What lies ahead...

I've read enough lies this week to last me a while.

This one is true: Carlos Pena is off the board after agreeing to a one-year, $10 million contract with the Cubs.

There was lots of talk here about agent Scott Boras' ridiculous asking price for Pena. One veteran scribe that I spoke with yesterday predicted that Pena would settle for a one-year deal. Boras got his $10 million annually, but on short term.

Put 100 executives, scouts and writers in a room - and we've done that here - and half will tell you the Orioles have increased interest in Adam LaRoche,and the other half will say Derrek Lee.

Choose your favorite.

The options are drying up.

FOX Sports reported that the Orioles are one of the teams that inquired about Padres outfielder Ryan Ludwick, though I wonder if that interest intensified when it appeared that Nolan Reimold was headed to Tampa Bay.

I predicted before arriving in Orlando that the Orioles would make a trade (with Mark Reynolds being the favorite), sign a player (Kevin Gregg looked like a good bet) and re-sign another one (Koji Uehara). Reynolds is on board and the Orioles made significant progress with Uehara yesterday. The Sun reported that they have a two-year offer on the table for Gregg, who would be a tremendous addition as a set-up man/closer.

The feeling here is that the Orioles will have at least one announcement to make before the day's done.

The bullpen really needs to be addressed. I know that's old news - and I'm going back years and years - but losing David Hernandez punched another hole in it. I wasn't counting on Kam Mickolio, but he would have been in the spring training mix. Uehara and Mark Hendrickson are free agents, Matt Albers was non-tendered, Jason Berken is rehabbing a labrum tear, Michael Gonzalez had his shoulder issue and Jim Johnson was limited to 26 games.

Manager Buck Showalter is a strong believer in fortifying the bullpen to protect his young starters.

I'll talk more about the Rule 5 draft as it approaches tomorrow morning, but there's a strong feeling that the Orioles will make a selection. I'm guessing reliever.

It's also believed that they're most likely to lose Double-A reliever Wynn Pelzer, acquired in the Miguel Tejada trade with the Padres.

One agent was surprised that reliever Brandon Cooney was left unprotected. Cooney, a 30th-round pick in the 2007 draft out of Florida Atlantic, went 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA in 35 appearances at Bowie, and 2-0 with a 0.55 ERA in 14 games at Single-A Frederick.

Ryan Adams swung an impressive bat at Bowie this year, but he's viewed as a player without a position. It would be hard for a club to stash him on the major league roster all season.

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