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Adam Loewen is the latest Oriole to sign a one-year deal. Like Jeremy Guthrie before him, the left-hander wasn't eligible for free agency or arbitration. And he wasn't getting a multi-year deal at this stage of his career. Just a routine transaction.

Third baseman Mike Costanzo, acquired from the Astros in the Miguel Tejada trade, will report to spring training with the pitchers and catchers. The Orioles want him working with the catchers.

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If the Cubs don't make a trade, they'll have Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Rich Hill, Jason Marquis, Sean Marshall, Ryan Dempster, Sean Gallagher, Kevin Hart and newly signed Jon Lieber as candidates for the rotation. Unless the club is going with a nine-man staff, that's too many.

At this point, it appears that Marquis, Dempster, Marshall and Lieber will battle for the last two spots. Marquis could have an edge because he's signed for two more years.

The bullpen already is loaded with right-handers, so certain losers in the rotation race can't count on relief work as an option. The Cubs will be trade partners with somebody, and talks with the Orioles aren't dead. The two sides don't have a tentative deal in place, but something could happen next week.

I still believe there's better than a 50-50 chance that Brian Roberts is dealt, and I'm not alone. But I still don't see the Cubs parting with Rich Hill. It'll have to happen without him.

Twins officials still believe Johan Santana will be traded before spring training.

Will it happen before Erik Bedard? That was the common perception among baseball insiders a few months ago. In fact, Bedard was supposed to go before Roberts.

Baseball America's projected rotation for the Orioles in 2011 consists of Bedard, Adam Loewen, Radhames Liz, Jeremy Guthrie and Matt Albers.

Where's Troy Patton? That's the most glaring omission to me.

Maybe he's being packaged with Garrett Olson, Jake Arrieta and Timothy Bascom in a 2010 deal.

Is 2011 too soon for Chorye Spoone, Brandon Erbe and Pedro Beato?

Not a bad collection of arms.

I'm still not convinced that Liz will be a starter down the road. He might evolve into a closer.

I just read that Nationals Park will have about 5,000 parking spaces at the stadium, which just about meets the demands of season-ticket holders. Everyone else will have to take public transportation or ride a shuttle from RFK Stadium.

Sounds convenient.

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