The Orioles were once again quiet in the Winter Meetings on Wednesday, but Dan Duquette still managed to provide some interesting news in his evening session with the local beat writers:
Duquette also said Hardy extension talks "under consideration" and there's mutual interest— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 11, 2013
After seeing the shortstop market this off-season and what probably awaits the Orioles next season, this is an exciting bit of news. You have to wonder whether that would keep Manny Machado permanently installed at third base or if the O's would swap those players over the next year.
There's not likely to be anyone better than Hardy for either shortstop or third base in the near future, in any case. If they get a fair price for both sides, that would at least be something positive this offseason.
Will the Orioles do anything over the next day or two?
Orioles made a few offers today, to pitchers and position players. Duquette noted they lost a few guys today off their board.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) December 11, 2013
Two of the players who came off the board likely included Logan Morrison, traded to the Mariners, and Bartolo Colon, who reportedly agreed on a two-year, $20 million contract with the Mets. The O's had been reported to be interested in both of those guys, but as with everything else so far, that interest has amounted to nothing.
The offers extended today were said to include both starters and relievers as well as hitters. Duquette provided no specifics to the beat writers and the beat writers provided no specifics because the national writers scoop them on every story anyway. "Our effort's been there," he told reporters, because effort with nothing to show for it is going to win so many games next season.
There was at least one player this off-season where the Orioles struck while the iron was hot:
Webb said #orioles were 1st team to contact him, that played a big role in signing with o's.— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) December 11, 2013
That's new O's reliever Ryan Webb, whose 57% career ground ball rate looks pretty good anywhere. Not a signing that was talked about a lot, but the O's had the eye on someone they wanted and they got him. Lower down in the market, I guess that's an important factor in stuff getting done.
Tuesday, Duquette said there had not been any discussions this week with Scott Boras concerning either Chris Davis or Matt Wieters. Addressing a gaggle of reporters this afternoon, Boras provided his thoughts:
Scott Boras said he'd expect to talk to Peter Angelos about extensions for Wieters and Davis. Says talks to Duquette 2-3 times a month.— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 11, 2013
Probably because I've seen The Wire too many times, I imagine that Scott Boras going directly to Peter Angelos will end up similarly for the Orioles as did Stringer Bell's investments with State Senator Clay Davis. Sheeeeeee-it.
Actually, it could simply be that it would be necessary to involve Angelos because that would require an expansion of the payroll, which is something that many fans, myself included, would like to see. A Matt Wieters extension is not as exciting of a possibility as it once was, but when you look at the free agent market, holding on to Wieters for the right price doesn't sound bad. Just don't overpay him as if he was the player he was hyped to be.
The idea of a Davis extension is also exciting. It's probably necessary to do this off-season, as well, because waiting for another year closer to free agency means that the payday for being the only power bat at the top of the market will be even closer. What kind of contract do you think Davis might be in line for in two years? What would be reasonable to give him now?
As amazing as his 2013 season was, there's no way to know how close he'll come to replicating it, or how long he might continue to perform at a high level.
Duquette is listening to you:
Duquette on fans: "There is no secret we'd like 2 be able to add players to our club because there is such an intense interest in the team."— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) December 11, 2013
It's a meaningless platitude, but still one that it's nice to hear a GM-type say. The important thing is not to make decisions with the fans in mind. When you make a move and it's justified as being an excitement for fans, that's how you get broken-down Vladimir Guerrero batting cleanup for a whole season at $7.5 million.
Say, were you hoping the Orioles might sign Shin-Soo Choo? This is the latest on that front:
General sense among teams involved in Shin-Soon Choo sweepstakes is whichever team goes eight years will land him. Believed to have seven.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 11, 2013
There is no way anyone should like the idea of eight years of Choo. Good grief. Boras always seems to get his contract. He probably will in this case as well. Hopefully it won't be from the Orioles. Which goes back to the idea of why extensions now for Wieters and Davis are worth considering, though neither is likely to come cheap. Still, that's cheaper than they'd be two years from now, when every team in baseball can bid on them.
On Thursday, you can look forward (?) to the Rule 5 draft. Duquette predicted that there would be a lot of trades in baseball across the rest of the week because the market has been set, but it didn't sound like the O's would be making those trades.