Grinding Through the Rumor Mill

It's a little loony, but I love the Baseball Winter Meetings. The entertainment value of the event has definitely skyrocketed in the twitter age, as my feed is now a cornucopia of rumors, negations of rumors, negations of negations of rumors, signings, buzz, and analysis. Unfortunately, the meetings are ending today and we are thrust back out into the plodding and uneven pizzicato of the offseason. In fact, traditionally the last day of the meetings is comprised of the Rule 5 draft and then a rush for the doors.

That has not exactly proven to be the case this year, with the Angels making big splashes this morning and the Orioles in the midst of trade talks.

As of this writing, the Orioles have done exactly zero major things this offseason. With apologies to the Darren O'Days, Dana Evelands, and Demarlo Hales of the world, it is safe to say that the Orioles have not yet meaningfully upgraded their talent pool in the long or the short term. Which is okay! The offseason still has a solid 70 days left in it, and if there is one trait that we all share as Oriole fans, I'll put money down on it being patience. Apocalyptic patience even.

While the O's have yet to make any moves, there has still been a duststorm of rumors surrounding Dan Duquette's team in Dallas. Most of these rumors will end up confined to the dustbins of history with no basis in reality. And there will be many other conversations and maybe-deals that don't get consummated or reported on. That threat of having one foot on creaky ground and one foot submerged in complete darkness, all caused by seriously having no idea what the truth of the matter is, is what I love about the Winter Meetings. They're nuts, and they offer just enough for you to gnaw on and complain about.

And so I present to you, after the jump a recap of the past few days and the various rumors of things that did or did not almost or possibly never happened to the Baltimore Orioles. Big thanks to MLBTradeRumors, by the way, for helping me keep the days relatively straight in my brain.

Day One

We heard some kind of pointless rumors on Day One, such as the Orioles having interest in Manny Ramirez and Prince Fielder. Which: okay.

We also heard that Robert Andino is a popular man on the trade block, although you have to wonder what Robert Andino could seriously fetch. He's a pretty fun guy to watch play baseball sometimes, but he's not exactly a world beater. Other players the Orioles were reportedly getting interest for: Jim Johnson, Jeremy Guthrie, and the young "cavalry" of pitchers.

Remember, too, that about a week ago the big rumor was that the Angels were talking to the Orioles about acquiring Guthrie.

Because some sports reporters can only connect the simplest of dots sometimes, even after the Teagarden trade there were questions about the Orioles wanting Jason Varitek being floated. You know, because Dan Duquette once traded for a 25 year old Varitek, so of course he would want the 40 year old model. This, by the way, may or may not also have been the source of the silly Manny Ramirez rumor.

Day Two

The juiciest rumors of the meetings happened on Day Two, the best being that the Orioles were engaging the White Sox in an effort to pry away Carlos Quentin and/or Gavin Floyd. The only player rumored to be in the conversation about going to Chicago? Why, Brad Bergesen of course! The real question out there is would the Orioles be willing to give up on the enigmatic Brian Matusz in exchange for two years of the decidedly-but-solidly-average Floyd?

There was a report out of Chicago that the Cubs were actively trying to dump Alfonso Soriano onto the Orioles in what would be a mild salary purge. Chicago would be footing most of the bill and little would be going back to the Cubs. This was shot down pretty quickly, which is reassuring since Soriano's production would be a downgrade even if he were free.

Colorado and the Orioles reportedly were engaged in talks for closer Huston Street. Then those talks were reportedly slowing down.

The Rockies acquired Kevin Slowey cheaply, and word was that the Orioles kicked the tires on Slowey but didn't care for the price. Which really doesn't say much for Slowey. The team with the worst pitching in baseball didn't want to pony up a player to be named later for you? Rough.

We also heard, at about the same exact time, that the O's were willing to ship Adam Jones out of town and also that the O's consider Adam Jones to be completely untouchable. This is the Winter Meetings in a nutshell, people.

Day Three

The Padres completed a trade for Huston Street, officially taking him off the board for the Orioles. Street is an expensive and injury prone reliever, and would have been the fourth or fifth most expensive player on a mediocre O's team. The upside wasn't there, and so I blew a sigh of relief at the news that he would not be an Oriole in 2012.

The Orioles moved on to talking with Texas (widely recognized as the only trade partner) about sending Koji Uehara back to Baltimore. Nothing more was really reported on that front, other than that the Red Sox were also in on Koji, which would certainly up the price for the reliever.

Meanwhile, more Adam Jones talk surfaced, linking him to the Nationals. Dan Duquette was quick to squash those rumors, saying explicitly that he wants to build around Jones and not trade him. If the way he squashed rumors about Jason Varitek and David Ortiz (who has re-upped with Boston) are any indication, reporters will continue to talk about Adam Jones being traded for another week at least.

Day Four (Today, with updates if more stuff breaks after posting)

The Orioles picked up a couple of players in the Rule 5 Draft, headlined by infielder Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs organization. Not too much to say about these picks, except that they are all real long shots to stick around much less contribute in a meaningful way. Nobody was taken from the franchise in the draft, though Greg Miclat was sent to Texas to complete the Taylor Teagarden trade.

The Orioles did consummate another trade, though not an exciting one, and arguably a bad one: Minor League pitcher Jarret Martin and outfielder Tyler Henson for Dodgers pitcher Dana Eveland. Eveland is not very good, and is coming to the AL East, and is entering his arbitration years, and was a strong non-tender candidate for LA. Why give up anything for a guy like that?

It reminds me of that time the Orioles traded Chris Britton for Jaret Wright. Glad to see we're repeating embracing Orioles history here.

* * * * *

Whew. That's a lot of stuff. Some of it weird. Some of it potentially maddening. Some of it perhaps enlightening. And none of it has brought about any actual change yet. Are we having fun yet?

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