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This is the lull before the storm. This is the time when major league front office people tie up loose ends, take a few days off and catch their breath before offseason begins in earnest following the World Series.

That's why the biggest baseball headline in The Sun today is about negotiations with reliever/swingman Mark Hendrickson, who almost certainly will re-sign with the Orioles -- which is fine because he's a versatile role player on the pitching staff, but it's not really news when you consider he's from nearby York and not many other teams will be beating down his door this winter.

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The Orioles had an extended conversation with Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman yesterday. That's an interesting development, but we all know that he's going to end up in Boston or New York. The thing that's most significant about the meeting is that it signals that owner Peter Angelos no longer has strong reservations about negotiating with Cuban players, though I guess we should have figured that out when the Orioles gave all that money to Danys Baez.

The biggest story of the week was the official decision to decline the option on Melvin Mora, which was no surprise to anyone. Melvin told us he wasn't coming back a couple of months ago when he publicly blasted manager Dave Trembley.

Basically, this is roster crunching time, and the Orioles have moved a bunch of players off the 40-man roster, including pitcher Rich Hill. Seems like a long time ago that the O's were hanging tough with Hill because they were afraid someone would take him off waivers. His 7.80 ERA pretty much took care of that. The club also outrighted Alfredo Simon, which means they can monitor his recovery from surgery and bring him back later if they think he's still got some promise.

Frankly, this is such a soft news period that it might be time for another warm weather vacation.

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