Talking baseball...

I guess the frustration that's boiling over here hasn't reached Sarasota, because I'm told the lines are incredibly long to purchase tickets at Ed Smith Stadium. The locals say it's similar to the turnout after the Reds traded for Ken Griffey Jr.

I wonder how it compares to the lines at the executive airport in Fort Lauderdale.

I'm not sure why the Orioles would skip Ben Sheets' throwing session on Tuesday. Even if they're convinced that he won't sign here, I think it's still worth a trip to Louisiana to check him out. How much time and money would really be wasted? And it gives fans one less reason to question their judgment.

Speaking of which...

There's a lot of hand-wringing over the Orioles' failure to trade for Kevin Kouzmanoff. He would be an upgrade at third base, mainly because the position is wide open at the moment, but the guy hit .255 last season and he's not going to win a Gold Glove. We can stop treating him like Mike Schmidt. Or Mike Pagliarulo.

The Orioles discussed Kouzmanoff during the winter meetings, but I sense that their interest was exaggerated. Maybe that's because the Padres were asking for too much. I have no idea. I'm sure the expected arrival of Josh Bell later this summer, or Opening Day 2011 at the latest, is a factor in any third base decisions.

I'm not a huge Joe Crede fan, but his one big plus is he wouldn't cost any players.

If Bell is a bust, I'll feel a lot worse.

I'm making the assumption that guys like Kouzmanoff and Adam LaRoche are so appealing because nothing is happening here beyond the phone calls to and from the warehouse, and the free-agent market for corner infielders is uninspiring, to say the least. The Orioles need to do something (please), and those guys look better than the alternatives.

I would have taken Kouzmanoff, but I'd like to know what the Padres wanted in return.

Nolan Reimold says he hasn't been approached by the Orioles about switching to first base.

"Directly to me, I haven't heard anything about that," he said. "I don't even have a first baseman's glove. If they want me to do that, they better tell me so I can go get a glove.

"I have played first before in high school and stuff, so maybe I could get back into it. I'd be happy to do whatever they wanted me to do, but as far as I know, I'm looking forward to playing left field."

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