NASHVILLE, Tenn. - This is the third and last full day of the Winter Meetings. I don’t count Thursday because executives, scouts, agents and media roll out after the Rule 5 draft, which is held in the morning. I stick around until late afternoon before racing to the airport and trying to remember where I parked my car.
Though the direction of negotiations can shift in a hurry, I’m still not expecting the Orioles to make a trade before returning home.
They really seemed to be focused yesterday on the outfield market, beginning with Nate McLouth and expanding to various fallback options. Executive vice president Dan Duquette wouldn’t categorize McLouth as Plan A, but I think it’s pretty obvious that he’s the club’s first choice.
I’ve written that the Orioles are interested in the Nationals’ Michael Morse, though still not intensely. He would be a logical trade target because of his power and his ability to play first base and left field. Well, the same could be said of Nick Swisher, whose representatives sat down with Duquette yesterday.
ESPN.com first reported that Swisher’s agents met with Duquette. I’ve heard that it was the only meeting at this point. Take it for what it’s worth.
It makes sense for the Orioles to check on Swisher because of the positions he plays and the need for power. He also has a .361 on-base percentage in parts of nine major league seasons. That brings special appeal to Duquette.
So what’s the counter argument to signing Swisher?
I mean, besides his initial desire to reel in Jayson Werth money.
Swisher, 32, still seems too expensive for the Orioles, who weren’t willing to risk the cost of going to arbitration with Mark Reynolds. Swisher made $10.25 million this year, and he’s keenly aware that the Red Sox are paying Shane Victorino $39 million over three years and the Giants are paying Angel Pagan $40 million over four years.
There’s also the question of how Swisher’s personality would fit in the Orioles’ clubhouse. Manager Buck Showalter doesn’t want to wreck the team’s chemistry. New York embraced him until the playoffs this year. How would his act play in Baltimore?
Swisher is one of those guys who’s described as being hated unless he’s on your team. Then, you love him.
I ran that theory past one New York writer, who replied, “No, they’d hate him, too.” Funny.
Let’s see whether there’s additional meetings between Duquette and Swisher’s reps, and whether the Orioles are doing more than just kicking the tires on a guy who drives their fans crazy.