Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail says he has more than one offer on the table for free agents. He won’t go into specifics, but Adrian Beltre isn’t one of them.
MacPhail has spoken to Beltre’s agent, Scott Boras, but it’s apparent that the third baseman still has no interest in coming to Baltimore. Boras said earlier today that Beltre won’t dismiss teams based on geographical preference, but he didn’t champion the Orioles as a serious contender for his client.
It required a little reading between the lines, but it was obvious.
MacPhail said today’s developments concerning Adrian Gonzalez don’t impact the Orioles - and that means Gonzalez and Beltre, who looks a lot more desirable to the Red Sox today.
It’s an sad fact of life that the Orioles still aren’t deep enough to absorb the loss of the players required to secure Gonzalez. They also don’t think they could sign him to an extension.
The Orioles talked about Gonzalez last winter, but not much this year.
Also, the Orioles never made an offer to Jayson Werth, who agreed to a seven-year, $126 million deal with the Nationals. They weren’t going to match that offer or come close to it.
Asked if he’s feeling pressure because of his failure to land Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn, and with the opportunities to add an impact hitter drying up, MacPhail replied: “They have to pass the litmus test of something that makes sense. Those out years, they do arrive. You have other clubs who are dealing with those issues right now, where they handcuff themselves down in the future and really don’t allow themselves much movement.
“I think it’s always important to give yourself the opportunity to respond to events and make signings contemporary with players ages and performances, as opposed to locking yourself in with guys who are going to finish their contracts late in their 30s. Some clubs have the economic wherewithal to absorb that, but I don’t think there are very many of them.”
Do the Orioles have to be more aggressive after missing out on Martinez and Dunn?
“Not getting those two guys through free agency means we have to look harder at the other options, whether they be trades or whatever. We were prepared obviously in those events anyway. It’s not really rocket science. We all know the names that were speculated about that could be available and we have to factor the different ways we can go about solving our issues.”
The Orioles most certainly are looking harder at trades, but they’re still hesitant to surrender their young starters.
“I’ve made no secret of the fact that, to me, it’s all about starting pitching. You’ve just got to grow it,” MacPhail said. “I think the reason, once Buck (Showalter) got here, that our team performed as good as it did over the last two months was our starting pitching. That’s something we have to be very protective about, holding onto our young pitching unless we really get something that we think is just an offer we can’t refuse.”
MacPhail wouldn’t rule out an outfield bat if he can’t find a big run producer at the corner infield spots, but the preference remains first or third.
MacPhail remains hopeful that the Orioles will re-sign closer Koji Uehara. Uehara’s agent told Japanese reporters that six teams have contacted him.
MacPhail wants to augment the bullpen before leaving here.