Friday is the start of free agency in Major League Baseball.
It's also NFL Prediction Friday at the bar, and I can't break tradition, unless, of course, I am off and am too lazy to file a blog entry.
And that's not the case this week. So we'll do our Ravens predictions – as usual – on Friday. Today, we are talking baseball.
The Orioles need more talent, we all understand that. And they have some money to spend; besides a couple option buyouts, they are not on the hook in 2010 to pay anyone who has already been cut or traded. That, in itself, is refreshing.
But just because they have money to spend, that doesn't mean the most coveted free agents – guys such as Matt Holliday and John Lackey – are coming here. In fact, they are not. Those guys will get beaucoup bucks from current contenders. And the Orioles won't – and probably can't – outspend the biggest boys on the block.
They will, however, be in the mix for a lot of second-tier (and third-tier) free agents. And, given the economy, they may be able to have their pick of that litter. My guess is this winter they end up with a first baseman and third baseman through free agency as well as at least one starting pitcher and possibly a late-inning reliever. And here's betting none gets more than a two-year deal with an option.
I don't know exactly whom the Orioles will land, but I have my guesses. And I am sure you do, too.
Beat writer Jeff Zrebiec and I have played an offseason game for years in which we go three to five rounds deep and draft the most likely players to become Orioles for the upcoming season. Last year Jeff's first pick was Cesar Izturis. I had Mark Hendrickson and Ty Wigginton in my stable. So we are pretty good at this.
I want you in this year. If you had to bet the house on one Major League player – a free agent or a trade chip -- that will end up on the Orioles for 2010, who would it be?
This isn't who you want – we'll have plenty of time for that – but who you expect to be running down that orange carpet in April. The free agent or trade target you look at and say, "Yep, he's an Oriole in 2010."
Here's my first-round draft pick: Third baseman Pedro Feliz.
Now it is your turn.
Daily Think Special: Which free agent/trade chip is most likely to become an Oriole in 2010?