Getting to first base

I hope everyone in the area survived the storms last night and wasn't affected by the tornado warning that made my daughter afraid to take a shower. I explained that she doesn't have any windows in there, but she said something about lightning and the pipes.

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I sent her up there anyway. And I'm happy to report that my instincts were correct.

That's a switch.

I had nightmares that somebody named Jeanmar Gomez shut down the Orioles and ruined their chance to sweep the Indians. Silly, I know.

The Orioles will have their ace on the mound tonight at Tropicana Field. Jeremy Guthrie has won three of his last four starts and lowered his ERA to 4.04. He's allowed only seven earned runs, walked three and struck out 21 in his five second-half starts covering 35 2/3 innings.

Guthrie must tread lightly around B.J. Upton, who's hitting .346 (9-for-26) with two doubles, a homer and nine RBIs. And Carl Crawford, who's batting .343 (12-for-35) with four doubles.

At least he won't have to deal with Carlos Pena, who's batting .391 (9-for-23) against him, with two doubles, a homer and four RBIs. Pena's on the disabled list with a sprained foot.

Pena is a free agent after this season. The Orioles could be looking for a first baseman again, since Brandon Snyder still hasn't made it up here.

Here's the list of free agents, compiled by mlbtraderumors:

Garrett Atkins (31)
Lance Berkman (35) - $15MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Wilson Betemit (29)
Hank Blalock (30)
Russell Branyan (35) - $5MM mutual option
Jorge Cantu (29)
Frank Catalanotto (37)
Adam Dunn (31)
Troy Glaus (34)
Wes Helms (35)
Eric Hinske (33)
Aubrey Huff (34)
Mike Jacobs (30)
Nick Johnson (32) - $5.5MM mutual option with a $250K buyout
Paul Konerko (35)
Adam LaRoche (31) - $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout
Derrek Lee (35)
Doug Mientkiewicz (37)
Kevin Millar (39)
Lyle Overbay (34)
Carlos Pena (33)
Albert Pujols (31) - $16MM club option with a $5MM buyout
Fernando Tatis (36)
Chad Tracy (31)
Ty Wigginton (33)

Pena and Adam Dunn are the names that jump out at you. Pena is the superior defensive player.

Sign them both and make Dunn the DH. It's not my money.

Dunn could re-sign with the Nats. He seems happy over there and they held onto him during the non-waiver trade deadline.

The Orioles made a run at LaRoche over the winter, but he accepted a similar offer from the Diamondbacks. He's batting .271 with 25 doubles, 19 homers, 74 RBIs and an .828 OPS in 109 games. Should they try again?

Blalock drew mild interest from the Orioles over the winter. He appeared in 26 games with Tampa Bay. Has anybody seen him?

It's interesting to go back and check the names that dominated this blog over the winter. Joe Crede hasn't played a single game. Same with Carlos Delgado, who recently signed with the Red Sox. And Erik Bedard hasn't logged a single inning.

Such a waste of our obsessions.

Third baseman Pedro Feliz is batting .222 with four homers, 29 RBIs and a .554 OPS with Houston. The Mets gave outfielder Jason Bay $66 million over four years, with a fifth-year vesting option that could push the value of the deal over $80 million. He's batting .259 with six homers and 47 RBIs in 95 games and has been on the DL since July 26 with a concussion.

So far, buyer's remorse. But hey, it's only the first year.

Anyway, what should the Orioles do about first base? And before you craft another trade proposal for Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder, you need to keep it real. Those teams will want the best young pitchers in the system, and the Orioles would have to get a long-term commitment.

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