Still a Buehrle fan

DALLAS - While the Orioles have yet to make any deals or acquisitions here at baseball's Winter Meetings, they clearly have a lot of irons in the fire. One source familiar with the club's work here last year and this year described them as much more active now.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told us last night that he has talked to more than 10 teams but he didn't give reporters an indication whether any deals are close or getting closer at this point.

Former president Andy MacPhail would always say things can change with just one phone call. Duquette told me in a one-on-one video interview in his room here at the Hilton Anatole that he has floated some of his own players in trade talks and teams have inquired about others.

He confirmed that he has had some talks with some free agent pitchers but expectations seem to be that he is not talking to any of the highest-dollar pitchers.

I wonder why the Orioles wouldn't get in on the discussion for Mark Buehrle. One scout told me he thought that would be a player the Orioles might be able to get and there are reports indicating the offers for Buehrle are now in the three-year, $40 million range.

If fans want to dream big, Buehrle would be a huge addition as a pitcher with talent and durability that will be 33 on opening day. He went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA last year for the White Sox and has made 30 or more starts covering 200 or more innings for 11 straight seasons.

He would be the kind of pitcher that could set a great example for the young hurlers on the staff and could show them how to get out major league hitters without a lot of strikeouts or a blazing fastball.

Maybe a team that offers Buehrle a four-year deal will get the upper hand in his contract talks.

I would guess it's a real longshot that team could be the Orioles but they are a team desperate for starting pitching. It's probably much more likely that first move for pitching here comes via trade and maybe today will be the day for that.

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