The next week could be an interesting one for the Orioles.

Typically, the Orioles, under president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, do nothing before the winter meetings, which officially start in Orlando, Fla., next Monday.


But the extra 10 days of free agency this year — the period for talking with other teams' free agents was sliced from 15 days to five — has had a slight impact. Victor Martinez, probably one of the top five available players in this class and the Orioles' No. 1 target, is already off the board.

And so, too, are Jon Garland, a second-tier starting pitcher, and Aubrey Huff, a solid first baseman and former Oriole. That early action could spur the process for everyone, including the Orioles.

The three best free agents, Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, are still available, but the Orioles aren't in on that trio.

They are most interested in a corner infielder, and the majority of their targets, besides Martinez, are still around. Players such as third baseman Adrian Beltre and first basemen Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Adam LaRoche, Derrek Lee, Lance Berkman and Adam Dunn have yet to sign.

Also looking for jobs are all seven of the Orioles' free agents, including reliever Koji Uehara and infielders Ty Wigginton and Cesar Izturis.

Orioles executives would like to have something done by the winter meetings — a trade or a signing — but it's also not a big deal if they don't. When they left for the Thanksgiving break, the Orioles had no official offers out to free agents — except the one Martinez rejected — but they had talked to a bunch of free agents.

Fans are impatient, and understandably so, but there is still plenty of time left this offseason. Most of the better free agents aren't signed until the weeks in between the winter meetings and Christmas.

Truthfully, with the exception of signing a first baseman, any splash the Orioles make would likely come via trade. And those discussions almost always heat up at the winter meetings.

So a betting man would wager big money that the Orioles head to Orlando with the same roster they have today.

But, as MacPhail likes to say, everything can change with a phone call.

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