Beltre still isn't the answer

Beltre still isn't the answer
I was afraid to look out my window this morning, figuring that the snow would be piling up and I'd be making another frantic search for my gloves. I raced to the grocery store because I needed milk and water. I hate being that guy, but I was out. (I skipped the bread and toilet paper.) I raced to the gym and kept one eye on the parking lot - a surefire way to get a headache - so I could bolt as the first snowflake fell. More than two hours later, I'm still waiting for that first flake....
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Hall of Fame ballot

Hall of Fame ballot
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all. I wasn't expecting to see snow this morning, but it looks like we got a light dusting in Sykesville (as opposed to a heavy dusting.) Just give me clear roads on Monday. That's all I'm asking. I didn't find a first baseman under the tree. I'm not sure what I would have done with him, so maybe it's for the best. My Hall of Fame ballot arrived in the mail a few days ago. Finally, I have the power to get Kirk Rueter into...
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First base market continues to shrink

First base market continues to shrink
It shrinks? Like a frightened turtle! The Padres reportedly have reached agreement with Brad Hawpe on a one-year contract, which figures to impact the Orioles. Hawpe will platoon at first base in San Diego despite extremely limited experience at the position. He's appeared in only nine games there, all of them in 2010. By comparison, he's played 748 games in right field over seven seasons. Derrek Lee wants to play for a contender, Well, the Padres no longer need him. The same with Adam...
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Not a creature was stirring...

Not a creature was stirring...
If you're heading out to do some last-minute shopping, I'll just ask...are you crazy?! I'm out of milk and I'm afraid to venture to the grocery store. I'll eat my Cheerios dry. All I need is a highchair and a sippy cup. It would be an upset of monumental proportions if the Orioles signed a free agent today - or scheduled a physical so they could sign a free agent. I'm on call as always, but I don't anticipate any news on Christmas Eve. If Adam LaRoche finally agrees to terms, he might...
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Atkins off the board

Atkins off the board
You can stop worrying. Garrett Atkins has found a job. The Pirates announced that they signed Atkins to a minor league contract with an invite to spring training. Atkins lasted 44 games with the Orioles last season, batting .214 with one homer and nine RBIs. They released him on July 6. Atkins signed for $4.5 million last winter. Now he's settling for a minor league deal from a club that already signed first baseman Lyle Overbay. Let the comeback begin. By the way, the Orioles didn't...
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Checking the Orioles' tab

Checking the Orioles' tab
While wondering whether Brett Favre texted pictures of his feet to Rex Ryan ... I saw the mlbtraderumors.com post ranking each club according to its offseason spending and braced for the inevitable Orioles bashing. I knew it was coming, so I may as well address it. (It also allows me to mention Adam LaRoche again, keeping my streak intact.) The Orioles rank 23rd out of 30 teams at $5.58 million, which is broken down as $3 million for reliever Koji Uehara, $1.5 million for infielder Cesar...
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MacPhail: No deadline imposed on LaRoche

MacPhail: No deadline imposed on LaRoche
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail says the club hasn't imposed a deadline for free agents to accept their offers, which means Adam LaRoche can continue to mull his options while the Orioles resume talks with other players. MacPhail didn't reveal names, but it's clear that LaRoche hasn't been given a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum. "I'm not a big deadline guy," MacPhail said. "There's nothing to prevent you from talking to other people in certain scenarios. I don't know...
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Quick Montanez update; remembering Elrod

Quick Montanez update; remembering Elrod
Former Orioles outfielder Lou Montanez texted me earlier today and mentioned that he's receiving a lot of interest, "especially from AL East teams." A few Japanese teams also are interested in the free-agent outfielder. Montanez is batting third for first-place Criollos de Caguas of the Puerto Rican Winter League. He's 13-for-28 with two doubles, a triple and four RBIs. He writes that his team's starting nine is comprised entirely of former major league players. Today would have been...
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Seriously, what about today?

Seriously, what about today?
We have a theme going here. As you might have noticed, another shopping day bit the dust yesterday. We're down to a precious few. I've got errands to run this morning, but my laptop goes everywhere I go, so I'll pass along any news that might break. It usually stays in my trunk. It doesn't sit on the passenger seat with the window cracked. In case you hadn't heard, the Orioles need a first baseman. They'd like to add at least one more reliever, a veteran starter and another utility...
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Ripken critiques Reynolds, Hardy and more

Ripken critiques Reynolds, Hardy and more
If you're looking for someone to critique the Orioles' winter additions at third base and shortstop, Cal Ripken seems like the logical person for the assignment. He's played both positions and his opinion always counts. Ripken has added next month's coaching clinic at the University of Maryland to his busy schedule (more on that later), but he took time earlier this morning to talk to MASN and The Sun in a conference call. Ripken gave high marks to the trade that brought third baseman...
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OK, so what about today?

OK, so what about today?
Yesterday passed without the Orioles doing anything. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail might have made contact with more agents or rival executives, but that's only an assumption. The media has been left in the dark because he's no longer returning our calls. I can confirm that the Orioles didn't sign any free agents or complete any trades. Only four shopping days left until Christmas. I'm actually stopping the count after Thursday, so make it three. Assuming that Adam...
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Ex-Oriole update

Ex-Oriole update
The Nationals signed first baseman Michael Aubrey to a minor league deal, according to this tweet from the team. And yes, I just wrote "this tweet from the team." Aubrey made a pretty good impression on the club late in the 2009 season, but he was hurt in spring training and recovering from a minor medical procedure that required stitches in his back. He fell behind the other first basemen in camp, hit .235 in Triple-A (though a power surge raised his home run total to 22, fifth-best in the...
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Is this the week? (updated)

Is this the week? (updated)
Baseball activity usually slows down the week between Christmas and New Years, so this week could be relatively busy for the Orioles. Keeping those fingers crossed. Players generally prefer to be signed before the holidays to remove that distraction and plan their lives accordingly. Their families obviously share the burden. The exceptions, of course, usually involve Scott Boras. Adam LaRoche figures to make his decision before the weekend. It's not like the market is growing for him. And...
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This and that

This and that
Cliff Lee is out of the American League, and he took Zack Greinke with him - and dropped off the right-hander in Milwaukee. This season should be a breeze for the Orioles. All they need is for Andy Pettitte to retire and they'll win 90 games. Greinke reportedly has been dealt to the Brewers for shortstop Alcides Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and pitching prospects Jeremy Jeffress and Jake Odorizzi. The Brewers also will receive shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and $2 million. I don't...
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Still waiting for LaRoche

Still waiting for LaRoche
Howard Megdal at mlbtraderumors.com posted the top five Phillies general managers since 1960, with Paul Owens placing first. I suppose we could do the same thing here with the Orioles. Feel free to submit your top five GMs in franchise history. Extra credit if you include the reasons. Homework on a Saturday? That's so not fair! The Orioles still haven't announced their minor league coaching staffs because they're waiting for a few contracts to come back. Should happen early next...
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Three-year offer for LaRoche? (with Accardo update)

Three-year offer for LaRoche? (with Accardo update)
I received a call at 6 a.m. with an automated message alerting me that Carroll County schools are opening two hours late. I texted my daughter, who responded with a "Yes!!" and went back to sleep. I had two dreams that I can remember: Rushing somewhere to conduct an interview for the blog, and co-hosting a sports talk show on MASN. Not exactly an escape from reality. I remember the days when I'd dream about Salma Hayek. What's happened to me? (I'm sure my parents remember the days...
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Ohman: "I'm not going to close the door" (updated)

Ohman: "I'm not going to close the door" (updated)
As the Orioles search for another left-handed reliever, they haven't given up on the possibility of bringing back Will Ohman. They've had talks with his agent, Danny Horwits, and Ohman said a return is "always a possibility." "I'm not going to close the door, either," he said earlier today via cell phone. "I enjoyed my time there." His time with the Orioles ended with the July 31 trade to the Marlins that brought pitcher Rick VandenHurk into the organization. "It's a situation...
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Roll call for relievers

Roll call for relievers
I'm still dealing with e-mail issues because AOL - yes, I know, so lame - keeps forcing me to change my password once or twice a day since the great virus attack of 2010. AOL randomly decides that my password is invalid, which also prevents my BlackBerry from receiving e-mails. I can't get a technician to assist me because I don't pay for the service, and the AOL.com "chat room" didn't provide any solutions before I went to bed. Maybe I entered the wrong room. I should have known when...
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Paying the utilities

Paying the utilities
The Orioles have bigger fish to fry than a second utility player. A first baseman comes to mind. It jumps right into the boat. I'm not overly concerned about a veteran starter, though I understand the team's interest in acquiring one. Manager Buck Showalter wants more options for the five spots. He's counting six right now, which doesn't give him much room if there's an injury or a young arm - we'll use Zach Britton as an example - isn't deemed ready. Rick VandenHurk, who's out of...
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Accardo reaches agreement; Gregg rumor

Accardo reaches agreement; Gregg rumor
A team official confirmed this afternoon that the Orioles have reached agreement with former Blue Jays reliever Jeremy Accardo on a one-year deal worth $1.08 million. The Sun quotes Accardo's agent, Damon Lapa of All Bases Covered Sports Management (catchy name.) The deal is official pending a physical. The Blue Jays non-tendered Accardo, making him a free agent. He's eligible for arbitration again after 2011, so the Orioles could retain his rights for another season. Accardo registered...
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