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Which top free agent should the Orioles pursue?

You and I are about as close as anyone to becoming the new Orioles general manager on November 3, the day free agency begins in Major League Baseball. Since Jerry Dipoto and Tony LaCava resisted the advances of Peter Angelos, Andy MacPhail’s dusty, old desk at the Warehouse remains empty for now.

Well, unless the Orioles really have installed a cardboard cutout of Pat Gillick as interim GM.

Since we can't speculate on what the team's new top baseball executive will do in free agency because the Orioles have been taking their sweet, old time with this search, let's talk about who you would sign if Angelos called you out of the blue and asked if you were interested in the job (hey, it could happen).

Our fine Orioles reporter Dan Connolly has evaluated a dirty dozen of potential free agent targets, a list that includes the likes of first baseman Prince Fielder, third baseman Aramis Ramirez and lefty starter C.J. Wilson. Connolly left out shortstops Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins, two of the top players on the market, because of the J.J. Hardy extension, but moving Hardy to third for the right shortstop isn’t a bad idea.

The player I would chase after -- and I suspect a few of you would, too -- is Fielder.

Of course, I don’t think he will sign here, and there is a 50/50 chance he will get so big after signing his hefty contract that you could add “Maryland “ and a nine-digit zip code to Fielder’s away Orioles jersey.

But the Orioles owe it to their fans to bring in a box-office draw like Fielder, who could help make the team competitive enough to distract the city while the new general manager takes on the dirty job of overhauling the minor-league system and restocking the organization’s depth through the MLB draft.

Fielder wouldn’t be one of the last pieces to the puzzle, but he would be a big one, that’s for sure.

Anyway, that’s just my semi-educated two cents. But this isn’t about me. It’s about what you think.

Your turn: Who would be the top free agent you would pursue if you were the phantom O's GM?

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