And so it ends (almost)...

It feels like I just got here.

The 2009 Winter Meetings are drawing to a close. That 5 p.m. Southwest flight back to Baltimore will be packed. Unfortunately, I’m not on it.

Roch and’s Jerry Crasnick recap the 2009 Winter Meetings

Maybe it’s just paranoia, or bad planning, but I’m staying here in case something breaks late. It’s not expected, but I’m always reminded of the meetings a few years ago when shortstop Miguel Tejada, interviewed in the Dominican, “suggested” that a trade from the Orioles might be a good idea. The story moved on the AP wire long after baseball executives and reporters had checked out of their hotels.

Andy MacPhail, president of baseball operations, didn’t expect to conduct any serious business before heading out.

“Nothing that I’m aware of now that’s going to dramatically change things,” he said.

“We’re very pleased. We got what was probably our first priority done. We’ve got more work to do, but we’re very pleased.”

MacPhail still believes he can land a closer despite all the recent activity, including the trade of Rafael Soriano to the Tampa Bay Rays and Brandon Lyon signing a three-year, $15 million deal with the Houston Astros, who already traded for Florida Marlins closer Matt Lindstrom.

“We’re still hopeful we can address it,” MacPhail said. “There’s a finite market of teams that need that and there’s a finite number of closers. We think we’re OK.”

MacPhail anticipates a lot of activity in baseball between now and Christmas. And keep in mind that Saturday is the deadline for teams to non-tender players who are eligible for arbitration.

With Chris Ray gone, the Orioles’ list is down to Jeremy Guthrie, Luke Scott, Matt Albers and Cla Meredith.

If you’re keeping score at home, the Orioles’ 40-man roster remains at 39 after today’s Rule 5 activity.

An interesting side note to the Giants selecting Steve Johnson earlier today: Former Orioles pitcher Ross Grimsley is a minor league pitching coach in their organization and filed a favorable report on Johnson two years ago. And former Orioles scout John Barr drafted Johnson while serving as the Dodgers’ East Coast supervisor before joining the Giants’ front office as a special assistant to the general manager.

If you’re looking for a lefty, the Royals have released pitcher John Bale.

They should have tried harder to convince the Phillies to swap Jayson Werth for him.

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