For Orioles, more rumors swirl in trade winds (Ripken family statement)

The Pirates are buyers, proving again that it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

It is not 1971 or 1979. I took the time to check.

In case you missed it, the Pirates acquired pitcher Wandy Rodriguez from the Astros last night for minor leaguers Rudy Owens, Robbie Grossman and Colton Cain. The Astros will be sending a nice hunk of cash, too.

The Orioles spoke to the Astros about Rodriguez, as I wrote here, but they weren't overly enthusiastic. I've heard that his salary was a big turnoff - he's owed $13 million next year, and his $13 million option for 2014 now becomes a player option because he was traded - and the reports on his velocity weren't favorable.

They knew that somebody would bite. It wasn't going to be them.

As for the Hanley Ramirez rumors, I wrote yesterday that I didn't expect a trade to happen and I'll take the same stance this morning. One person in the organization dismissed the idea rapidly when I floated Ramirez's name. Basically, I was told to take it off my list.

Let's just say that some people at Camden Yards aren't big fans of Ramirez. And if this team is looking to upgrade its defense at third base, he isn't going to be the first choice.

Instant update: The Marlins reportedly traded Ramirez and left-hander Randy Choate to the Dodgers for rookie pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and minor league pitcher Scott McGough. Ramirez definitely isn't coming to Baltimore. All that fuss for nothing.

Hardy Fielding Black wide.jpgThere's no way that the Orioles would hand the shortstop job to Ramirez and move J.J. Hardy to third base. The Orioles covet Hardy's defense at short. He's never played third and they have no intention of experimenting.

The vibe I'm getting is that the Orioles aren't going to make the kind of deal that blows back your hair. Of course, something could change with one phone call, as former executive Andy MacPhail used to remind us, but teams want Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, and the Orioles' top two prospects aren't on the table.

I don't see Zack Greinke being in play for them, and I no longer think the rotation is their biggest concern. Yes, executive vice president Dan Duquette would like to add a starter, but he's got to do something about the offense, which has scored four runs or fewer in seven of the last eight games.

Tampa Bay pitching notched 10 strikeouts last night. Chris Davis has fanned 14 times in his last 27 at-bats.

The breeze coming from those swings will blow back your hair.

Matt Wieters went 4-for-26 on the road trip and 0-for-4 with two strikeouts last night, lowering his average to .243. Davis is batting 256, Wilson Betemit .255, Hardy .218, Mark Reynolds 206.

So how many of you are convinced that Duquette needs to bring in a hitter instead of a starter? And yes, you can only choose one.

If you're still in the starter's camp, perhaps you believe that the Orioles have in-house hitting solutions at Triple-A.

NOTE: The Ripken family has released a statement regarding the abduction and safe return of Vi Ripken, mother of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken and former Orioles infielder Billy Ripken.

"This has been a very trying time for our family, but we are grateful and relieved that mom is back with us, safe and healthy. We want to thank everyone for their tremendous support, especially all of the law enforcement agencies that worked so hard and quickly."

Vi Ripken, 74, was abducted at gunpoint from her Harford County home between 7 a.m.-8 a.m. Tuesday, according to the Aberdeen Police Department, and was found unharmed early this morning in her vehicle near her home. She's resting comfortably with her family.

A happy ending to a terrifying story.

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