December 2010

Hernandez speaks about the trade

David Hernandez went into this offseason never expecting to be traded. He joked he thought he’d be in Birdland for life.

But today’s trade for Mark Reynolds has Hernandez and reliever Kam Mickolio on their way to Arizona. I just got off the phone with David, who is still in shock. But here’s what he said..

“It’s bittersweet,” Hernandez said of being traded.  “I have a weird feeling,  I don’t know what to expect. But at the
same time its exciting ill be close to home [California] all my family will bea able to
come out.

The only bad thing is all the relationships and friendships I’ve made since
2005. I’ve made a lot of friends through the years.”

[On leaving the Orioles]

“I thought I was going to be there to see them turn it around in the next 3
or 4 years,” Hernandez said. “It’s something I wanted to do. But it just didn’t work out.”

“It’s always good when other teams value you, it makes you feel
like you are definitely needed and wanted. I look at it as a fresh start.”

Orioles land Reynolds

The Orioles have agreed to a trade with the Diamondbacks, pending a physical, that sends Mark Reynolds to the O’s in exchange for relievers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.

More to come on Orioles.com

Orioles closing in on Reynolds, Lee reports overblown

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said the O’s are “making progress” in trade talks with the Diamondbacks, a swap that would net the Orioles Mark Reynolds.

Update: The Orioles and Diamondbacks are closing in on a trade. It would involve Kam Mickolio and David Hernandez.

MacPhail declined to discuss specifics of the trade, but it would likely involve an arm since Arizona needs pitching. I wrote yesterday that the Dbacks are really high on David Hernandez –they’ve tried to get him twice — so he’s a strong option to be dealt.

It’s important to note that the trade is not official and not close to being official yet. As MacPhail pointed out, trades have a tendency to break down at the last minute.

 “We have a few things going and you never really know when you are going to be able to reach across and do something,” MacPhail said. “We have a variety of things and what comes to fruition and when you just don’t know.”

Also, the Derrek Lee report –that the Os are closing in on a deal — is highly overblown. MacPhail and a separate Orioles source both confirmed that the report is extremey premature. There’s interest in the O’s, but nothing to signify that they are near a deal.

Welcome to the Winter Meetings

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Baseball’s Winter Meetings officially begin on Monday, but Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail just with the Baltimore media.Check the site for that story later on, and if you missed it my Winter Meetings primer is up there as well.

When asked if the Nationals signing Werth put any more pressure on the Orioles to be aggressive MacPhail said the team’s focus remains the same.

“We have to do those things that we think are in our best interest,” MacPhail said. “We have to do those things that we think make sense for the
Orioles.”

Here’s a few of the highlights…

-The Orioles had no interest in Werth. They did make offers to Adam Dunn and Victor Martinez and you get the sense now that they will try to explore a trade. Although there’s been a hefty amount of rumors floating around, MacPhail reiterated that the team will be “judicious” in holding on to their young starters. Unless it’s an offer so good they can’t pass up, they won’t part with any of those guys.

-After missing on Dunn and Martinez, could the O’s go another season without a premier slugger? It’s not completely out of the question. But you would think if they don’t get a cleanup hitter they will have to upgrade offensively at all three infield spots –short, third and first — from this season. The easiest route would have been signing a premiere free agent.

-The team feels good about their chances to resign Koji. They declined to offer him arbitration and reportedly his agent told Japanese reporters that six teams are interested. But the O’s have the money to match those offers and the added advantage of Koji being comfortable and acclimated to Baltimore.

-The bullpen remains a work in progress and the O’s could make a few additions over these next few days. The team has several offers out to free agents and it’s likely some of those are to relievers.

Orioles miss out on Dunn/non-tender Albers

This is becoming a reoccurring theme. The Orioles missed out on free-agent slugger Adam Dunn as multiple reporters Tweeted that he was headed to Chicago. It’s reportedly a four-year, $56-million deal and you can read more details on that here.

Apparently, Dunn’s arrival doesn’t close the door on Paul Konerko –another guy coveted by the O’s — rejoining the Sox either. As I blogged yesterday, a source close to Konerko all but ruled out him coming to Baltimore. Signing Dunn probably doesn’t change matters, although it might speed up Konerko’s signing.

An Orioles source confirmed the team made an offer to Dunn but, like Victor Martinez, they lost out. Dunn had said on record that he wanted four years, turning down the Nationals’ three-year offer earlier this season. He got that, but he didn’t get his other wish to stay in the National League and play full-time first base. I’m betting the White Sox did promise him some time in the field, with a possible platoon if Konerko returns. 

As for the Orioles remaining options, a group that includes Adrian Beltre, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche, although Beltre could be off the board soon. We know they offered deals to Martinez and Dunn, and were turned down twice. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have several other offers out there to the group mentioned above.

I’m starting to think their best route –if they don’t get Konerko — may be to make a trade. The Orioles have been linked several times to Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds. As is always the case, any trade talks would start with the Orioles young arms, in this case the Dbacks need bullpen help. Do you trade away the young guys? 

In other news, the O’s declined to offer a contract to right-handed reliever Matt Albers. This is hardly a shock. As I wrote yesterday, he was a candidate to be non-tendered.

He could resign with the Orioles at a reduced rate, but it’s unlikely he does. Teams always need extra bullpen help and he wasn’t due for a huge raise. It just came down to the Orioles thinking they could find better, and cheaper, options elsewhere.  Albers is now a free agent.

On Konerko…

The Orioles have made a “significant offer” to free agent Paul Konerko, according to Sirius XM’s Jim Bowden. Konerko is coming off a great season with the White Sox in which he hit .312 with 39 homers and 111 RBIs. He’s also a better defender than he’s given credit for and a great clubhouse guy.

But don’t get too excited yet. While it’s good to know the O’s are being aggressive –not just talking about being aggressive — Konerko has turned down the O’s before and there are indications that he will again. A source close to the situation said Konerko would prefer to play somewhere that trains in Arizona, where he can live at home for part of the year. He could also wait until fellow free agent slugger Adam Dunn is off the board to increase his options and market value.

The White Sox, where he spent the last dozen years, are still in the mix to bring back Konerko and Texas and the Diamonbacks are among those rumored to have interest. Konerko has said on the record that contract length isn’t that important to him, and there’s speculation that he’s not the type to choose the most money at this point in his career.

He left a lot of money on the table back in 2005 and could do it again.

Those that follow me on Twitter know he’s my top choice. It appears that with Victor Martinez off the market, he’s the Orioles top target as well.

The Orioles will not comment on negotiations –especially with MLB’s new rules to crack down on negotiating in the media — but their top priority is a power-hitting corner infielder, making free agents like Adrian Beltre, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Adam LaRoche and Adam Dunn all plausible targets. 

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