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Would it anger you if the Orioles do little this offseason?

I am going to have to draw a line down the center of the bar.

A.J. Burnett bashers to the left, A.J. backers to the right.

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Is Burnett the supremely talented righty who won 18 games for the Toronto Blue Jays this season and is ready to assume the primary leadership role in a rotation?

Or is he the 31-year-old guy who has had trouble staying healthy over the years and isn't a good bet to be both effective and injury-free in three, four or five years?

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Apparently, we're not sure here at Connolly's, based on your conversation Tuesday. Don't feel badly. I am not sure Major League Baseball execs know for sure, either. But someone will make the investment. Burnett is that good when he is on. And starting pitching is that in demand.

The bottom line for Orioles fans is that Burnett would like to pitch near his Monkton home, and he's more proven than anything the club has. But he's not throwing around discounts, either. My prediction is if he gets a five-year deal, it's definitely from someone else. I think it would be a real departure for the Orioles to even go four years.

Here's what I was wondering through all of the discussion. What's your thought if the Orioles do nothing but add a defensive-minded shortstop – such as, say Cesar Izturis or Adam Everett – and a back-of-the-rotation starting pitcher?

I ask, because that's a real possibility. I think most of us who cover the club wouldn't be surprised if the Orioles finish their Christmas shopping with a shortstop, a third/fourth starter and an empty bag where Mark Teixeira or Burnett would have fit.

The truth is Andy MacPhail has tried to keep expectations tempered this offseason. He has said he'll explore the market for upper-echelon players with special circumstances – read, Teixeira's and Burnett's ties to the area – but is concentrating more on strengthening the organization's core.

It's very possible that 2009 could be worse than 2008. Given that idea, are you OK with minor ripples this offseason but no splash? Or will you be angry if Teixeira, Burnett or both end up elsewhere?

Daily Think Special: Would you be angered if the Orioles have a quiet offseason?


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