Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail isn't going to tell us who he has talked to since free agency began in earnest Sunday.

But he will acknowledge that he is speaking to agents -- many of them.


"We've talked to a wide variety of guys," MacPhail said. "There's been no shortage of conversations with players' agents."

So rest easy, Orioles fans, MacPhail has not gone into hiding. He's just hiding his cards once again.

The Orioles are expected to pursue a corner infielder with power potential, and among those they have interest in are third baseman Adrian Beltre and first basemen Victor Martinez, Adam LaRoche, Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman and Aubrey Huff.

You can figure he has talked to the agents for the majority of the names above. He has also presumably touched base with agents for some relievers, which is the deepest talent base of a shallow free-agent pool.

Touching base with agents and other teams about trade possibilities is what a general manager does at this point in the offseason, so don't get too discouraged or excited when the Orioles are connected to a certain player or team early on.

Really, things haven't changed since September. The Orioles know whom they like, what holes they need to fill and who likely fits into their budget. Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth won't be coming here, and Beltre most likely won't either.

One of the above first baseman might, and so might a reliever or two. In fact, the Orioles might be more likely to add through trades than through free agency. But again, it's not like they have a lot of available chips outside of the core they want to keep.

But, yes, if guys like Zack Greinke, Mark Reynolds, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes are available through trades, the Orioles will kick those tires. Whether they have enough -- or whether their package of players is the best fit -- will be determined by the other team involved.

Earlier this offseason, MacPhail said he expected there to be more trade discussion this winter. On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals dealt away outfielder David DeJesus to the Oakland Athletics for pitcher Vin Mazzaro and a minor leaguer. That's really early for such a deal.

And maybe that's indication that this will be the offseason of trades. As well as another offseason filled with lots of speculation.

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