Let’s make a deal

I’m hitting the road this morning after a nice two-day stop in Ocean Pines. The laptop didn’t stay off for as long as I intended, but I definitely reduced the amount of hours spent in front of it. I consider it progress.

Maybe the Orioles will swing a trade while I’m driving home. They tend to make news at inconvenient times for me, and traveling on the Bay Bridge when it happened would be pretty inconvenient. It’s tough to find a spot to pull over.

It seems apparent that executive vice president Dan Duquette wants to finish with a flurry before spring training, just as Sugar Ray Leonard did in his epic battle with Marvelous Marvin Hagler back in 1987. Leonard would glance at his corner, get the signal that 10 seconds remained, and fire off enough punches to steal the round.

And yes, I just compared Duquette to Leonard. Probably never happened until today.

Duquette will make at least one trade. Koji Uehara desperately wants to come back to the Orioles, and the Rangers would gladly move him. They tried once, but he rejected a trade to Toronto. He would crawl on his hands and knees to return to Baltimore, though a plane would be much faster.

The question is what Rangers general manager Jon Daniels wants in return. He’s not going to give away Uehara, especially to a team that already pried Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis from him. The man’s attempting to save face here.

Then again, are there more obvious trade partners than the Orioles and Rangers? They’ll probably figure it out.

Something’s got to change for the Orioles and Cardinals to work out a deal involving pitcher Kyle McClellan. There’s no doubt that the two sides have talked and Duquette is interested in the right-hander, but the Cardinals apparently need to lower their demands.

They really want to shed McClellan’s $2.5 million salary, so you’d think that they’d take a softer stance in negotiations. And that certainly could occur down the road, though the Orioles didn’t seem too optimistic about it happening yesterday. We’ll see.

It would be interesting to find out whether McClellan fit into the Orioles’ rotation or bullpen. Both spots are pretty crowded, but they’d make room for him. They like him in either role, and he’s had success in both of them.

McClellan made 202 appearances covering 217 2/3 innings in his first three seasons with the Cardinals, and his ERA shrank from 4.04 to 3.38 to 2.27. He became a starter last year after Adam Wainwright underwent elbow surgery in February and won six of his first seven decisions.

If the Orioles pick up McClellan and make him a starter, their rotation would be ready to burst at the seams. You could project McClellan, Hunter, Jeremy Guthrie and Wei-Yin Chen as being part of it - though not in that order - and prepare for a spirited battle for the fifth slot. Tsuyoshi Wada, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland and Brad Bergesen would all be in the mix. Manager Buck Showalter still hasn’t decided whether Alfredo Simon is a starter or reliever.

Am I leaving out anyone?

If you said “Edwin Jackson,” you must be assuming that he’d take a two- or three-year deal for less money than other teams are offering. The Orioles aren’t giving him $15 million per year. And he’s not signing with them for one year and re-entering the free-agent market next winter. If he’s prepared to go that route, he’ll choose a team that offers a better chance of winning. Same with Roy Oswalt.

Anyway, the Orioles are loaded with starting and bullpen candidates, and the rotation at Triple-A Norfolk also gets more crowded with every rumor.

The Orioles may be lacking in victories again in 2012, but they’ll have plenty of depth. Duquette rightfully made it a priority. Mitch Atkins wouldn’t stand a chance this year.

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