More MacPhail

The Orioles retain interest in Texas Rangers pitcher Kevin Millwood as they seek a No. 1 starter to anchor a young staff. But it seems pretty clear that they're not close to finalizing a deal unless something changes overnight.

We didn't dig up much news from Andy MacPhail's media session beyond the confirmed meetings with agents that I wrote about in my previous entry. If a blog had presses, we wouldn't be stopping them.

"No late-breaking developments," he said.

"What about any developments?" one reporter joked.

"We're a little shy of developments," he replied.

"Do you consider it a productive day so far?"

"Yeah, we had a pretty full schedule. Between clubs and player representatives, we were fairly busy. But nothing to report."

"Did you make progress down some lines you started down before?"

"You don't know for certain because the other parties keep their cards pretty close to the vest. We had some secondary conversations on some levels, which is always advancing the ball."

"What did you learn from last night's arbitration deadline?"

"I think the interesting one was (Rafael) Soriano. That was probably the one that I think could potential have another impact. How it's going to play out has yet to be determined."

"Would you consider dealing for him?"

"There's certain things we'd like to do. We've made no secret about first and third and to add whatever pitching we can get. I don't know that it's going to materially change everything, or really how much of a material change it's going to have."

As long as we're talking about closers, and I think that's what we were doing in the above quote, the Orioles didn't send anyone to watch J.J. Putz's throwing session.

"There are enough closers out there that we have other guys who are sort of on our target list," MacPhail said.

"There are debates about how much you should devote to that position unless you really have a lead pipe-cinch guy at the end. Or can you do what we did essentially with George Sherrill, where you take a guy who did not have closing experience, but had the right makeup for it, and all of a sudden he's closing at an 85-percent rate, which is kind of the dividing line as to who's proficient at that job and who isn't. That's what separates the guys who are solid closers from the others. And if you look at the history of closers, they come from a zillion places. And some clubs take the position that you're overpaying for that guy who got put in that role.

"It's not an absolute mandatory thing that we come out of here or come out of the next month or so with a closer per se. We'll look at the market. We value it. I think it's very important. But let's recognize where they come from, how they evolve."

The Orioles haven't made any offers to free agents.

"We've talked in generalities," MacPhail said. "No finite offers at this point."

MacPhail noted that some representatives aren't ready to field offers.

MacPhail doesn't believe he's a phone call away from acquiring a player through a trade.

"I don't think we're at that stage," he said. "We've had multiple conversations, and generally that starts marching you toward what can be a conclusion, or you find out that road is a dead end. One or the other. But I don't think we're quite at that stage. We don't have anything that I could necessarily identify as a phone call away."

Asked if he's more likely to think he'll make a trade before he leaves than he was two days ago, MacPhail replied, "About where I thought I'd be."

"I'd like to do something. We all would here," he added. "As I've said before, you just don't want to do anything stupid that you're thinking in May, 'What in the God's green earth was I thinking about?'"


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