And asked ... and asked again ...
I was told by an industry source tonight that the Orioles "weren't believed" to have placed a bid on Japanese outfielder Norichika Aoki. That's the closest I've come to a firm confirmation.
The Brewers won the rights to negotiate with Aoki with a $2.5 million bid, according to Yasuko Yanagita of Hochi Shimbun via Twitter. Aoki's team, the Yakult Swallows, accepted the bid.
The Brewers have an exclusive 30-day negotiating window to work out a contract with Aoki, 29, a three-time Central League batting champion and six-time Gold Glove winner with a .329 lifetime batting average in Japan.
Aoki is a left-handed hitting center fielder, which is why so many fans here were curious about the Orioles' interest in him. Executive vice president Dan Duquette is seeking a left-handed hitting outfielder who can play center and left.
Aoki, who turns 30 in January, started in left field in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, though he played center almost exclusively for the Swallows.
It's a moot point now. He's off the board.
Aoki is an odd fit for the Brewers, but they might be planning for life without Ryan Braun for 50 games.