Answering 1B, relievers, shortstop

*Carlos Pena and Paul Konerko are officially off the board, and although the Orioles had interest in both it was never expected they would land either. Pena’s price was too high and Konerko was always expected to return to the White Sox. Talks broke down last night, but they were able to agree on a deal that keeps Konerko in Chicago.

Pena told me that there was definite interest from the Orioles and they were in the mix as well as the Nationals and Mariners. His agent,  Scott Boras, sat down with the O’s at least once to discuss the possibility of coming to Baltimore, and he was open if the fit was right.  Pena also said the Blue Jays had some interest, but the Cub’s offer was the best.

Lots of conflicting reports about Adam LaRoche, who is now highly coveted, but as of 2 p.m. ET, he is still very much in play for the Orioles.

*As I reported yesterday, the Orioles are still in the market for a shortstop after the Jason Bartlett deal fell through. J.J. Hardy remains an option, as does Brendan Ryan and Cesar Izturis.  It’s been reported that the Orioles are engaged heavily in talks to acquire Hardy, and while I don’t discount that they are talking, the Twins might chose to wait until they can reach an agreement with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

The Twins would seek quality bullpen arms in return and the Orioles don’t have too many of those.  Minnesota isn’t going to just give Hardy away, but he’s due to make about $6 million in arbitration and if they sign Nishioka, he becomes expendable.

*The Orioles have offers out to several relievers and could be closing in on locking down some bullpen help. The O’s continue to be very optimistic that they will resign Koji Uehara and have met with his agent several times.

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