As the Orioles search for another left-handed reliever, they haven't given up on the possibility of bringing back Will Ohman. They've had talks with his agent, Danny Horwits, and Ohman said a return is "always a possibility."
"I'm not going to close the door, either," he said earlier today via cell phone. "I enjoyed my time there."
His time with the Orioles ended with the July 31 trade to the Marlins that brought pitcher Rick VandenHurk into the organization.
"It's a situation where Andy (MacPhail) made a move to better the club for years to come by using me as a trade chip," said Ohman, who posted a 3.30 ERA in 51 appearances with the Orioles and a 3.00 ERA in 17 games with the Marlins. "You get a possible starter who you can have in the rotation for five or six years. If that works out, then hey, good for you guys. They said, 'Hey, good luck moving up the standings, and maybe we'll talk in the off-season.'"
Ohman doesn't want minute-by-minute updates from Horwits. He's sure there has been a lot of contact from different clubs because he's a left-hander with a track record and so many teams are in the market for relievers.
"The nice thing as a player is having that degree of separation where, when it becomes really intense, I come into the know," he said.
Naturally, Ohman would like to pitch for a contender, but the Orioles still interest him despite those 13 straight losing seasons.
"I think they've made a lot of improvements and I think they're a viable team that can do what we thought we could do last year because of the seasoning that some of those young guys got. And they've added some good pieces," he said.
"I kept in contact with some guys and was thoroughly impressed."
This is when Ohman flashes that trademark sense of humor.
"I knew as soon as they got rid of me, everything would turn around," he said. "I was the guy bringing everybody down."
"I kind of saw it coming," he said. "You were dealing with a second regime change and I think it put a concentrated effort on the end result, maybe more than it had been before. I think Buck (Showalter) is the perfect guy for that situation. He has a great track record for rebuilding clubs and taking them where they need to be."
Ohman is totally on board with the Mark Reynolds trade.
"He's an excellent defensive third baseman, and if you can go deep 30 to 35 times and hit 200, that's better than hitting .270 with 15 in the middle of the lineup. And we had some struggles last year where the power production wasn't there in the heart of the lineup at times when we needed it most."
Meanwhile, the Tigers have reportedly reached agreement with Magglio Ordonez on a one-year deal worth $10 million, and the A's are set to acquire Josh Willingham from the Nationals.
I mention both of these transactions because, first of all, the Orioles never were in on Ordonez despite a report during the winter meetings. They're linked to him every year at this time and it's never true. He could be retired for five years and the Orioles would supposedly be in the running for him.
Also, the Nationals figure to increase efforts to sign free-agent Adam LaRoche after dealing away Willingham, but Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse tweets that the Orioles are closing in on a deal. We'll see. I remember reading at the meetings that LaRoche was heading to the Nationals.
Update: A team official says the Orioles aren't closing in on a deal with LaRoche. "Nothing close," I'm told.