If you’re a Carroll County parent, your kids are getting out of school two hours early.

Just one of the many services I provide through this blog.

The Blue Jays are offering outfielder Alex Rios to the Giants for young pitcher Matt Cain, which reminds me of a debate that raged in the Camden Yards press box earlier this year. Would you rather have Rios or Nick Markakis?

I know the Jays want to upgrade their rotation, which explains their interest in Cain, Erik Bedard and Matt Clement. But it would be tough to part with Rios, who turns 27 in February and isn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season.

Funny how the free-agent talk has been mostly silent at the winter meetings. Most of the attention is focused on trades, which must make Andruw Jones wonder what the heck is going on.

I have to admit, I’m intrigued by the possibility of the Angels including pitcher Nick Adenhart in a package for Miguel Tejada. I watched one of his starts at Williamsport High – after I learned there actually was a Williamsport, Md. – and saw all the scouts sitting behind the backstop with their radar guns pointed at him. Baseball America rated him as the best high school prospect after his junior year, ahead of Homer Bailey, but he fell to the Angels in the 14th round after blowing out his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Kudos to the Angels for drafting him anyway – ignoring that scholarship offer from North Carolina that everyone else assumed he would accept - and giving him a $710,000 bonus. And kudos to Adenhart for not feeling like his dream had died. This type of surgery is like having a mole removed. It’s not a big deal anymore. I’m surprised hospitals don’t have a drive-thru service for it.

Adenhart has a fastball that touches the mid-90s, along with a curveball and circle change that accounts for a lot of his strikeouts. He was 10-8 with a 3.65 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 26 starts covering 153 innings at Double-A Arkansas this season.

He’s fully recovered from his surgery.

He’s a local product who would love to pitch here.

And he’s only 21.

With Miguel Cabrera off the board, the Angels are expected to step up their efforts to acquire Tejada. If I’m the Orioles, I know which pitcher has to be included in the deal. And I don’t mean Ervin Santana.

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