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I checked out The Sun's Web site this morning, saw the headline, "Knee Injury Puts Bynum Out 8 Weeks," and figured that more bad news had reached the Orioles.

It's Lakers center Andrew Bynum.

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Whew!

Orioles president Andy MacPhail repeated yesterday that the Orioles are nearing the point where they'll have to silence the trade talks – the really big ones – and find other means to plug holes in their lineup and bullpen. That means tapping into a weak free-agent market.

If something big doesn't happen before the last week of January, you can expect Erik Bedard and Brian Roberts to be unpacking their bags at Fort Lauderdale Stadium.

"There comes a time when you have to look at other options," MacPhail said.

I'm predicting that the Orioles pass on closer Octavio Dotel and either sign another veteran free agent or hand the job to Greg Aquino.

It would be a major upset if James Hoey or Bob McCrory is chosen to replace Chris Ray. Manager Dave Trembley doesn't want an inexperienced hand taking the ball in the ninth inning, and MacPhail agrees.

"We certainly would not want to throw a kid in that role, not out of spring training," MacPhail said.

My question: Do you agree that a rebuilding team still needs a veteran in the late innings, or do you treat the closers role like the back end of the rotation, where you're willing to trust a Troy Patton or Garrett Olson?

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