Waiting for new developments in a new year

The holidays are officially behind us. It's a new year. It's time for the Orioles to do something.

The last press release issued by the club confirmed that Steve Pearce had been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk on Dec. 21. The buzz has since faded. My sarcasm, however, keeps going strong.

I'll repeat that it's not a lack of effort that's preventing the Orioles from adding to their roster. They want to re-sign left-hander Joe Saunders and have engaged in talks with his agent. They have explored a trade with the Tigers for pitcher Rick Porcello. It wouldn't surprise me if they've checked on first baseman Justin Smoak's availability, though the Mariners could option him rather than deal him.

The Orioles were intrigued by Smoak leading up to the 2008 First-Year Player Draft before choosing left-hander Brian Matusz with the fourth overall pick. They discussed ways to acquire him from the Rangers. They remain intrigued, though he doesn't fit the mold of the proven 30-home run guy they seek for the middle of their lineup. We're still talking more about potential than productivity at this stage of his career.

They checked on Billy Butler's availability, but the Royals don't want to trade him. They considered bringing back reliever Koji Uehara, but didn't like the price tag attached to a one-inning reliever. They always have interest in first baseman Adam LaRoche, but he never has interest in them.

LaRoche might jump if the Orioles offered him three years, but nobody is doing it. They would rather not lose their first-round pick, but that's not the sole reason why they haven't made a harder push to sign him.

The national media keeps pointing out how free agent pitcher Kyle Lohse makes sense for the Orioles, and I keep pointing out the money and first-round pick issues.

The Orioles aren't standing pat, but they also view potential full seasons from the likes of Nate McLouth, Nolan Reimold, Manny Machado and Miguel Gonzalez, and the eventual debut of Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, as significant additions to the 2013 club.

I know that many fans don't want to hear it, but that's the case.

If nothing else, the Orioles will announce their minor league staffs this month, and manager Buck Showalter's contract extension. At some point, we'll learn of a trade and/or a signing.

I still have no idea how the Orioles would fit another one-inning reliever in their bullpen unless they make a trade or put Matusz in the rotation. Six spots are set. The seventh should go to a long man, which might be Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland if they're really determined to keep him. Tommy Hunter is out of options, making him a strong candidate.

Shameless plug alert: I'm appearing on "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report" from 5-6 p.m. on MASN. It's an hour-long show today.

Perhaps the Orioles will make news while I'm on the air. It's almost as common as press releases being issued while I'm driving.

I'm doing what I can here, folks.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Rocket Fuel