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December 7, 2009

What new Birds can MacPhail pull out of his hat?

Baseball's winter meetings, which are just getting under way in Indianapolis, will never be what they once were.

The days when Bill Veeck and Roland Hemond set up a table in the hotel lobby and put up a handwritten sign that said "Open for Business" are long gone. But this year's offseason convention has a chance to be more of a traditional tradefest than the usual free-agent free-for-all.

Commissioner Bud Selig's announcement last month that some major league teams lost money this year seemed to signal another round of baseball belt-tightening, and there are rumblings that several budget-conscious teams are willing to part with their expensive players.

It is against this recessionary backdrop that the Orioles will begin the next phase of Andy MacPhail's long-term rebuilding program, which now is focused on filling some key holes in the 25-man roster while the youth movement takes another significant step forward.

The Orioles have some specific needs, and they have the wherewithal to fill them by either trade or free-agent acquisition. The accompanying chart identifies some of the players who might be available on the trade market and could be prominent in Orioles trade speculation during the next four days.

Whether the Orioles are truly in play for any of them will depend on just how reluctant MacPhail is to dip into the club's pool of young talent to upgrade the batting order, the starting rotation or the back end of the bullpen.

MacPhail has made it clear he's not interested in dealing any of the Orioles' top prospects, and he has downplayed the likelihood of any major moves this week. But the winter meetings have been known to create unexpected synergies that lead to surprising deals.

Back in 1990, for instance, the Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres started out discussing a lesser deal and quickly completed one of the biggest winter meeting trades in history - the Blue Jays dealing stars Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff for likely Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and eventual World Series hero Joe Carter.

Orioles fans can dream that MacPhail finds a way to pry Miguel Cabrera out of Detroit or Adrian Gonzalez out of San Diego without setting back the Orioles' youth movement. But the O's are far more likely to be spectators if any truly blockbuster deals are completed.

Either way, there figures to be plenty of speculation and intrigue, because - no matter how much MacPhail tries to temper expectations - anything is possible.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 4:40 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Just baseball


No one any long as the "Birds" has its present owner..there going to be a loosing team !

No one any long as the "Birds" has its present owner..there going to be a loosing team !

There are some good names on that list, and they should go for one or two. The O's need to be aggressive. Bringing in a bunch of filler and aging hacks so we can win 75 games next year ISN'T ACCEPTABLE.

The Orioles have the money and also the assets they can trade without mortgaging their future. If MacPhail doesn't do anything this winter it's because his hands are tied.Simple as that.

Pete's reply: If Andy's hands are tied, he tied them himself.

McPhail is telling us fans the same thing I tell my wife. Every year about this time, I start reminding her what a wonderful future we have, and how fortunate we are to be together. It's my subtle way of preparing her for another bathrobe and a pair of slippers for Christmas, and not a Lexus.

I can understand MacFail's reservations about 'mortgaging the future' but, at some point, something other than subpar production is needed from the heart of the batting order.

How is dealing Tillman, Reimold, and a third player (Snyder?) for a slugger like Miguel Cabrera (the AL's answer to Pujols) 'mortgaging the future'?

If the O's supplemented their draft with quality international scouting, overall organizational depth might not be an issue.....

Pete, I normally agree with you. But I can't see the logic in the O's taking big gambles this year. Adrian Gonzales is not worth the 2-3 ML ready prospects the O's would have to part with. And he only hits 10 HRs and .10 better than Adam LaRoche. With Erik Bedard, you pay for potential, not for reliability. My wish list is: Jon Garland and Adam LaRoche. Garland throws a reliable 200 innings (only 2 players have done that for the O's in the last 10 years), and comes at a reasonably price (Baez-type money). And LaRoche had decent power and BA, and probably won't command too much more than what Luke Scott will win in arbitration.
If there was reliable, proven talent on the market, I'd be the first to say the O's should be making offers. But there just aren't any real difference makers available this year.

There are pitchers we could go after. Anyone but Bedard. Remember him? He was a head case that wanted out of Baltimore. The Orioles better do something quick. Season starts in 111 days. We are staring @ 62-100 ,again!

As far as I'm concern just let MacPhail do his job. I wouldn't sacrifice any the young pitching talent. Aubrey deserves a fair look at fist base considering the way he played last September. The O's need a 3rd baseman like Feliz for the short term. As for power. Jones, Reimold, Markakis, and Weiters are all capabale of hitting 25 hr's a year. i would hope they could find a more consistent dh than Scott. A good dh should give you 25 hr's a year. Pitching and defense. May the schmuck be with you.

Taking a flyer on either Sheets, Harden or Bedard is the gamble that when it pays off can vault a team into contention. With other teams struggling economics the birds have a window of opportunity to pick up all the players they need and take some chances all on the cheap. AM has been solid, all should remain patient and it will unfold nicely for all fans.

I like Josh's LaRoche idea. He is a good fielder and has experience hitting cleanup, even if he's not a 40 HR bat. He could DH down the road if Aubrey does hit well, become a nice trade chip, or allow Aubrey to be trade bait. But please Andy...say "No" to Feliz! Don't vote for PEDRO!

"What new Birds can MacPhail pull out of his hat?"

The usual suspects: half-assers in the mold of Wigginton and Ryan Freel, and an assortment of Cubs and Twins cast-offs.

I like both the LaRoche and the Garland ideas. Being in the AZ, I got to see Garland pitch here a few times last year and if the DBacks offense was at least formidable, then he would have had at minimum 10 wins at the trading deadline...but he pitched 7-8 innings, giving up under 3 runs and had to suffer a ND or loss because his hitters couldn't put up more than 2-3 runs in his games.

With that said, I think if Cabrera is truly available and the O's are forced to consider getting rid of a top level pitching prospect, get Edwin Jackson in return. The saving for the Tigers may be too much to say no to and the O's then have a proven #2/3 in Jackson (with potential for more) and one of the 5 best hitters in the game. So what if Big Mig becomes a dumptruck, dude can rake and even fatties can hit in the DH role.

all I keep hearing is how we don't want to give up our great prospects and mortgage the future. This is the future. We stunk 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 years now. I am tired of always them promising more and delivering less. 81-81 even sounds good right now.
Thank God for the Ravens.

If there is a deal for Miguel Cabrera, than by all means; He's locked up long term (thus PART of a rebuilding), is still un-believably young (26?), and a top 5 batter. Albert Jr.

I don't get the Pedro Feliz thing...if it comes down to him, why not bring Mora back. They're like the same player.

Big fan of Bedard, Harden, or Sheets (on small incentive deals).

I don't expect something major though over the course of the this week.

What woud you think of signing Jim Thome to a one year contract? I know that he is 40, but as a DH, he may have at least another good year left.
He has 564 homers and if he would like to shoot for 600, he could possibly do it in Camden Yards. He would look good in the middle of the Oriole lineup despite the fact that his best days are behind him.
If he plans to play another year, he would want to play in the AL. This pursuit of 600 would draw fans and he is known to be a good man in the clubhouse.
Most people are saying we need a right handed hitter in the middle in the lineup, but can the Orioles afford to ignore a good lefty hitter, even if not Thome?

Gonzalez will cost talent, bigtime, so potentially net/net there, unless we could unload Berken and some lower level talent like Arieta and Synder. Very slim chance. Edwin Jackson is VERY intriguing but would also cost bigtime, no? Mill-wood instantly have best ERA on the club by 2 runs! but how durable is he at his age? We need a stud at the top of the rotation, not just a willy Vet, Guthrie, w his stuff already fills that roll. Vasquez is very intriguing considering his stuff and the angle to go after the Yanks for treating him like a dog, yet the Braves are super savy and will want to rob the hen house. Not happening. Atkins couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if he were in tee ball and the barn was the tee! Witness his VERY alarming drop in #'s in the thin air of COL. Next. Miguel "lady dog slapping fat santa drunkard" Cabrera, uh this guy gives new meaning to the word 'Lazy" and most certainly appears next to the word Cancer in Webster's. No Sir, Not here, we don't need that junk in our trunk! Dan, I am a 2nd baseman Uggla sure can rake it, at the plate that is, in the field, uh, not so much. Hot corner material he is not. Maybe by 2011 if he continues to balloon like the Hindenberg, he might consider being a DH, but not now, not with this team's core being young guns who will need a VERY sold defense behind them. Ok, Pete, please tell me there are more?

Mora and Beltre are more like the same player, except Mora had 4 more RBI!

I really like Adam LaRoche. I remember his name being mentioned in a trade possibility a couple of years ago. He's young, good fielder, good bat (suited for Camden Yards). Let's get 'em!

I really like Adam LaRoche. I remember his name being mentioned in a trade possibility a couple of years ago. He's young, good fielder, good bat (suited for Camden Yards). Let's get 'em!

I really like Adam LaRoche. I remember his name being mentioned in a trade possibility a couple of years ago. He's young, good fielder, good bat (suited for Camden Yards). Let's get 'em!

I really like Adam LaRoche. I remember his name being mentioned in a trade possibility a couple of years ago. He's young, good fielder, good bat (suited for Camden Yards). Let's get 'em!

Sorry but LaRoche and Garland aren't going to help the O's win the AL east or even a wildcard. NY is stacked and just imagine Boston getting A Gonzalez and Roy Halladay. If the O's want to compete in this division they are are going to need great players not good players. If they do not go after any big time players than they are telling me they are not ready to compete.

tybraxx hit the nail on the head: If we can't go after the Roy Halladay's and Gonzalez's then we either need to petition the Owner's for realignment to another division or drop the team altogether. And don't tell us a Billionaire doesn't have the $ or that our market has dwindled. When Asbestos Pete spent the money in the late 90's we not only got a winning team assembled, the seats were full each and every night. When he decided to short sell Mussina, it all went south. There are still many O's fans in the DC, Virgina, and Delaware Region. The O's market hasn't shrunk, its the intestinal fortitude that has diminished. Get out there in Indy and fight for us, MAKE SOME MAGIC HAPPEN and we'll show up at your games with regularity and buy your overcooked, overpriced pitbeef sandwich's, maybe even a hat or bat or two and help put franchise will be in the black again, if the Cable advertising hasn't already.

wieters is supposed to be joe mauer with power he will be if not better as good a hitter than cabrera and wed only have him till our prospects such as josh bell get into the majors not a good deal trading the future we will have more than enough power why trade pitching for something we already will have in 2 years maybe this year wieters hit the most rbis in the majors in the last month of the season

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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