NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After several hours of trade talks on Day 2 at the winter meetings, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said late yesterday afternoon that he was no closer to trading No. 1 pitcher Erik Bedard, as potential suitors continue to fall short of the club's asking price.
"We really are not significantly different than where we were [Monday] at this time," MacPhail said. "Our philosophy is pretty simple. We think we have a pretty good understanding of what is equitable for certain guys, and when we get there, great. Until we get there, we'll stay where we are. It's really a simple equation."
As rumors continued to swirl around the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center that a Bedard trade could be imminent, MacPhail reiterated that the club doesn't feel it necessary to move the pitcher, who isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2009 season. MacPhail also said the Orioles could resume contract extension talks with the 28-year-old pitcher at some point during spring training if Bedard isn't traded earlier.
"We've said in every way we can - it's not a question of really shopping him or trying to move him," MacPhail said. "But at the same time, our record is what our record has been, and we have a responsibility to our fans to try to make it better and take whatever we think we have to take to make it better."
Though the list of teams interested in Bedard is seemingly growing by the day, the Orioles have identified a handful of clubs with the type of young talent they are looking for in return for the pitcher.
That list includes the Los Angeles Dodgers, who appear to be the front-runner in the Bedard sweepstakes. Dodgers officials arrived at the meetings Monday night and met with the Orioles shortly thereafter.
The Dodgers and Orioles have been talking about Bedard for several weeks, with outfielder Matt Kemp, reliever Jonathan Broxton and pitching prospect Clayton Kershaw among the names discussed.
The Orioles also met with the New York Mets yesterday morning, but one club source said yesterday that the Mets, who had been reluctant in previous discussions to move their top prospect, outfielder Fernando Martinez, aren't considered a top contender for Bedard.
MacPhail also was expected yesterday to meet with the Seattle Mariners, who have long coveted Bedard and would certainly get the Orioles' attention with an offer headed by outfielder Adam Jones and pitcher Brandon Morrow. The Cincinnati Reds also are in the mix for Bedard, though one team source said Monday that they aren't willing to include top prospect Jay Bruce in the deal. The Toronto Blue Jays have also expressed interest, but it remains unlikely the club would trade him within the American League East.
In other Orioles news, there was not much movement on the Miguel Tejada front, but that could change now that third baseman Miguel Cabrera is off the market. The Florida Marlins traded Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Detroit Tigers. Tejada has been considered a fallback plan for the Los Angeles Angels if they didn't land Cabrera. As of late yesterday afternoon, the Angels and Orioles had not had any discussions at the meetings.
MacPhail ate lunch and spent well over an hour with Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry yesterday. MacPhail and Hendry are former colleagues and close friends, though the meeting fueled speculation that the two frequent trade partners are at it again. The Cubs have expressed interest in second baseman Brian Roberts and have tried to acquire Bedard several times over the past couple of seasons.
MacPhail said the Orioles remain hopeful of adding a reliever with closer experience to potentially serve as a one-year stopgap with closer Chris Ray and setup man Danys Baez expected to miss the entire season after having Tommy John surgery.
Notes -- Former Orioles utility man Chris Gomez has agreed in principle to a one-year, $1 million deal with the Pirates, a baseball source said. ... The Orioles contacted the agent for highly coveted free-agent center fielder Aaron Rowand of the Phillies, but the talks haven't progressed and aren't expected email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org