Andy MacPhail's first non-waiver trade deadline as Orioles president came and went yesterday afternoon without any completed deals, leaving him with a bittersweet feeling.
"It was fun. I enjoyed it," said MacPhail, who took over the Orioles' reins in June. "I think if you are not in uniform, this is about as much fun as you can have in the game. I think the only thing that was a little disappointing is that we weren't able to do anything."
During an unusually quiet day around the league, MacPhail said he never came close to making a deal. But his spirits were buoyed by interest he received about his young pitchers. According to one baseball source, within the past few weeks various teams inquired about the availability of starters Erik Bedard, Jeremy Guthrie and Daniel Cabrera and, to a lesser extent, closer Chris Ray and swingman Brian Burres.
"I got the sense there is nothing that is more precious out there than young starting pitching," MacPhail said during a conference call, "and I feel like, in that respect, we are fortunate."
MacPhail acknowledged that Bedard, the club's 28-year-old ace, received considerable interest.
"I think we have a responsibility to keep open-minded and listen to other things," MacPhail said when asked about Bedard. "But ... we clearly would have had to have something that was overwhelming to consider moving him specifically."
Bedard, according to several Orioles sources, would have had to have been included in a deal for first baseman Mark Teixeira, a Maryland native who was traded by the Texas Rangers yesterday with reliever Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves. In return, the Rangers received catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who turned 22 in May, and four other highly regarded prospects who are younger than Saltalamacchia.
MacPhail did not confirm that Bedard was the only way to get Teixeira but hinted as much by saying, "I think [Orioles fans] would have been more disappointed if they knew what we had to give up to try and entertain the notion of getting him."
MacPhail added, "I think when the conversation with [general manager] Jon Daniels of Texas started, it was not going to be something that was going to make a lot of sense, particularly when you consider that ... Teixeira had the right to become a free agent after 2008."
Bedard is signed through 2009. And without him or outfielder Nick Markakis included, the Orioles didn't have enough young talent to match the Braves' package. Entering this season, the five traded prospects were listed by Baseball America as Nos. 1, 2, 3, 14 and 18 in an Atlanta Braves system that has been ranked seventh or better in five of the past six years.
Although thwarted in their efforts to improve before yesterday's deadline, the Orioles' trade possibilities continue. For a player to be dealt during the rest of the season, he must first clear waivers. That shouldn't be a problem for the club's most likely trade chips: starter Steve Trachsel, outfielders Jay Payton and Corey Patterson and first baseman Kevin Millar.
Other potential trade bait, including shortstop Miguel Tejada and Cabrera, likely wouldn't clear waivers but will probably be put on within the next month.
In fact, it is expected the club will attempt to pass most, if not all, of its players through waivers. If one is claimed, the Orioles would have the option to revoke the move and keep the player. But they can only revoke waivers once per player.
"I think it is logical to assume that you might have more than is the customary activity after the waiver period," MacPhail said.
So, some of the club's veterans could still be on the move. But yesterday in Boston, the clubhouse mood was one of relief - and playfulness.
"I didn't want to go anywhere, honestly," Payton firstname.lastname@example.org
Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.