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Extend only one: Brian Roberts or Ray Lewis

Interesting conversation in the bar Thursday.

I agree with most of you that if pitcher Ben Sheets can be had for a two-year, fairly reasonable deal, that the Orioles must be in on that.

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But my sense is he will get a longer deal, despite still looking for a job in late January. And the Orioles wouldn't be the only ones offering the two-year carrot, so he'd likely go to a contender if that were the choice.

I am not sure I'd advocate any hitters on the free-agent list other than Ty Wigginton, because I do think he could come at a reasonable salary.

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We are going to mix disciplines today, Orioles baseball with Ravens football. Save me the "it's an unfair question to compare these two" complaint.

Sometimes, we go unfair in here for the sake of a good debate.

Here's what I am wondering:

To start the previous baseball/football season, I think it would have been correct to say that Brian Roberts was the face of the Orioles and Ray Lewis was the face of Ravens.

Those statements may still hold true, though their top protégés, Nick Markakis and Ed Reed, may have edged ahead.

Regardless, Lewis and Roberts are important parts of their respective teams. But in 2009, both are free agents – Lewis before the season and Roberts afterwards.

I want to know, if you had to choose, which one you'd rather have stay with his current Baltimore-based team.

This is a tricky one because Lewis certainly means more historically and emotionally to the Ravens than Roberts does to the Orioles. But, because there is no salary cap in baseball, if you sign Roberts it doesn't mean you might have to forego re-signing another key player, the way it could happen with Lewis.

A Lewis extension, however, wouldn't be guaranteed; Roberts' would.

I am curious to see how all of you will respond to this one.

Daily Think Special: If you could only sign one to a new contract, would you pick Ray Lewis or Brian Roberts?

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