One rumor dies, another is born (McLouth passes physical)

The news that Josh Hamilton has agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels officially ends any and all rumors that the Orioles are a potential match for him.

They weren’t in play for him. Didn’t matter whether they were searching for a left fielder. It wasn’t going to happen, but that didn’t stop the madness. Hamilton was this winter’s Prince Fielder.

The Orioles still could be tied into this transaction, however. They won’t get Hamilton, but it’s possible that the Angels make Mark Trumbo or Kendrys Morales available.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette continues his search for a first baseman/designated hitter, so yes, there’s a potential match. But early reports suggest that the Angels are keeping Trumbo.

Also, the Orioles can’t just take him away and pick out a uniform number. They would need to offer a package that entices the Angels.

It seems more likely that the Angels shop speedy outfielder Peter Bourjos, but he’s not a fit for the Orioles, who will announce Nate McLouth’s signing later this afternoon.

In the meantime, I’ve already been asked about Trumbo on the blog and on Twitter. He’s replaced Hamilton as the latest match.

At least this one makes more sense, though I still don’t think the Angels are going to trade him.

The Rangers, stinging from Hamilton’s rejection, could immediately turn their attention to free-agent first baseman Adam LaRoche. If they sign him, the Nationals will keep Michael Morse. The Orioles have expressed some interest in Morse, and it figured to increase later.

Should we dust off the Nick Swisher rumor? He does play first base and the Orioles met with his representatives in Nashville.

Nah. A team will overpay for him. He’s got to be smiling from ear to ear right now.

Note: McLouth passed his physical and signed a one-year, $2 million contract that includes a possible $500,000 in bonuses based on plate appearances.

McLouth will take part in a conference call with reporters later this afternoon, and I’ll pass along his quotes.

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