No matter how many times I've been warned, I can't resist touching the hot stove.
We learned yesterday through various reports from the GM meetings that the Orioles are interested in Josh Hamilton and Cody Ross as possibilities in left field.
One is more realistic than the other. Care to guess?
It would be a tremendous reversal in front office thinking if the Orioles were serious about making a run at Hamilton. Executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated the day after Game 5 of the American League Division Series that the payroll wouldn't undergo drastic changes in 2013.
"Our team was very competitive this year and we should be able to continue to field a highly competitive team within the revenues of our market," Duquette said.
Asked whether he's more inclined to pursue a big-ticket free agent, Duquette replied, "The success of the club gives our fans hope that we can have a good team, year in and year out. The idea of having a foundation and then adding to the foundation as the season progresses, like we did this year with Saunders. ... You take a look at the work Saunders did, he pitched good for the team down the stretch, he helped us win both elimination games, he was a veteran pitcher we added who did exactly what we wanted him to do. He helped stabilize the pitching staff, and his experience in the playoffs showed the way for some of our younger pitchers. I think that's more likely the type of acquisition we would make, but I'm going to tell you right now, we have the foundation to have a good team here. We have the guys on this team to be competitive and be a top-flight team."
It's always possible that owner Peter Angelos gives Duquette the green light to throw big bucks at Hamilton, which he wasn't interested in doing last winter for Prince Fielder - despite reports that the Orioles were "all in" - but it's more likely that Hamilton will need to lower his expectations on a new contract.
Of course, the Orioles would like to plug Hamilton into left field and the middle of their lineup. That falls into the category of 'No you-know-what,' as manager Buck Showalter likes to say. But Ross would come much cheaper.
More Captain Obvious here.
ESPN's Buster Olney has reported that Ross is seeking a three-year deal worth $25 million.
Ross, 31, made $3 million this year with the Red Sox after earning $6.3 million with the Giants in 2011. He batted .267/.326/.481 with 34 doubles, 22 home runs and 81 RBIs in 130 games. He also moved more freely than Hamilton without all that baggage.
Ross has played for six teams in nine seasons. He qualifies as a journeyman. He also plays all three outfield positions - 387 games in center, 346 in right, 194 in left - and is a career .284/.353/.575 hitter against left-handed pitching.
MLBTradeRumors.com rated Ross as the 22nd-best free agent on the market and projected that he would re-sign with the Red Sox. Here's the blurb:
22. Cody Ross - Red Sox. Ross provided good value for the Red Sox in 2012 at $3MM, down from his $6.3MM salary in the previous year. He'll be seeking multiple years for at least his 2011 salary. The Sox have interest in a new deal, but I don't expect them to go overboard for Ross.
Ross bats from the right side of the plate. So does Nolan Reimold, who was handed the left field job coming out of spring training and didn't play after April because of a herniated disc in his neck. The Orioles haven't given up on him, but they can't count on him, either.