The opening of the free agent market on Friday won't generate nearly the same level of anticipation around here as last year, when fans could fantasize about big-ticket players Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett before the Yankees had time to snap them up. The Orioles have the same basic needs this time around -- a big-swinging corner infielder and a frontline starting pitcher -- but the dynamics of the market are considerably different.

Here's the latest list of free agent corner infielders that Andy MacPhail has to choose from if he doesn't want to give up any of his core pitching prospects to make a trade:


First base

Hank Blalock TEX


Russell Branyan SEA

Carlos Delgado NYM (B)

Nomar Garciaparra OAK

Jason Giambi COL

Ross Gload FLA

Aubrey Huff DET

Nick Johnson WAS (B)

Adam LaRoche ATL (B)

Kevin Millar TOR

Robb Quinlan LAA

Matt Stairs PHI

Mike Sweeney SEA

Jim Thome LAD

Chad Tracy ARZ

Third base

Adrian Beltre SEA (B)

Geoff Blum HOU

Craig Counsell MIL

Joe Crede MIN

Mark DeRosa STL (B)

Pedro Feliz PHI

Chone Figgins LAA (A)

Troy Glaus STL (A)

Jerry Hairston NYY

Mike Lamb MIL

Melvin Mora BAL (B)

Juan Uribe SF

If you recall, the name that was buzzing around late this last season was Nick Johnson, but I'm trying to figure out how to cast a guy who has a total of 13 homers over the past two years and has never driven in 80 runs in a season as an upgrade.

Personally, I'd like to see the Orioles make a real play for third baseman Adrian Beltre. The guy is coming off an injury-diminished 2009, but hit at least 25 home runs the previous three seasons. He'll be in some demand, but might consider the Orioles because of his close relationship with shortstop Cesar Izturis.

Our beat guy, Jeff Zrebiec, thinks that Pedro Feliz is the most likely third base possibility. The best player available at third is Chone Figgins, who would be an interesting choice if there was any chance he would consider Baltimore.

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