Shortstop Jose Reyes, with that bizarre Miami Marlins hat, was just on the podium announcing his new six-year, $106 million deal with the Marlins. Reyes is a great player, but it is such a strange fit there since the Marlins’ top star is Hanley Ramirez and he’ll likely be moved to third base. Reyes said he hasn’t talked to Ramirez yet, but “I’m looking forward to playing with Hanley.”
It’s crazy to me that we’re on Day 3 of the winter meetings and Reyes is the only huge name to make this podium (and second behind Heath Bell, also by the Marlins). No Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder or C.J. Wilson or Mark Buehrle. This could be an amazingly hectic night. But I don’t think Orioles fans need to worry about those guys.
The fact the Orioles haven’t made a push for Josh Willingham cements my belief that the free agents they are targeting are not going to get fans excited, especially with their not going over three years for a pitcher. Dan Duquette wasn’t kidding: Trades are his best way to improve his team.
One free agent – or pending free agent – whose name has been knocked around the hotel plenty this week is Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes, an outfielder who is the Dominican Republic waiting to be officially declared a free agent.
The Orioles are expected to go see Cespedes, 26, this weekend – the contingent will include Orioles manager Buck Showalter and new international coordinator Fred Ferreira.
But the Orioles are a major long shot here. Cespedes is primarily a center fielder – and with Adam Jones, the Orioles currently have that spot covered. He’s also going to cost $50 million or more and a bunch of teams are interested, so there will be a bidding war. The Orioles need to do their due diligence, but officials aren’t confident that they’ll be in consideration on this one.
Reliever Huston Street was traded from Colorado to San Diego on Wednesday for a minor leaguer to be announced. Street was sort of on the Orioles’ radar but not majorly. They want to improve their bullpen, but they want to use their top trade chips for starting pitching.
Speaking of relief, there are more rumors on Koji Uehara potentially returning to the Orioles. Koji loves Baltimore, still lives here and did not do well in Texas, where he is scheduled to make $4 million in 2012. I can’t say the Orioles wouldn’t want him back based on his success here, but managing his workload is a job in itself, so that would have to be considered.
We’re about to go to the annual managers’ luncheon at the winter meetings. It’s cool seeing all the managers together – especially the new guys, who are always like little kids when they are at their first luncheon.