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December 6, 2010

The reported Koji Six, and a stroll around the lobby

It’s the official first day of the winter meetings and by 9 a.m. people were buzzing in the lobby.

OK, buzzing it is a bit strong. It was like a march of defeated ants, everyone knowing for the next three days there will be countless monotonous strolls around the lobby at the Swan and Dolphin Resort here in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

I’ve considering setting up a popcorn stand next to the 40-foot tree in the main lobby, so people have a way of a leaving a trail around this place so know where they’ve been and how to get back.

If I can do half as well as the coffee counters in this place, I may never had back north.

Enough talk about food and drink (can’t imagine I sniff breakfast for four days here), let’s throw you a nugget of the baseball variety.

One of my handshakes this morning was with a Japanese reporter who spent a little time covering Koji Uehara in the States.

He said the six teams that apparently have shown interest in Koji, the Orioles’ closer at the end of the season and a current free agent, was detailed to the Japanese media.

Apparently the six are the Orioles, the Seattle Mariners, the Minnesota Twins, the Boston Red Sox, the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Of that list, you have to expect the Orioles are the only team absolutely set on Uehara being the closer.

The word in Japan is the word we hear here: That Koji wants to return to Baltimore but he’d go elsewhere for a two-year deal. And it’s highly unlikely the Orioles offer him a multi-year contract.

Like everything else at this place this week, it will be a wait and see.

In a few minutes, the Hall of Fame is having a press conference.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 9:56 AM | | Comments (17)


Day 1 of the Winter Meetings is well underway and not a single Orioles reference on MLB Trade Rumors.

My guess is that the only Orioles news we'll hear about this week is how they weren't willing to part with [insert prospect here] to acquire [insert 1B/3B/SS here] or how they weren't willing to match the price tag for [insert free agent 1B/3B here].

As waspman mentioned in an earlier post, this team better get something going eventually...

Andy isn't the only GM in the world who needs a shortstop. And he isn't the only GM in the world who realizes that Cesar Izturis is a damn good defensive shortstop.

Andy isn't the only GM in the world who needs a first or third baseman. And he isn't the only one who realizes that Ty Wigginton can hit 20 homers. It should also be noted that Wigginton could be a great fit for multiple clubs as a utility guy who can bounce around to several positions. Sure, Wiggy wants to start, but if it comes down to less money to start for the O's and more money to platoon with a contender, what do you think he's going to do?

It's December 6th, and the Orioles are without a first baseman, a shortstop, a third baseman, and half of a bullpen. They could also use a left fielder who's healthy and can actually play the position well. Time is ticking. And they're not the only team interested in their own free agents...

WNST is reporting that the O's are close to signing Derrek Lee, which goes directly against what was said here last night. Any truth to that rumor?

Sure would be nice to have my team target a guy, be aggressive and go out and get him. This applies to Koji as well. If Jayson Werth can get the deal he got, why can't we offer Koji two years? Is it that crazy? It's not like he's gonna get $10 million a year.

Pay the man.....give him two years and sign him before you screw around McPhail and lose him to Boston and then he'll be striking our guys out and you'll be kicking yourself for not resigning hm. Cheapo Orioles.

I get tired of all the complaining via the blogs or my friend who's opinion mirrors what I'm reading. I'm sure our General Manager knows how to do his job. he has been in the business for alot of years. I'm also sure there aren't alot of players who want to come here. I use the coaching staff as a example. alot of Buck's former coaches chose for whatever reason not to join him here I wonder if there is a message there

Being without a first baseman, shortstop, third baseman and half a bullpen is not a big problem on December 6. Not being able to land anybody anywhere is more of a concern. From what I've seen, signing a free agent requires the signing team to be a competitive club within reach of the post season or to pay an exorbitant amount. Or both. The Orioles do have a third baseman -- Bell may still pan out (Bill James Handbook predicts .273 21 HR, 74 RBI in 143 games compared to Beltre's .283 24HR 88 RBI in 154 games) -- but the fans have little patience. I guess that's what 13 years of futility will do. Andino is not quite the fielder Izturis is (Cesar scored barely above average in 2010) but can hit better. I hate to say it but... Russell Branyan and Joe Crede (with a full-time team of paramedics on the bench) may be the only free agent hitters willing to join a 5th place team in the AL East at a reasonable price.

Can someone please tell me how can the redsox and Yankees trade away their prospects every July, draft late every year,
yet continue to have prospects in the winter to make mega trades?

We have stunk for the last 13 years, have drafted high almost every year, yet we are
unable to scrap enough prospects for a trade.

I get that the Yankees and Redsox can spend more money on players than us, but
what is amazing is that they continue to trade prospects every year, and still reload
with the draft.

I know doing something just to do something is not good business, but I'm
at the point where doing that is better
than nothing at all. The Jason Werth
deal may be crazy but at least the nats made a move, an if it doesn't work out
they will trade him to the Yankees or Redsox anyway.

Dan- ESPN is reporting the o's are closing in on Derek Lee. Any truth to that?

IF I was ANDY I would finish off the BP with Uhara, Gregg, and/or Balfour. Make my best money offer to Konerko, Pena/Laroche and take whichever one blinks first with the BP strong and 1B addressed seek trade partners to settle SS-3B.. Then seek a starter candidate and Sherrill and several other LH minor league FA or a couple of LH rule 5 picks to fight out LH BP roles.. The tortise doesn't always win this race so we need to accomplish as much as possible this week.. ARE the angels going to give trumbo a chance or bury him like they did wood ?? I will predict the orioles won't catch the yankees or boston this year but Buck can make them respectable if given some talent whuch is available.. GIVE these young pitchers a reason to believe their team can still get them 4 or 5 runs if they pitch well.. Millwood Guthrie and Matusz all pitched well early last year but the esult will be the same for all of them if we can't add even the bats that are still available now..

I really feel bad for anyone stuck wandering around the lobby of the Swan and Dolphin Resort instead of being able to enjoy the bracing wind and cold back here in Maryland. At least the hot stove seems to be finally warming up in the Orioles section.

I hope the Orioles are at least talking with Koji about a second year that might vest based on certain performance criteria. Now that Hernandez and Mickolio are gone it even further increases Koji's value to the Orioles.

See I told you. I knew we'd sign somebody like Reynolds to play 3rd. We'll sign Derrick Lee to play first. Reynolds will kill us with his strike outs and Lee will kill us with his inability to hit the long ball because he's over the hill. Once again, the O's finish in last. See where those two signings got ya Mr. Angelos. Mr. McPhail, congratulations on not spending any real money and keeping the O's in last place. You are the general manager of the Baltimore Orioles but you act like you're just bying your time until you become the head of baseball. You don't want to make any waves.....we know what you're up to.

The redsox and yankees have more prospects to trade again every year because the draft order is a farce. The best prospects demand big money or say they won't sign, so the small market teams pass on them and let the big boys draft them later. That way the red sox and yankees get the best free agents and the best draft prospects and, of course, the best ammunition for trades. Hence baseball is completely slanted towards the big market teams in every respect, not just the most obvious ones.

Here's your answer Putter--take a look at how many picks Tampa Bay will have before our 2nd pick. We'll have 1 (our first pick) and my estimation for TB is 11. Their first rounder, first or second rounder of whoever signs Soriano, Crawford and Balfour (type A FAs), plus sandwich picks for those 3 above plus one for Pena, Hawpe, Qualls and Choate (type B FAs).

How depressing is that? Sure some may not come in front of our 2nd round pick, but 11 picks--mostly in the first 60 picks is ridiculous.

Haven't looked at NYY/Bos, but they're most likely closer to TB than BAL.

This year will be a marked improvement over the past umpteen losing seasons. Big money players will be less of a factor in the AL than they are in the NL. The Orioles will have a fine season.

Just landed Reynolds. Good trade, Andy! I like that he's young, has power and signed through '12. Hopefully Buck can help him w/his plate discipline and K's though!

Koji is injury prone. I like his 2010 bullpen results, but I gotta believe a non-movement 88 mph fastball has to run out of lives quicker than a cheshire cat.

Good luck replacing Koji as THE closer Andy.

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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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