Orioles: Let the free agent fun begin
The free agent market opens at midnight tonight and it should be an interesting time to be an Orioles fan. Andy MacPhail is expected to make a run at a middle-of-the-order hitter and a starting pitcher, but he is not likely to be the first guy in line to make an offer on Adrian Beltre or Cliff Lee or whoever.
I'm already on record saying the Orioles should be aggressive enough to turn up the heat for their division competitors. They may not be able to outbid the Yankees for Lee, but they no longer can afford to just concede the point and stay out of play. If nothing else, they ought to make it hard for their divisional competitors at every turn, which might make it easier to sign a top-flight player a year from now.
Whether you want to believe it or not, everybody has a budget, so making the Yankees spend more on Lee or Derek Jeter actually could impact their ability to run up the price on somebody else down the road.
Shameless plug: If you want to voice your opinion on the Orioles' and their possible offseason machinations, tune in to WBAL (1090AM) or WBAL.com at noon for Sportsline. We'll talk baseball, preview tomorrow's game between the Ravens and Miami Dolphins and break down the news of the day.