Welcome to the Offseason

The San Francisco Giants are World Series Champions. I’m not sure how I feel about that just yet. Anyways, as soon as the last pitch was recorded 142 players filed for free agency. Here are the Orioles names, including Mark Hendrickson who has a club option that will be declined.

Of the names, Cesar Izturis and Ty Wigginton have the best chance of coming back although that depends on where the O’s find that big power bat. Even so, the team is not expected to sign any of their free agents in the newly-shortened five-day window. That means come Sunday the free agent market will really get going with other clubs allowed to negotiate. Here are the former Orioles who will hit the market…..

Cesar Izturis, SS
Julio Lugo, 2B BA
Kevin Millwood, SP
Corey Patterson OF
Koji Uehara  RP
Ty Wigginton, INF

Mark Hendrickson, RP

First and foremost the Orioles need a power bat, preferably one who plays a corner infield spot. Here are the 2011 first base free agents, with their age, according to the wonderful website MLB Trade Rumors:

Garrett Atkins (31)
Lance Berkman (35) – Type B
Russell Branyan (35) – $5MM mutual option
Jorge Cantu (29)
Adam Dunn (31) – Type A
Troy Glaus (34)
Eric Hinske (33)
Aubrey Huff (34) – Type B
Nick Johnson (32)
Paul Konerko (35) – Type A
Mark Kotsay (35)
Adam LaRoche (31) – $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout -Type B
Derrek Lee (35) – Type A
Melvin Mora (39)
Xavier Nady (32)
Lyle Overbay (34)
Carlos Pena (33) – Type B
Robb Quinlan (34)
Fernando Tatis (36)
Mike Sweeney (37)

*First and foremost, not a lot of power jumps off on this list. It’s not the Orioles only option (we’ll spend time looking at third base and shortstop options as well), but it’s a pretty uninspiring group given that the O’s want a middle-of-the-order bat. Do you take a gamble of Pena, who had a career-low year and struggled to bat .200? I’ve been told that Adam Dunn has no interest in coming here –he also prefers to play the field–, and according to ESPNChicago.com, the Diamondbacks will make signing Konerko an “offseason priority”. Huff was dealt away once, I’d be shocked if president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail made a serious effort to bring him back.  Berkman and Johnson struggled with injuries and declining numbers.
 
*Wigginton is also on this list, but resigning him hardly feels like a free agent acquisition so I took him off. He’s always an option, especially given that manager Buck Showalter loves hard-nosed players like Wiggy. 

*You can also note the line through Garrett Atkins’ name. No, he’s not retiring, but the Orioles definitely won’t gamble on him again. Look for Atkins who said he is open to signing a Minor League deal, to go back to the National League and hope to revive his career much like a Pat Burrell case.

*This blog is by no means meant to be exhaustive, just thought I’d get the Hot Stove talk started. I’m working on an inbox for later this week, so feel free to send your Orioles offseason questions my way. The Orioles Free Agent preview will be up later on the site and should help get the discussions going. Should be an interesting winter…

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