MacPhail on first base: “The area where we have the most options”

In the last 24 hours or so, two first basemen have come off the free agent board as Paul Konerko re-signed with the Chicago White Sox and Carlos Pena joined the Cubs on a one-year deal.

The Orioles got neither and despite reports where Pena himself said the Orioles made him an offer, O’s president Andy MacPhail said the club never offered a contract to either player.

Is MacPhail surprised that Pena said the O’s made him an offer?

“I think it happened with (Matt) Holliday last year, if you recall,” MacPhail said.

“We were just convinced that Paul (Konerko) was just going back to Chicago. There are a variety of reasons, his relationship with the owner, his home in Arizona. We just really didn’t get serious there because we didn’t think, in the end, that would be feasible.”

Steve Melewski talks with Andy MacPhail about the O’s remaining options at first base

So why not offer Pena? He accepted a one-year deal and the O’s need a first baseman.

“Like a lot of conversations this time, you meet with the agent, you give them sort of idea where you are and what your need level is.They give you an indication of what kind of offers it will take to sign their client,” MacPhail explained.

“I think that was one of those things that probably went off the board maybe quicker then they were expecting. Which is OK for us, because as we lined up where the supply and demand was and where other viable options are, that probably was the area where we have the most options available to us.”

MacPhail said it’s been busy day of trying to acquire a shortstop, but no deal or trade is complete.

“We’ve been looking at a lot of different options there, free agency, trades and had a lot of conversations on that,” he said.

Tomorrow morning the Orioles have the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft. What is MacPhail’s take on the possibility of adding a player and also the chances the O’s could lose one or more players in that draft?

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t lose somebody; we lost somebody last year. Every year, you might have 30 kids taken out of this draft, but only two will stick,” he said.

“There are prospects there and, as a consequence, we are interested. Provided who is there when we draft at four, we may be active in it. The real trick is sticking with the big league club. For kids that young or of that experience level, that really is the tale of the tape. Is this player advanced enough where he can compete at the big league level for the entire six-month season?”

There are some baseball people that feel there is a decent chance that the Orioles take someone with the fourth pick and then trade that player.

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