O's: International intrigue
I'm sure a lot of people would like to see the Orioles boldly go where they haven't gone before and pony up the big money it will take to sign Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman, but I wouldn't hold your breath.
There are several indicators that point in the opposite direction, which likely means that the club's meeting this week with Chapman and his agent is more public relations than aggressive international player development.
Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying the Orioles weren't really interested in talking to the guy, but when you consider what it could cost to sign him -- some say $40 million or more -- it's hard to imagine the Orioles really being in the ballpark with some of the other teams that have shown interest.
The club wants to have a solid international presence, but came up about $1 million short on promising Dominican infielder Miguel Angel Sano when the competition for his services was relatively light and he signed for only $3.15 million. If they would balk at Sano at that price, what makes anybody think they'll be a real player at $40 million for Chapman?
The Orioles did pony up $10 million for Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara last winter, but they aren't exactly bragging about that acquisition anymore...and we're not hearing a lot of chatter about their new emphasis on international player development like we heard at this time last year.
Hopefully, the team is still just as committed to a global approach, because the O's are going to have to keep every avenue open if they are to have any chance of competing with the Yankees and Red Sox on a yearly basis. They probably will never be able to out-spend them, so they're going to have to out-scout them, both here and abroad.