My colleague Dan Connolly on Monday shook awake Orioles fans who were dreaming of the team signing Prince Fielder and C.J. Wilson when he blogged that the team probably won't sign either player this winter.

His logic (and it is sound, informed logic) is that the Orioles will be wary of offering a hefty contract to a husky slugger like Fielder and that they are unlikely to offer the four- or five-year deal it would take to ink Wilson.

Connolly also reported that there is no Easter Bunny and speculated that rainbows cause diabetes.

OK, I made that last part up. But yeah, his post was a total buzzkill for fans who were hoping the Orioles -- under the guidance of their general manager to be named later -- would make a major splash in free agency. Deep down inside, though, you probably think Peter Angelos will keep his checkbook locked away, too.

But assuming Fielder and Wilson -- let’s also throw in potential free agents Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia -- sign elsewhere, which more affordable alternatives should the Orioles pursue once free agency begins?

Other bigger-name players on the market include Jose Reyes, Aramis Ramirez, Mark Buehrle, Heath Bell, Ryan Madson, and Jonathan Papelbon. (Those last three are relievers, which wouldn’t exactly be a splashy signing.)

And last I checked, Garrett Atkins will be up for grabs, but you would probably prefer the Easter Bunny.

Or even diabetes.

Your turn: If the Orioles strike out on the big names in free agency -- whether they do it swinging for the fences or watching with their bat on their shoulders -- which lower-tier signings might turn out to be steals?