Early thoughts and observations from the MLB winter meetings

The Baltimore Sun

The Winter Meetings are officially underway today in the Music City, with everyone from baseball executives, agents, media members and job seekers wandering the halls of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

As advertised, this place is humongous. There are five different lobby areas here, but most people have cavorted toward the hotel's main entrance. I've finally found a shortcut to that lobby from the media room.

Over the course of the next two days, every manager will have a media session here in the media workroom. Orioles manager Buck Showalter's session will be at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Earlier today, the Rays signed first baseman James Loney and the Red Sox signed Mike Napoli. That takes two free-agent first baseman off the market. Boston reportedly sees Napoli primarily as a first baseman.

Both teams were possible desinations for former Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds, but now those options are closed. There are other teams still looking for first basemen, including Milwaukee, but could the market be closing up on Reynolds?

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said something very interesting on MLB Network this morning. He said that despite the popular belief that Reynolds would have earned in the $9 million range through the arbitration process, the club has estimated that Reynolds could have been looking in the $12-14 million range.

Needless to say, that was too much for the Orioles.

The Yankees will be looking for a stopgap at third base for Alex Rodriguez, who will be out for four-to-six months. Reynolds wouldn't make much sense as an option there. Yankees GM Brian Cashman will speak here in the media room shortly.

As for the Orioles, I'm continuing to get the sense they will make a trade here in Nashville, likely for a power bat.

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