Day One in Dallas

DALLAS - That’s technically correct. Yesterday wasn’t supposed to count. The Winter Meetings officially begin today.

So why am I so tired already?

Maybe it’s from having to change rooms when I returned to my hotel around midnight. The temperature inside had reached 100 degrees, according to a maintenance guy who used some sort of infra-red light, pointed toward the ceiling vent, to determine that I could roast a chicken in my bed.

Talk about a Rotisserie league ...

(Sorry, that’s the only joke I could come up with on short notice.)

Today’s agenda at the cozier Anatole includes a media scrum with Orioles manager Buck Showalter at 2 p.m. Everyone here is invited to attend. It extends beyond the local media.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette will invite the locals up to his suite around 5 p.m. There isn’t a firm time each day and it partially depends on whether he has meetings scheduled with agents or other execs.

Duquette already met with a couple of teams yesterday on pre-Day One.

Duquette warned fans yesterday not to become frustrated if he doesn’t make any moves before Thursday, though he’s expected to swing at least one trade here. Business doesn’t close for the winter after the Orioles leave Dallas. He could complete a deal later in the week or before the holiday.

“I don’t know how quickly this market is going to develop,” he said. “I have a feeling that some of these signings are going to go on beyond the Winter Meetings, but we’re looking forward to the hunt of the week. I don’t want people to be disappointed if we don’t come home, because there are going to be other opportunities at the end of the week, after the week is over. But we have our shopping list and we’re looking to add depth to our pitching staff and upgrade our team, and if we can add a bat to our team ... We’re also mindful of upgrading our defense.

“I think we’re going to be able to do some things to help our club. I do.”

The Japanese media was speculating yesterday that the Orioles could make a run at Hideki Matsui, offering him a one-year deal and installing him the full-time designated hitter. That brings the names of speculated DHs yesterday to four, including David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Depends which member of the national media is tweeting.

I’m trying to get a read on whether the Orioles would sign another one-dimensional veteran for that slot. Just when I’m convinced that they won’t do it, manager Buck Showalter creates wiggle room by saying that it depends on the player.

To me, it makes more sense to keep it flexible and use Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott - assuming he’s offered a contract - if Showalter and Duquette aren’t comfortable with their defense in left field. Chris Davis could slide into that role, as well. And Mark Reynolds if his glove betrays him again.

I’m saying “no” to Ramirez, but that’s just Roch being Roch.

For me, the most encouraging development yesterday was the realization that Duquette is going to run through the international market like a kid on Pixy Stix. Fred Ferreira’s hiring signaled an abrupt change in organizational philosophy, and he’s already adding 10 scouts in six countries and talking about a Venezuelan academy.


One final note before I head to the lobby: A rival executive claims that the Orioles gave up one of their top three young arms in the farm system when they traded Randy Henry and a player to be named later to the Rangers for backup catcher Taylor Teagarden. A former executive noted that the league is filled with guys like Teagarden, and there was no reason for the Orioles to part with Henry.

We shall see.

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