkins and Hendrickson from last year's team (and as much as I think we need to move on from Hendrickson, I would rather have him than Jenks.

Here's hoping we can at least sign Uehara to a contract. I will continue to watch the games on TV and can't wait for baseball to start, but I've already changed my mind about season tickets. I won't support the club in that way.

Upgrading the defense at third is BIG, Reynolds brings that, yea albight a ton of "K's" and a slew of HR's, he's a batter that can carry a team for a long time.

Forget Konerko, he's a White Sox, wants to remain a White Sox, and will.

I'm so tired of hearing the Orioles front office made this offer, and that offer when the targeted player always signs elsewhere. After the fact posturing means nothing other than fooling yourself in believing fans like that, we don't and could care less. Bring em in, "IF" you can, then talk all you want.

Are we all forgetting the important fact that the O's would not have to trade away young pitching for hitting if they would open the their checkbook? If not, we are just kidding ourselves. How can we compete with the Yankees and Red Sox if we are not serious....?

Come on Peter A, put both feet in the pool. O's fans will come back to the park in droves.

Whats the point anymore. The O's are a flawed organization in a fading game

Seems everyone wants our young arms and in return give up crap players who strike out three of four times at bat. Don't give up Hernandez or Tillman. We have the makings of a great pitching staff and giving them away for nobodys isn't going to make us a better team.

Agree with dspedden
Yeah, he can hit it out of the Yard - but is he really better than WIggy? Cant field or hit for avg.....ugh.....is this what a fairly optimistic start to the offseason has come down to?

Jeff -

Any idea on why the O's wiffed on Dunn? I know the downside to Dunn: K's and fielding. BUT, he seems like he was one of the younger FA corner players and has hit consistently for power, which the O's DESPERATELY need. Seems to me that a larger 5 year deal to him would have made sense...

I'm just not sure what Baltimore thinks it's waiting for at this point. They should keep their core of Weiters, Markakis, Jones, and Roberts... and add in 2 Bats. Pie will be fine in left - maybe a big surprise because he seemed like he really came on physically and mentally last year.

But this squad put together a nice run for the last 2 months... now is the time to make the next step. But for some reason I feel like they are going to advertise this year as yet ANOTHER growing year.

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Jeff Z's reply: I'm not saying I agree with this, but obviously their thinking was that's what he's worth and they didn't like the player enough to go beyond that, even though they knew another team would. That's probably as simply as I could say it.

I woke up this morning and to my dismay, I saw that the Red Sox and Padres have agreed on an Adrian Gonzales trade. Would have been nice, but I'm guessing the O's didn't want to empty what farm system they have.

Two questions for you Jeff:

1. Understanding that he is a Boras client, do you see the O's having the ability to pull off a Prince Fielder trade and negotiate an extension?

2. With AGon going to Boston, it looks like they will be out on Beltre. Does this help out the Orioles or do you think there is still too much competition for his services?

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Jeff Z's reply: I'd say the odds of the Orioles pulling off a trade and sign of Fielder are low, but who knows? I think the Brewers will realize that with Gonzalez off the market, they'll have the No.1 trade chip in all of baseball heading into the 2011 season and try to milk it for all its worth, perhaps making deal before deadline. But I'm not sure about their thinking. As for Beltre, I guess it doesn't hurt that the team that he wanted to go to is now out of picture. But I still think Orioles are a longshot because he has shown no interest in playing here and the O's don't think he's remotely worth the pricetag right now.

Great news... The Red Sox are going to land Adrian Gonzalez....fantastic... the new evil empire...

Adrian Gonzalez to the red sox?? The players are out there but we sit back and do nothing. Call the Brewers and see what they want for Fielder and lock him up with an extension. Get Reynolds to play 3rd and inquire about Greinke. Hernandez, Scott, Pie, Berken, Tillman, Bell, what are we afraid of? Trading another Curt Schilling?

so basically the orioles will get no one yet again this off season. theyll sign some washed up scrub at the end of free agency and well be awful for another season. funny how we couldnt trade for adrian gonzalez but shocker, boston could. the orioles organization is a joke. no one wants to play here. we have a 0% chance of landing any big name player. thank god for the nfl.

Jeff,

Why is Beltre out of the picture? It seems like only Oakland and Boston are in on him and Boston may be pulling out because they're talking trade with San Diego for Adrian Gonzalez.

In my opinion, and the stats back me up, Beltre is by far a better player than Reynolds thanks to his GG defense and the O's wouldn't have to give up any prospects for him.

At some point the Orioles need to overpay to get someone here. They've whiffed so far this year on bringing a "big bat" to Baltimore. Beltre may not be a "big bat" but he's at least a "moderately large" bat that would also help out as well on the defensive side of the ball. Then we could package Bell and Hernandez (or another combination) to Minnesota for J.J. Hardy.

If the O's could acquire Beltre, Hardy, and one of Lee/Pena/LaRoche then not only would that represent an offensive upgrade over last year's team but also a defensive upgrade.


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Jeff Z's reply: Beltre has shown zero interest in playing in Baltimore. He'd like to either stay in Boston which as you mention, appears unlikely now with Gonzalez playing first and Youkilis going over to third; or return to the West Coast where he lives. There are also some reports that he's looking for something in the 5-year, $90 million range. The O's just think it's way too high for a player who hasn't exactly been a model of consistency every year.

Once again, O's make no real upgrade to team in offseason. First, the poor start to the season, then the promise to make upgrades, then the belittling of the free agent supply, then the way underwhelming offers, then the "settling"

Welcome to another 72-90 season.

Jeff,

How is Reynold's glove? All I hear about is his whiffle ball bat. Does he have decent range and make the routine play? Thanks for the updates and hopefully you will have some good news to report soon.

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Jeff Z's reply: Yes he makes the routine plays. Defense was a big question mark for him, but he's improved every year defensively. That part of his game is no longer looked at as a negative.

OK, trade talks between the Red Sox and Padres for an Adrian Gonzalez trade are heating up and the Padres want prospects only apparently. Can't afford otherwise. ORIOLES....GET INVOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Free agents aren't coming here for the obvious reason....LOSERS!! JUST GET INVOLVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That would be an enormous addition to the O's. Showalter must be mortified that he came here. He gets to witness first hand how rancid the owner and front office really are. An unbelievably bad organization that just can't function. The O's have tons of money, a great city and ballpark but are mismanaged like no other team. Forget Konerko as he won't even tender the idea of coming here. Rebuild via trade.....that's the ONLY way. Wake up and get involved with Gonzalez ...... JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Enough of being the laughing stock, the butt of all those jokes, and rebuild this team aggressively and get out of 5th place!!!! Stop the insanity.

I say let's get Pena, Reynolds and Izturis to complete the infield. We'll lead the ML (in losses, solo home runs and strikeouts). Roberts and Nick can get on base and help the O's lead the ML in runners left on too!

Any word on some other of the names floating out there that might get traded?
I'm talking about Greinke, Jose Reyes, Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez.
Any chance the O's chase any of these guys? Or am I being too optimistic?

Like it or not, Ty Wigginton is the best option out there for 3rd. Trade Tillman to Cincinnati for Yonder Alonso who's blocked at 1st by Joey Votto.

Looks like the Red Sox just traded for Adrian Gonzalez, and they didn't give the Padres that much to get him. Why no us. I am so tired of this.

trade for hardy pick up lee put wig on third because u know thats as good as it will get if we are LUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You all really are excited about Renoylds??? A guy that strikes out 200+ times a year and will hit around .200. What am I thinking, he will fit in perfectly...

Congratulations to the Re's Sox on landing Adrian Gonzalez.

Now, there's a team that does what it needs to do when it needs to do it. Did the Sox wait around on Gonzalez, saying that things could chang if something opened up? Nope. They opened something up and made it happen. And look! They did it before the Winter Meetings! What a novel idea!

So congrats to the O's on their upcoming 72-90 record and fifth place finish. They really deserve it!

PS - I'm not implying that the O's should have been in on Gonzalez, just that they should be doing SOMETHING to improve the garbage team that runs out on to the field at OPACY. Still no first baseman. Still no shortstop. Still no third baseman. Still no left fielder. Still no ace. All while a division rival was busy acquiring one of the best jitters in baseball.

PSS - Adrian is going to be an absolute BEAST at Fenway.

PSS - My verification words were "increased" and "ofernot". Increased offer, not. As in "The Orioles will not increase an offer to convince a free agent to come to Baltimore. Hilariously fitting!

@Tom M - LaRoche is the absolute opposite of consistent, at least with the bat. His signature during his time in Pittsburgh was an average in April, May & June of about .150. After the break he would come back and start crushing it (around .300 and better). As an Oriole and Pirate fan, I can verify this. However, that being said, we need him anyway. I still can't believe the Sox got A-gon...

The Red Sox just traded for one of the best hitters in the game and here we have one of our reporters telling us that if the 0's trade for a mediocre third baseman, that will knock them out of the running to acquire a mediocre shortstop,

It must be hell to cover this team, Jeff. I commend you, sir.


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Jeff Z's reply: Thanks. Just kinda thinking out loud. Don't think it would knock them out on Hardy/Bartlett, just wondering what other pieces they'd have to trade. It really is alarming that the Red Sox, who have been drafting late in first round for years now, have enough young talent to get a deal done for one of baseball's top sluggers without giving up a major leaguer (No Bard, No Buchholz, no Ellsbury) yet the Orioles are short on trade chips.

I understand that Josh Bell didn't hit very well in his first trip to the majors, but why on earth is a near-100-loss team looking to give up on one of its only hitting prospects?

What the O's front office (and most fans) don't seem to get is that this is a bad team that just finished last in baseball's toughest division. The Yankees are going to add another gabillion dollars-worth of front line players (Cliff Lee, maybe Carl Crawford too). The Red Sox just traded for Adrian Beltre.

The Rays have shown the only way to run with those two teams -- develop a truly deep farm system and commit to your young players.

Instead, the Orioles are looking to trade Tillman and bury Bell. That tells you all you need to know about the long-term viability of this franchise.

P.S. Cesar Izturis was the single worst everyday hitter in baseball last year. (That's not opinion; that's fact, just go visit baseball-reference.com). He's a bench player on every other team in MLB (and probably half of the teams in the International League).

Strikeouts can be tolerated from sluggers if they produce, but Reynolds strikes out once per every 2.6 at bats. That's just mind boggling that a major league hitter could have that much problem simply making contact. No thank you.

Jeff, is it just me or do you get the sense that MacPhail is pretty much going through the motions regarding free agency, perhaps because he sees it as futile? The way it looks now, unless he can pull a rabbit out of the hat by making a big trade or signing at the winter meetings, I don't really see the O's making any significant upgrades.

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Jeff Z's reply: I don't necessarily know if it's going through the motions, Chris. But certainly when people talk about one of Andy's faults and I wouldn't disagree with this, is his unwillingness to blow everybody else out of the water with an offer. Like if you wanted Victor Martinez so bad and he was your top priority, offer him 4 for 60 and make him turn it down. Sure, that's far and away more than he's probably worth, but that's only way O's are going to get an upper echelon free agent in here. The Orioles are in on a lot with trade talk and free agents, which is why I may question the going through the motions. But certainly, it's about finding ways to acquire new talent and the Orioles have come up painfully short in that area so far this offseason. It's all useless talk until you can get the player (s).

Why can't we get Beltre? Will he re-sign with Bosox? Just over-pay and get the ball rolling. Plus J. J. Hardy, if Twins don't re-sign. In this re-building project, O's must over-pay.

Very depressing read. Seeing names like Pena, Reynolds, Wigginton, for corner infield spots.

I was hoping for Konerko or Beltre. What i've read here says that aint happenin. If not, i hope McPhail comes up with something thats not on this board.

What i really hope is that there's a somewhat shrinking market for Beltre. And that the O's overpay and get him.

Then i think taking a flyer on Derek Bell and re signing Izturis would work.

Let's see here. Offering Dunn 16 million less that the Sox does not portend well for the O's. It makes us look cheap, which we are.
We need to offer Konerko a pile of money to come here. Yeah, we have to over pay. And that is very unlikely with Angelos at the helm. The tree rots from the top. It took years to pay for a quality manager. The goal is to win, not just make money and as long as Angelos is captain, the priorities are forever screwed up. I can't blame McPhail, he's working within the parameters of the little big man. The O's could have it all. Profits and wins. If the wins come, Angelos will make all the money he wants especially considering he has the sweetest TV deal around. Can you really take it with you, Mr. Angelos?

Jeff are you seeing the latest? Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox is near completion. The rich get richer...and the kicker? They will not give up a major leaguer to get him. Now with the arms we have, are you telling me this would not be a good tradeoff? This is what upsets folks. When teams like the Soxs get A list talent and give up nothing on the roster to do it!

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Jeff Z's reply: Oh I agree. As I said earlier, it really is a sad state of affairs when the Red Sox, who have been drafting late in the first round for years now, have enough talent to get Gonzalez without giving up a proven major leauger like Bard, Buchholz and Ellsbury, while the Orioles, who have been drafting early in the 1st round for over a decade, really don't have enough to pull off the deal without crippling them for the future. That says wonders about teh difference between the two organizations.

this franchise is a joke. after staying with this team the past 12 years of losing i am about done.
how can the red sox trade for gonzo and we aren't even in the picture. we've been drafting high for years and we can't put something together to get him.
we are a joke.

Jeff, you last observation hits it on the head ... how do the Red Sox have the chips to land A-Gone, and the O's don't?

I think the answer is, the O's probably do have the chips ... Matusz and/or Arrietta, Britton, plus maybe Bell or Snyder. That's probably a comparable package. The problem is that here, those guys are a big part of the immediate plans, whereas Boston has the organizational depth to part with top youngsters and keep winning. That, and Boston is that much closer to contending, where the O's can't afford to part with good young pitching and still plan on competing.

A sad state of affairs ... I've been saying all along that this isn't the offseason to spend big, but with A-Gone off the board, it looks like next year might not be any better.

Thanks to you and Dan for your tireless coverage and updates ... it' much-appreciated.


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Jeff Z's reply: Absolutely, trading Matusz, Arrieta, Britton, Wieters, etc. would cripple the franchise because they don't have enuff behind those guys. Meanwhile, Boston probably won't miss a beat though Casey Kelly is supposedly a stud. That's thing about rebuilding in AL East. O's are trying to do it through their young pitching and farm system, while the Yankees and Red Sox go out every offseason and sign or trade for some of the top players in the game, real proven guys. Very hard to compete with that, and only way to do it is to hit on most of your top draft packs, a la Tampa Bay.

Sad to see the O's going after mediocre players while our division rivals, the teams we have to beat to get to the playoffs, continue to add all star players. I dont know why I had some optimism at the beginning of the off season. All this off season has done is cement the fact the O's will not be a serious threat to make the playoffs in the division for many years. Sox get Gonzalez and Werth, Yanks get Lee and Crawford.....the rich get richer.

Didnt Wiggy play some SS during the season? I know people dont think of him as a prototypical SS, but if we had too, without giving up talent in a trade, move Wiggy over to SS? Or am I out of my mind?


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Jeff Z's reply: Wiggy couldn't play short everyday in the big leagues. Put him there in an emergency, that's fine.

Jeff, looking for clarification on something you wrote. Some read the line, "But to say Konerko’s camp is weighing this huge offer from the Orioles -- as has been reported -- isn’t really accurate," to mean that the O's didn't make an offer, while others read it to mean that the O's made an offer but Konerko isn't considering it. Do you know for sure what's up, or were you tap-dancing around it? Thanks.

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Jeff Z's reply: Not tap dancing at all. Basically, it is semantics in a way. The Orioles have spoken to Konerko's agent and told him what they are willing to do and how high they would be willing to go. But I've been told there has been offer faxed over to him, detailing different contract provisions and stuff. It's not like the O's are waiting by the phone to hear if Konerko will accept their offer or not. Konerko's camp knows how much interest O's have and at what price. O's know Konerko likely headed back to White Sox so they're not exactly pursuing the player with constant phone calls and upped offers.

I think Jenks is also over the hill. Why sign him and ultimately be disappointed when Matt Capps is out there. Hes a proven closer and comes cheaper than Jenks. He also doesnt come with the health risks. Either way, I see cheaper and younger options than Jenks to fill the bullpen roles.

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Jeff Z's reply: I don't think Capps is a free agent and available, but maybe you are right. Every other Twins reliever - Rauch, Guerrier, Crain - seems to be.

We don't need LaRoche, Hardy, Bartlett, Reynolds. They are average players. Just in case everybody's forgotton, we play in the AL East. The evil empire, Redsox and Rays are not even close to being average & the Jays are not far behind. Yet several people think acquiring the above persons will help. If we got everyone one of those guys where do you think we would finish in 2011? If you say anything better than 4th place then you're blind. Everybody thinks we have to start somewhere but we've been doing that since the '98 season. There is absolutely no reason we can't go from last to at least competing for a wild card but it's going to take the "cahones" to make the deals. We don't have real trade chips at this point so we're gonna have to pay out the money. Mr. Angelos if you ever want to have a winning team you need to truly do something. Guys like Brady Anderson say you're a passionate person regarding the O's. I respectfully disagree. It's time to put up or shut up. You are slowly, but surely cutting the heart out of us O's fans. The sad part is that your actions indicate that you do NOT care! I'm sure you've seen polls from O's fans as to whether or not you're doing what you can to help the O's become a better team. It's not good. It's the bottom of the 9th, there are 2 outs and the bases are loaded. Other teams are telling you that they are going to throw a strike right down the plate. What are the O's gonna do. You do what it takes in the court room but not on the diamond. We want to root for your team, our team...but we need to have your help. I think we've shown we care about the O's. What have you done to show you care....and don't even say MASN because we haven't generated any more wins through MASN. It takes putting the right players on the field. At least Buck Showalter won't have any pressure to win because everybody knows we won't be able to with the team YOU put on the field!

Red Sux lose Beltre and Martinez

But gain AGon and 1 of Crawford or Werth ( u know its gonna happen)


The Orioles cant even get in on the Sux table scraps

Are the Orioles ever going to spend ANY MASN money ??

Why is Beltre out of the picture? If anything, with the Sox signing Adrian Gonzalez and Youkilis moving to 3B, Beltre should NOW be very much in the picture!!

C'mon, with the K's Reynolds will simply drive us nuts. Can you imagine the K's next year against the pitchers of the AL East?

How can we get excited about a .198 hitter who led the league in strikeouts as our first major/maybe only major inter acquisition? This smacks of Garrett Atkins all over again, and we've got to give up a quality young player as well, plus pick up Reynolds overpriced contract? I don't get this front office.

the upside to a slugger that strikes out is that they don't hit into double plays.

start saving now and go all in for pujols next off season. that's the best advice i can give.

Jeff,

Hate to continuously harp on Beltre but he plays a position of need and I think it's unjustifiable not to go after him. The only reported offer for Beltre has been 5/64M from Oakland. If I was running the Orioles I'd put up an offer of 5/$75M. Then we find out whether or not Beltre prefers the west coast or an extra $10M.

I understand the bat is inconsistent and last year was likely a mirage, but I think he'd put up better numbers here than he did in Seattle. His defense, which isn't inconsistent, also makes him very valuable.

I'm just tired of the Orioles sitting on the sidelines for marquee free agents. Seems like there is always an excuse. Either we can't compete with the other teams (God help us if we can't compete with Oakland) or we think the player isn't worth the market price. At some point the O's need to take a risk.

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Jeff Z's reply: Good post Josh, couldn't agree more. Maybe with Red Sox no longer interested, Beltre will be more willing to look at Baltimore. And maybe realizing the Red Sox just got another star player will convince O's that they need to reach far deeper into their pockets and take a risk on acquiring Beltre. Something has to happen and soon. This has gotten ugly.

To Brandon who is concerned as to why the O's can't get in on trades like the Sox made to get Gonzalez. It's actually quite simple:
1. McFail is an absolute HORRIBLE GM. He's terrible, absolutely terrible. He sits and sits and waits and waits. We are desperate for a GM like Epstein, his polar opposite. Epstein sees an opportunity and PULLS THE TRIGGER. McFail? He wasn't even up yet.
2. The failures run very deep. The O's don't have the trade chips because of a flawed scouting system. They are bad too. Remember.....Rowell over Lincecum? Very poor scouting.
3. The O's are the laughing stock of all of baseball for a reason.....they stink from the bottom up. They are mismanaged. The owner just doesn't care about winning.....PERIOD! He cares about money in HIS bank account.
4. In conclusion this is a very very flawed organization that won't change until ownership changes, the FO changes, and attitudes change. Brace yourself for 5th place for another several years until some of these fundamental changes possibly occur..
RECOMMENDATION: Leave this team as they deserve it. Time and time again, they fail and will continue to do so. Go find yourself another team to root for. One that is committed to winning and has the type of management that is proactive and will ACT QUICKLY. As for the Orioles......go the hell back to sleep.

Jeff,

Are the O's overrating the young talent they have? I wouldn't trade Matusz, Arrieta, Britton or Bergy, but it seems like they are so stuck on their players that it stops them from making any sort of trade.

Luke Scott seems to always draw interest from other clubs, but again it seems like they are scared to death to make a trade unless it's a guy at the of his career like Miggy or someone they think they can't resign or is injury prone like Bedard. Jim Thome is sitting out there so if the O's could upgrade 1B or 3B with Luke as bait, I don't think they would miss a beat with Thome as the DH.

The fact the O's can't make a decision on whether or not to trade for Hardy or Bartlett yet the Sox go and get Adrian shows the difference between the two clubs and really dampens the excitement over having a real manager heading into 2011.

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Jeff Z's reply: I think the Orioles have overrated their young talent for years. They've gotten better in that regard, but it still goes on here, for sure. As for Luke, I don't believe they've ever been given an enticing offer for him. My impression has always been that they would deal him if they got a decent return.

I have a question, actually maybe two.

How in the world does trading for a 3B that hit more HR than all of the players that played 3B for your team last year combined make your team worse? Especially when the leading candidates for 3B right now on your team are Robert Andino and Josh Bell?

How does signing Bobby Jenks make this team worse when about 2/3 of the bullpen was on the DL last year, you might not have Koji, and your leading candidate for closer is Mike Gonzalez right now?

Everyone is focusing on Reynolds' .198 average. Guys, he was hurt. He had a hand injury. In case you've never played ball or played ball with an injury and tried to hit a 90+MPH fastball, you have no clue as to how difficult it makes it. He's also batted over .260 twice in his rather nubile 4 year career. In that time he hit 28+HR in three consecutive seasons (28, 44, 32).

Is he the greatest hitter on the planet? Absolutely not. Is he Brooks Robinson with the leather? Nope, but who out there is? He's pretty close to average now defensively and I think will get better with some more experience, and power-wise he has little to no equal at 3B. That is his value.

Mark Reynolds.. Hmmm. Well all I can say is. If we are going to pull the trade for him. Then we better do it now. So he can get in to Baltimore and , work with the Crow and Presley. Cause a career 235 avg is not going to cut it in the AL east yea the 35 avg hrs a yr will work. We need that.... Bad.... But the Strike Out's and lak of hitting wount cut it.. Now here's a ? If Josh Bell is'nt in the trade. Do you see him at First Base Along with who ever is brought in. Ty Wigginton Ect..

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Jeff Z"s reply: No, never heard move to first for Bell. I guess acquiring Reynolds could open up that as an option, but yet to hear that being discussed.

Adrian Beltre's OPS+ (that is, OPS scaled around a league average of 100) for the past six years:

93, 105, 112, 108, 83, 141.

Any team buying a 32-year-old planning on him repeating the best year he's had since George W. Bush's first term is... well, there's a new vocabulary policy in place here, I take it, so you'll have to fill the sentence in yourself.

The Orioles have a 24-year-old third base prospect who was considered one of the top 50 prospects in baseball as recently as last year -- Josh Bell.

Yes, Bell hit .214 in 161 plate appearances last year. That's bad. But what, exactly, does this team have to lose by giving him another shot over a full season to see if he can make the adjustments necessary to reach his potential? It's not like there's some sort of sixth place that the Orioles can fall to or anything.

AZ wants Tillman and/or Hernandez for Reynolds?? Are you kidding me? We can't seriously consider making that trade.. We need to overpay for Beltre and Konerko. The White Sox want to give Konerko 13m per year for 4 years. Why can't we just offer him 16m per year for 4 years and make it hard for him to turn us down. Do the same with Beltre. They say he turned down 64m for 4 years from Oak, well we should offer him 72m for 4 years. I get that it is much more than they deserve, but it's what we have to do to get some of these guys to play here..

Am I missing something? Why would the Os be interested in not one, but two players who can't hit even .200 (Reynolds, Pena)?

Trade for Hardy or Barlett, bring in Wiggington to play third and bring in the best you can to play first. If Konerko truly is gone, LaRoach seems to be the best option but even with these moves and Bucky ball the Os will not compete to win the AL East next year. We'll have to be satisfied with a record over .500.

Finally, I've been a big fan of AM in the past but have decided he's a complete mismatch for the Os. This team needs a decisive, aggressive GM who sets his eye on a target and stays after it like a bulldog. AM apparently makes an initial, low ball offer and waits for a reply while someone else wins the prize.

Also, to address the question "how can the Red Sox have all these picks despite picking at the bottom of the draft?" --

OF Reymond Fuentes was taken 28th overall in the 2009 June Rule 4 draft. The O's picked fifth and went out and got... Matthew Hobgood.

Anthony Rizzo was drafted in the 2007 draft -- you know, the one in which the Orioles surrendered both their 2nd and 3rd rounders because they signed mediocre free-agent relievers.

So if you want to have a minor-league system like Boston's, I'd say the team needs to (1) draft less stupidly and (2) sign fewer Type A free agents.

And yet there are still people in this thread simultaneously complaining about the state of our minor-leagues AND suggesting the O's go out and sign Konerko, Beltre, etc....

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Jeff Z's reply: Well said and I would add, maybe acquiring a few players that might net you a few draft picks when they sign with another team in free agency. It's unbelievable that they've been unable to get back any picks from some of the guys they have signed (Tejada, Millwood, Koji, Atkins, Wiggy, etc.)

Andrew,

The Orioles lose with Bell because while they're waiting for him to magically turn into a ballplayer, the other teams in the AL
East are doing what it takes to win.

Let me say I'm in favor of trading for Reynolds. I think he's a def upgrade and will not hit below .200 next season.

I thought these were some interesting situational stats for Reynolds and wanted to pass them on.

Bases empty: 15 HR, 15 RBI, .150 BA, .273 OBP (273 At Bats)
Runners on: 17 HR, 70 RBI, .257 BA, .375 OBP (226 At Bats)
RISP 11 HR, 58 RBI, .276 BA, .414 OBP (134 At Bats)
Source: Yahoo Sports

Quite remarkable the pronounced difference when runners are on base and when they're not.

Jeff,

We hear time and time again that Andy would never do anything just to give the appearance of doing something. Yet he offers a contract to a player, Konerko, that not one person in the organization thinks has any chance of signing. He offers another player, Dunn, 33% under his stated asking price.

I can only draw two conclusions from these actions either he is doing it for show or he is way out of touch with what the market is. Seriously, what do you think they are trying to accomplish by offering money to players they have no shot at and low-balling the ones they might have a shot at? Give me something to hang my last little bit of hope on, please.

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Jeff Z's reply: Sorry Tom, I can't help you there. I had a talk to with somebody from another organization this morning after it became clear the Sox were about to land Gonzalez and the word that kept coming up was hopeless. As I said in previous post, I don't believe they made Konerko a huge offer at all. It is my belief, based on the phonecalls that I've made, that they expressed interest, told Konerko's agent how high they'd be willing to go and then pretty much bowed out when learning he was intent on re-signing with ChiSox.

Not to beat a dead horse, but the Orioles could have put together a package at least as appealing, if not more so, than what the Red Sox gave for Gonzalez, and they could have done it without crippling the development. Tillman has struggled in the bigs, but at least he's been there, unlike Casey Kelly, who stunk up the joint in AA ball last season. Tillman has proven, at the very least, he no longer belongs in the minors. He's only a couple years older. Tillman > Kelly.

Rizzo seems like a good power prospect, although he did only hit .260 last year to go along with his 25 HR and 100 RBI split between high-A and AA. O's don't have a prospect to match that, and maybe that was key in the Gonzalez trade.

I don't know much about Fuentes, but the Red Sox just drafted him. I know it's not great practice to deal a recent 1st round selection, but hey, the Rangers dealt Smoak for Lee. So, why not Manny Machado?

Overall, Tillman/Machado/Bell might have gotten it done, and if the Padres had asked for someone other than Bell, we could have obliged. Maybe the FO thought Gonzalez wouldn't sign here after the season and that's why they didn't pursue him, but the only way you will get players to sign with you is by winning. Can't do that in this division w/o a guy like Gonzalez.

The only way the Orioles salvage this offseason is by acquiring two of the following: Fielder, Reynolds, Konerko, McGehee, Beltre. Not to mention a decent SP, SS, and bullpen help. I would include Werth and Crawford in that list, but why bother?

I've been a season ticket holder for 17 years. I have been a fan all my life. Since my seats are in the club section around home plate I pay lots of money, and personally the last few years I feel like I'm being deceived and lied to just so they can take more of my money by promising action that never comes to pass. it is obvious the owner is not serious about contending and that finances are his only real agenda. If something real does not happen this off season, I'll sit at home and watch instead of spending a pile of money and driving 150 miles round trip to watch an inferior product. THe shame is, this team can be really good, but it starts at the top just like any business, and our upper management is not willing to take the chance or spend the money for the O's to compete.

Hopeless is right, Jeff.

Now that the Sox have Adrian, it's only a matter of time before they hammer out an extension with him. And that's one of the nog three first basemn off the market. And there's no way Albert Pujols is coming to Baltimore. And there's no way Andy takes a risk on Prince Fielder.

That's why guys like Dunn and Martinez were so important. They may not be franchise players, but they're both nice building blocks that could have helped this team get to a point where a Pujols or a Fielder was realistic.

And I honestly think that Andy MacPhail doesn't understand that. I honestly think that he hasn't learned from his own experience in this division, or the experiences of those that were here before him.

With MacPhail at the helm, this organization is beyond hopeless. As someone else said, we need a young, decisive, agressive GM. We need someone who has worked in this division. We need someone who understands the realities of today's game. After four years it's clear that Andy MacPhail is not that guy.

And if he doesn't do anything significant this winter to build on what happened at the end of last year, there's no reason for him to keep his job.

The Orioles have once again disappointed all fans. Cant get dunn, konerko isnt going to come here, and i dont want pena. why trade for someone who bats .198. doesnt make sense. trade hernadez for bartlett, cause izzy aint worth a lick. I would love to see us over pay Beltre to play third. great bat, great glove, why not, it makes sense to me. For first base, i think we should go with LaRoche. he is younger than Lee and has a decent bat, and decent glove.

I think bringing in Bobby Jenks would be a great idea. Him, koji, gonzo, jim johnson, and Berkman would be a solid bullpen. Here is what im hoping actually praying the lineup looks like next year.

1-Roberts (2B)
2-Jones (CF)
3-Markakis (LF)
4-Beltre (3B)
5-Scott (DH)
6-Wieters (C)
7-LaRoche (1B)
8-Pie (LF)
9-Bartlett (SS)

This wouldnt be the best lineup in the east but it could definately compete

50 year fan about to sign off...I am done with defending AM and the oriole WO...All I have done for the last 10-15 years is try and wait and support a team that has had opportunities but accepted taking the back seat. I do not buy that we could not have offered a better deal for the opportunity to sit and try to extend Gonzales...If nothing happens to show an upgrade before spring training I will no longer make the trips to the yard. With this one I see no excuse... I love them but I am done...

Jeff Z's reply: ... it really is a sad state of affairs when the Red Sox, who have been drafting late in the first round for years now, have enough talent to get Gonzalez without giving up a proven major [leaguer] ... while the Orioles, who have been drafting early in the 1st round for over a decade, really don't have enough to pull off the deal ...

Well, that is the other side of "grow the arms," too.

I realize a lot of the drafting wasn't on MacPhail's watch, but one needs to be able to offer AAA and AA position players to be able to pull off deals as well. The Orioles are so locked in on growing the arms, that's all they have that might be attractive.

It is just another example of how an all-eggs-in-one-basket approach is not really a sound method even if that one approach is a good one, or even the best one.

Additionally, a lot of the Oriole "major league players" are still considered prospects at this stage and would not be on Boston's roster. Here is where I am not faulting MacPhail because a total revamp of the entire organization is not something I would have expected yet. I do hold him accountable for an acute lack of vision and lack of action. There is a very good chance this team will be worse thanks to the offseason rather than better, and that's scary.

There is always the possibility, probability, all likelihood that the blame goes to the higher ranking source, but whatever ...

Ron

The Orioles can't trade Machado until after the completion of his 1st professional season.

Also, I can't imagine any team trade a prospect with the status of Machado for a one year rental that they may or may not resign. And with the current state of the the O's farm system, most people would consider that (excuse me, blogmasters) as a stupid move.

Seeing who the Red Sox had to give up for Gonzalez, it seems to me that the Orioles wouldn't have had to give up too many of their top prospects anyway, which further p***** me off. Rizzo is the most polished of the bunch and probably won't be ready until sometime in 2012. Casey Kelly is a SS converted to pitcher that had a 1.61 WHIP in AA.


Watching and waiting for the O's who have less $ tied up this coming season than any team in baseball save for maybe Pittsburgh; Watching and waiting for them to do something is not just disheartening, its down right disgusting. When they need to move fast and yes, overpay, they sit on their hands. Yeh, they'll say we made an offer, when we all know that making an equal or "close too" offer is like making no offer at all considering 13 horrid seasons. They exclaim its not fair, they can't spend like the big boys, when actually this year, they probably would have upwards of 40-70 million they could spend spend and as good and more prospects as anybody they could package. Yet, Gonzalez goes to the BoSox for a prospect (what, a prospect?)when we could have put Tillman (actual big leagues) and several prospects together for him. Konerko, the very best option left can be had if you throw enough $ at him! Front load it. 20m next yr, etc. This is his last chance at the $$$ SHOW IT TO HIM! Don't tell me his 35 dingers and .285 Career avg (which is extraordinary for a slugger) aren't worth it! Speaking of worth, why not sign Jason Werth and get him back in the organization that drafted him? He kills lefties which the O's acknowledge, they desparately need. Makes too much sense right? Andy MacPhail, there is no time or top talent left in the FA market to be prudent. Overpay for a stud to get the ball rolling and maybe get some leverage back on our side, unless you like playing w Confederate money and always being the bridesmaid. This long suffering fanbase CANNOT hold its COLLECTIVE breath much longer. Konerko would be at least a grip of oxygen, and might land you some secondary talent too, like Bobby Jenks for the back end of the bullpen. Thus allowing you to trade Hernandez for Bartlett. But you gotta get off the blocks man...or you and this sorry franchise will be gasping for air til your purple AND the rest of us turn you off completely because we have another franchise in this town that gets it. just coincidence they wear purple!

Jeff

I've been reading that the Nationals have a surplus of SS - Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. Being that they have his luxury and the O's don't have a legit SS to speak of at this moment, what are the odds of AM making a deal with DC this winter? Or has Angelos set up a trade embargo with any team north of VA?

Thanks!

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Jeff Z's reply: No embargo with trading with the Nats that I know of.

The center piece was Casey Kelly, a guy who has 3 years of pitching experience and a career 3.68 era, Britton has a career 3.09 era, why couldn't we trade Britton (similar and better to Casey) Avery (like the OFer in the trade) and Bell/Joseph?

I think our deal beats the Sox's

This is getting ridiculous...

Whatcha think Jeff?

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Jeff Z's reply: The one thing I wonder Andrew is if Gonzalez would have been willing to sign an extension in Baltimore. He apparently wanted to in Boston. But obviously from the O's point of view, they'd need to extend him because while it appears on paper that they could put up a similar package than what the Padres got for Gonzalez, it would have been poiintless if Gonzalez wouldn't sign an extension. I just don't know yet if he was willing, or if the Padres simply liked what the Red Sox had to offer and didn't think the O's could match it.

WELCOLME AG TO BALTIMORE!! WE LOVE TO SEE YOU HIT HOMERUNS IN CAMDEN YARDS, probably at least 40 in the next 5-6 years..

I see the mets are shopping reyes...why couldn't we go after him? He has all the tools for a SS and then if we could get Reynolds our lineup would have power and lots of speed.

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Jeff Z's reply: I would go after him. But the issue again is if you can sign him to an extension. He's 1-year away from free agency.

Jeff-

I'm constantly hearing "trade for Fielder" has there actually been any contact between the O's and Milwaukee?

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Jeff Z's reply: I'm sure they've had talks the past couple of years. Andy talks to the other GMs regularly. But I know of no significant conversations or negotiations though as you know, MacPhail wouldn't advertise them if they were going on. I will say this though: a couple of O's officials I have talked to over the past couple of years aren't high on Prince at all. They worry obviously about his body type, whether he'll have to go to DH sooner rather than later. And of course there is the issue of trying to negotiate a contract extension with Scott Boras. All in all, I don't see it happening, but you'd think at some point, the Orioles are going to have to get out of their comfort zone and take a risk and get an impact player in here.

The O's have needed a 1B for years.

During Andy's tenure, 2 Franchise level First Baseman have been acquired by division Rivals.

I'm sure any moment Pujols will sign with Toronto, and Fielder with the Rays.

There are no words to express my utter dismay. Hopeless hardly describes it. Contempt. Yes, raw unadulterated contempt.

Missing on A-Gon, and then trying to Trade for Reynolds. Totally Ducked Up.

I was one of the strongest supporters of Andy...but this is exacerbating. I can feel the dark side pulling me closer everyday.

That warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of the season, where there were rays of hope about the future, is now totally gone.

Reynolds?!!?!! Do you know what Watching 200+ strikeouts feels like as a fan???!!!?!?!! If Fans hated on Adam Jones and Josh Bell for the wiffs...hold on to your hats.

The League leader in K's (for 3 years running) is MArk Reynolds. Man, that's what the O's line-up needs. Brilliant.

Contempt and disdain quickly turning into raw fury.

WHY?!!?!?!?! WHY must it hurt so much! I'm calling 911 and reporting murder at OPACY. The O's are killing me!!!

Jeff -- There's the old saying about the definition of insanity as doing the same failed thing over and over and expecting different results. That's what I think of when I read about the O's trying to sign a decent free agent.

First, with Martinez they make a fairly decent offer to him and tell his agent to get back with them as they were willing to sweeten the deal if need be. No call back, as he signs for a little more with somone else.

Second, with Dunn they lowball him--at least based on industry projections as to what it would take to get him, then get burned as he signs with someone who came much closer to those projections.

Third, with Konerko they deny reports that they made a significant offer to him and the prevailing mood around the front office is to forget him and move on. (Where do you get that he's intent on re-signing with the Sox, Jeff, I just looked at the news items on him and the closest I could see to that is that he definitely views them as an option, not that he's committed to going back yet.)

All these exercises in failure (and I'm writing off Konerko because from what you're saying, it sounds like the O's basically didn't bid competitively for him and are now out of the picture).

While the scenarios for their pursuit of Martinez, Dunn and Konerko differ, they're all variations on the same theme:
The Orioles resolutely refuse to face market realities for such free agents and continue to get shot down because of the fact.

Baltimore is still not a very attractive destination for the better free agents (it may be moving in that direction, but it's not there yet). If the Orioles are serious--and I mean really serious--then there's no way that they can continue to make these lackluster offers and hope that maybe they'll hear back from the agent, because that's not going to happen with other teams--more attractive teams--also seeking these players.

No, the only thing that's going to get their attention is a jawdrop sort of offer from the get-go, one so significant that only a few teams like the Yankees and Red Sox would remain in the bidding. That's the only way the O's even have a chance: Stick so much money under their noses that Baltimore suddenly doesn't look so bad, after all.

Why don't Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail accept this fact. Being tight fisted isn't going to bring the top free agents to town. Now, of course it's entirely possible that this offseason's players don't really appeal to them and they're waiting until next year to try to break the bank on Albert Pujols (best of luck).

Of course, if that's the case, why even go through the motions of making offers to these players that the O's must know don't have a chance of going anywhere? Something here doesn't make much sense.

Switching gears, any chance that the Orioles will take a look at World Series MVP Edgar Renteria as a possible answer at short? I know he was injured much of last year, but they could always offer a deal like the one they have for Koji--low base salary, but incentives that could boost the value significantly.

Renteria can hit and field, and has proven through his career to come through in big games, which you definitely like playing in the AL East, where there are lots of big games. One additional advantage to signing him is the O's wouldn't need to give up David Hernandez in a trade.

All I'm going to say is thank goodness for the Ravens..they aren't afraid to go out and get Anquan Boldin and then when Housh comes on the open market, they aren't afraid to go out and sign him...did i forget to mention how good their draft picks are...imagine what we could get for our last 5 years worth of picks..oher, ngata, rice, grubbs, and gaither, a compensatory pick..could've netted us a potential 1st or 2nd round this past year..and no way are we overpaying or overtrading for elite players..just look at anquan boldin's deal..
Then you have the O's..with all the money we have..we couldn't even draft a better player than HOBGOOD..becuz we were too afraid that we would give that player too BIG OF A SIGNING BONUS...

Also, Mark Reynolds was a national league player, sure he did face some elite pitchers..but throw his 200+ strikeouts against Sabathia, Lee, Lester, Garza, and the rest of the AL pitchers in our division..i can just see: BASES LOADED, 2 STRIKES, Sabathia throws Reynolds a curveball, he swings through it..Inning over, 3 are left on base..

Ripkin SAVE US!

Yankees: Cano, A-Rod, Tex
RedSox, Youkilis, AG, BigPapi

Orioles: Markakis, Scott, Wigginton?

ROAR!!!! FEAR THE O's!

Could the O's swing a deal for Prince Fielder or Jose Reyes. Both are on the trade block and it seems to me the O's need to make a big move to prove we're trying to compete in the AL East.


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Jeff Z's reply: Sure, they have the talent to do it but the issue again is: Do you trade 3 or 4 prospects for one year of those guys or will they sign an extension after the trade is agreed upon?

Jeff - In your response to AndrewRickli concerning Adrian Gonzalez, you write: "I just don't know yet if he was willing (to sign an extension with the O's), or if the Padres simply liked what the Red Sox had to offer and didn't think the O's could match it."

The Orioles never approached the Pardes on this, there were no discussions as far as you know, right? So any thoughts by San Diego who the O's might be willing or able to offer in return would have been speculation on its part, right? And quite honestly, if the Padres did consider Baltimore as a trade partner in that way, then they didn't think it through very well, because a club like the O's, struggling for respectability, might well have offered them a better deal than Boston to get difference maker like Gonzalez. Wouldn't you agree?

As for Koji, do you know if the Orioles are willing to add a second option year if needed? I read where they're offering a year, where other teams could offer two. I'm just wondering if there's going to be any flexability.

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Jeff Z's reply: I know Padres and Orioles have talked over the past couple of seasons, but I don't know about how serious the talks were, if they exchanged names, who they liked on the O's, etc. I also don't know if they had any convos w/ GOnzalez's agent about whether he'd be interested in signing an extension here if he was asked. As for Koji, I think they'd include a second-year option, perhaps a vesting type option based on appearances or games finished or something like that.

I happened to be flipping channels the other night and came across an old black and white movie. It was The Wolfman or Frankenstein or one of those. But what struck me was the villagers running up to the castle with torches and pitchforks. Do you think Angelos would get off his butt and actually make some deals if say 25,000 angry fans with torches and pitchforks surrounded his house?

Good grief!!!! Buck has got to be going crazy about now. Angelos and McFail need to do something!!! This sitting on their hands crap needs to stop. If those two are not going to do what it takes to make this team competitive again, then get the hell out. McFail...you ARE the weakest link. Goodbye.

Jeff,

At this point I find this off season a complete bust. I think the O's at this point should strengthen the bullpen and the left side of the infield. We should probably hold off on acquiring a first baseman and use what we have. I think we should wait for Albert Pujols and throw the WORLD at him during free agency. We should start drafting more position players than pitchers the next couple of years and hopefully get some contract extensions with our young nucleus of pitchers so we don't lose them in a few years either. Hopefully Buck can continue to work his magic next season with what we already have in place now. It doesn't really matter what I think however, the front office and ownership is going to have to drastically change their philosophies on how aggressive they are at obtaining free agents or next off season won't matter either.

Our scouting department is just horrible to say the least. They should all be replaced. I think Buck has hired a great all-star cast of coaches and hopefully they will be able to retool the young players we have utterly destroyed in the lower levels of our farm system. At this point I am convinced that Andy MacPhail has not a clue on what strategy to use to get this team inot contention. Unless things change they will always be the same. If we don't have offense then the pitching has got to become the best in our division from starters to closers. I really think this can be achieved with some solid hirings this winter.

I don't rule out the Orioles can contend with strong pitching and true fundamentals. We will have to focus on little ball. Moving the runners over, stealing bases, and improving on defense. Let's use what we have and make a push to improve on these areas. If you look at the great Orioles teams, they have been TEAMS. Great pitching and teamwork, basic fundamentals are what have given us success over the years even without a lineup of great players. The '83 team is a perfect example, other than Ripken and Murray it was a cast of average players. Markakis and Jones can be our Ripken and Murray. I do have hope still for this club and I think winning doesn't come from the checkbook but from the desire to win. This club, through Buck's management, can have that desire, just as they had when he took over.

I don't think that overpaying or selling the farm to obtain players is the way to go. Players don't choose to come here because there is no fire in the hearts of the players to be champions. None of these players have even had minor league championships to know what winning is. Buck and his crew can bring that intensity to this club. I truly believe this club will be 25-30 games better than last year just by the heart Showalter brings to the field each and every day. He is the closest thing to the Oriole way we have had in management for more than a decade now. You can't buy intensity and the desire to believe in yourself, it comes from inspiration and leadership and I know Buck's got it. This club has turned the corner, even if most can't see it yet.

I believe in Oriole Magic and I think this group of players has it, just as they showed during the last two months of the season. We can achieve more with less, just as we always have under great management. Not to say that our scouting department doesn't need a complete overhaul and a need to make some major changes to the minor league coaching staffs. The big league level shouldn't be these young players first opportunity at success. We should have intensity all the way through the farm system. We need to be competetive at all levels of our farm system. How can we expect young players to be successful at the major league level when they aren't taught how to be successful at the minor league level?

This offseason we should make our bullpen the best in baseball, if a solid position player or two with defensive skills and an above modest power output can be found cheap then so be it, if not work with what we have. Build from the ground up stressing defense and oldschool baseball fundamentals. Next offseason open the vault on day one and sign Albert Pujols to a contract he can't refuse and can't be matched by anyone. Boston and New York at that point will have already locked up their 1B slots to long term deals and will be out of the market for him.

Do you believe this club has the fire to win under Showalter making no excuses for the personel they already have?

paulie -

Welcome to the doom and gloomers camp. The chips and salsa are in the corner. Don't get too excited. The chips are stale and the salsa is moldy. And we've only got light beer.

smitty -

When nothing significant happens at the Winter Meetings, we'll be ready to welcome you to the dark side.

Well it has become readily apparent that the O's are officially the pariah of baseball. Nobody of any value will come here via free agency and if we make a trade for that one great player we strip what talent we have at the major league level with little to replace said talent at the minor league level.

I am curious though where is the O's farm system ranked? I thought when AM was hired that there was a real chance of change, but I keep reading how we don't want to pay someone but so much money because anything beyond that is paying to much. That is all fine and well, but if you can't beat them then join them and in this case if it means paying a ridiculous amount of money beyond what a player is worth so be it. At least it would draw some attention to the team and demonstrate the willingness to do whatever it takes to win. Just not a continuation of the same drivel coming out of the front office about "buying the bats".

So Boston gets AGon. I swear all we ever do is sit and wait sit and wait sit and wait. We talk about not giving up young talent because we think they are so good. How about awhile back ago we wouldn't give up Julio (where is he now). AGon goes to Boston for 3 players that have never played MLB. We can't give up Hernandez because he is so dang good (supposedly). Don't trade anyone, pick up other teams scraps and throw everything away that you supposedly built for A FUTURE of winning. Why can't we trade PIE and a couple of young arms for Zeinke? Why can't we see if Reyes of Hanley are available for a trade and quit talking about Izturis who hits like a school girl in situations? AFAIL just go ahead and sign Izturis to a 10 year deal and get it over with. Bell our future right? Showed he may not be a MLB player for long. GET PROVEN TALENT, SPEND MONEY, TRY TO WIN. STOP PLAYING THE GAME THAT YOU ARE PLAYING IT ISN"T WORKING AND WE ARE PLAYING THE PRICE (THE FANS). Who is left now from the Tejada trade? No one and yet we bragged about it.

Jeff: I am a Real Estate Broker and negotiate deals for a living and I am at a loss to understand the O's Front Office strategy for negotiating with Free Agent players and their agents.

We are negotiating like we are Boston or New York when every man and his dog knows that all we have to offer right now after 12 miserable seasons is cash!

The O's needed to be aggressive with their offers when targeting a player and lead rather than follow. Our offer to VMart was strong and competitive when it really needed to be aggressive and our best offer from the start. When you are in a multiple offer situation with nothing but money to offer which is the situation that the O's find themselves in, then you submit your best offer as your first offer. If you achieve nothing else you will at least push the price up for a rival in most negotiations. It is no good after the player signs elsewhere especially at a price you would have been prepared to pay or if you would have been prepared to pay more with nothing to show for your efforts except to be able to say we put in a competitive bid. At the moment the O's don't have the luxury of just putting in competitive bids and being in with a shot they have to use the only commodity they have to offer which is cash. And it will remain that way until we have a history of winning again rather than losing.

That is why our opening offer of $40m to Dunn (if true) was such a joke if in fact someone thought it was a serious offer in the first place. If we were serious in wanting to sign Dunn we should have offered $60m the minute he turned down arbitration and then sat back while everybody else picked themselves up off the floor and decided whether they would pay that amount or not. Dunn might still have chosen the Sox at $56m over our offer but at the very least we would have had a seat at the table and other available FA's and their agents would definitely be looking in our direction and taking us a little more seriously. As I said earlier we are negotiating like we are Boston or New York rather than Baltimore and as much as we all love Baltimore we really don't have anything to offer a top tier FA, but money, our good looks just are not going to cut it!

We are now in the situation of, if we don't sign Beltre and/or Konerko of dropping down to a lower standard of FA which in most cases will mean a lower standard of performance.

I am at a loss to understand our negotiating approach and any light you can shine on it would be appreciated!

Best Patrick

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Jeff Z's reply: I'm often at a loss too so I'm not sure I'm the best man to explain it, Patrick. I think they would have liked to add Dunn, but I don't think they were in love with the idea. So they pretty much decided what he was worth in their minds and stuck to it. They were told by his agent that he was going to get more than 4 years for 40 mill., and they opted not to go higher. That tells me they didn't want him that much. As for Martinez, they felt like they already went out of their comfort zone to get to the $48 million. They had the best offer on the table for much of the process, but Martinez eventually got the money he wanted from the team that he wanted it from.

This team is a joke!!!
I gave up 3 yrs ago and so should you.
Typical Attorney
Go Ravens

"As for Martinez, they felt like they already went out of their comfort zone to get to the $48 million."

That's the thing, Jeff.

It's an absolute joke for this team to be "out of their comfort zone" offering $12M per year for four years to a player of Martinez's caliber. Who in the world is Andy going to sign if he's not comfortable offering fair market value? Especially since it's going to take a lot more than fair market value to get any decent free agent to play here.

Comments like this "comfort zone" bit tell me that this organization under this leadership is never going to acquire a top of the line ballplayer via free agency or trade.

Thanks for your reply Jeff. I am actually of the mind that Beltre would still sign with the O's, especially seeing that the only offer on the table is 5/64 but I think it would need the likes of Konerko signing with the O's as well to convince Beltre that the O's were looking to be a contender. Konerko looks to be staying with the Sox and seeing we are not likely to be in on Worth or Crawford I agree with you that we have little chance with Beltre either.

Best

Patrick

jeff
whats wrong with prince batting dh
in one or two years boston has had
david ortiz do it for last 8 and gotten
291 hr with a low of 23hr 89 rbi in only 109 games in 2008 with at lest 31 hr and
99 rbi in every year couldn"t prince do that on your team after one or two years
at first base ortiz started his run at boston at age 28 prince is currently only 26

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Jeff Z's reply: Nothing I guess, but some teams aren't exactly fond of giving 90 plus million or whatever Prince is going to cost for a player who only contributes on offense. Gonzalez and Teixeira and Pujols make that kind of money not only because they can hit the ball out of the ballpark, but they are Gold Glovers defensively.

My coworker and I have talked about this at work for days. Nobody wants to come here regardless how much money we want to throw at him. Martinez could have come here if he would of came back and asked to sweeten the offer the Tigers offered. But he saw a winning team and bolted. I say we just get what we can get whether it is Ty Wigginton or whoever and play with the players we have. We can't do any worse than what we have been doing which is losing.

Beltre isn't coming here unless the O's offer five years, $90M.

And considering the fact that Andy wasn't willing to bid more than $20M per on Mark Teixeira, I highly doubt he'll bid $18M per on Adrian Beltre.

I said this many months ago hoping I would be wrong only I believe I am right.

Nothing will ever change with this franchise till there is new ownership who is willing to hire baseball people, willing to spend money and have the will do what it takes to compete.

Till then we will here nothing but grand plans that are akin to smoke in the wind.

Were becoming the team that we originated from the St Louis Browns

what you think about ramirez from white sox ss, and upton from the daimond backs.i really think we need to get our line up together to get pitching.We have to get fielder know or next year to compete.wiggy is a ball player and we have to sign him back that man made the allstar team


...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I'd take either of them obviously, but I haven't heard that Alexei Ramirez is available and if you want Upton, be prepared to part with Matusz and two or three more players.

Konerko or Wiggington? I think that Wiggington is a better first base man, but konerko is a better batter. Wiggington use to be a great batter, with all those great home runs! I'm 10years old and I've been a O's fan all my life, so when wiggington hit a home run I cheered my pants off. When I spend a night at my grandmothers house
I watch the baltimore O's, and the best game was when the O's first swept the Bosten Red Sox this summer when Wiggington hit four homeruns! I was so amazed that my grandmother and I were jumping around the house. That was the night when Matt.Wieters hit a three run homer, his first time, my little man, well not little he is six feet tall. Konerko is a power hiter. He is very good homerun hiter. I sometimes whatch the sox play. Konerko can hit two-three homeruns a games. He is very good. The O's could use konerko but Ty Wgington is very good two. so who will win? I don't know. Konerko or Wiggington?Both for the Baltimore orioles!!!...

"and another one's gone, anothe one bites the dust" or in this case, leaves the O's in the dust! Berkman signs w STL for 8M. At this point, O's had better get wiggy resigned before he gets fair market value and signs w Baltimore infield west and the World Champion Giants...don't think he won't, they could use his bat at 3rd. Don't bring us Mark Reynolds and his Mendoza batting avg and 200 strikeouts, nor Carlos Pena and his similar junk, unless he comes on the cheap. Make a blockbuster deal for Reyes and Wright, or anything that might help us sleep at night. I met Andy MacPhail at Spring Training. Nice, cordial, yet reminded me of the kid who sat in the corner in 3rd grade, picking boogers and sneaking peaks at the cutest girl in the room. ie aware of his dogma, powerless to change it, alas resigned, and willing to settle for less. Having grown up in the same dang small city that managed to create winners against the same big city players you face today, well sir Boogmeister, we ain't cool with aquiessence, nor the excuses that come with it!

I would trade for Reynolds immediately. Have you ever seen this guy play? First of all, he will become the leader in the clubhouse, that was certainly his reputation in Arizona. He really has improved defensively and would not be a liability.

The most important is his hitting. He is not a .198 hitter, he was hurt on and off all year last year and still put up great production in somewhat limited at bats on a last place team. He can work on making contact, but when he makes contact the ball flies. Watch some highlights, this guy looks like he barely makes any effort and the ball goes over 410 feet easily. Hitting even .250 would be great because he'll probably have an OBP around .365, he's righty and he is the perfect protection for Markakis and the perfect filler between Markakis and Luke. Try to not trade Hernandez, give them Tillman and whatever else, but if you have to give him too. He's also ony 27.

Don't worry Jeff, you're not bearing bad news regarding the fact that the O's are not that interested in Konerko. It's news every O's fans already knows. I am surprised that you didn't know it. Hate to bust your bubble but we never were. The O's don't go after players that would definitely make an impact, that would show that the HMFIC's care about winning. I think the last 13 years shows how they feel about that! God forbid that they go after a "big" bat.

Hi Jeff, I was reading some of your earlier replies,. I think trading Hernandez within the division would be a completely asinine move, but who knows what they're thinking over there.

George, I think the cards will sign Pujols longterm in the near future.

I agree,though. If he becomes a free-agent, offer him 10 years, $350 million.

He'll be a fixture at OPACY for years to come.

Jeff -- Given that the O's seem to want Koji back, and he wants to be back, and that they're the only team that seems willing to make him closer, if he wants two years, why don't they at least offer him a year and an option for a second?

If he pitches well and stays healthy, they'd have no problem re-signing him anyway, but if things fall through, they can bail on the deal. It doesn't make sense for them to be so adamant that they won't go a second year with him, even if it's just an option year.

Seems to me they need to bend a little on this and get him signed before Boston nabs him. Wouldn't you agree?

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Yes, I would. While I don't know this for sure, Koji wants two guaranteed years, or at least one and a player option. I would think the O's would be fine with a team option or a vesting option.

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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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