On a day when the Ravens play one of their biggest games of the year, another sports-related event is underway that could greatly shape Orioles baseball for 2010 and beyond. This morning scouts, general managers, agents, and other associated personnel are in Indianapolis for the start of the 2009 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings.
The O’s are certainly in a position of action this year, needing to make additions at first base, third base, the starting rotation, and at closer. All four of those needs are generally associated with high-priced players, but this year’s crop of free agents isn’t particularly impressive. Several star players are being dangled as trade-eligible, but it seems unlikely that Andy McPhail and the O’s front office would be willing to part with the necessary players to acquire all-stars such as Adrien Gonzalez or Prince Fielder.
For players of that talent a package would have to be put together that included at least one of our top young pitchers and a top position player as well, for example a bundle of Chris Tillman, Nolan Reimold, and David Hernandez could potentially be shipped to San Diego for Gonzalez. This type of trade seems unlikely as McPhail has stated on numerous occasions that he’s unlikely to move any of our young crop of pitchers. It’s a difficult position for the O’s to be in this off-season as it appears the only significant difference makers at first and third are available by trade.
Although four of the spots in the rotation are all but locked up (Guthrie, Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman) it’s evident that another starting pitcher is needed to fill out the group. Three our starters have never completed a full major league season and the other, Guthrie, saw his stats decline in 2009. Signing a top of the rotation guy like John Lackey is unlikely (especially with the Yankees in position to throw boat loads of money at him), but there are some veteran, mid-level guys out there who could improve our rotation and serve as examples and teachers to our younger pitchers.
Over the next few days there could be multiple new players added to the O’s family for the upcoming season and we’ll try to keep you updated here at Bohs and O’s.