A few notes
A few things while most of you nurse that Ravens hangover…
*The Orioles released 25-year-old outfielder Kyle Hudson, who is now a free agent. Hudson was designated for assignment when the Orioles signed lefty Wei-yin Chen.
*A few more Prince Fielder rumors today, with the Nationals reportedly coming close to offering Fielder a deal (per ESPN’s Jim Bowden on Twitter) and the Orioles still very interested (per MLB.com’s Jim Duquette’s Twitter).
Are the Orioles in on Prince? Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette didn’t do much to quiet speculation at Saturday’s Fanfest when asked where things stand.
“Are we going to get him? I don’t know,” Duquette said of Fielder, a Scott Boras client who is believed to be out of the O’s price range unless his asking price drops. “But if we don’t, we’ll look for someone just like him.”
I’ve thought all along the Orioles remained a serious longshot to get Fielder and maintain that the market would have to fall for him to choose to come to Baltimore. But we saw last year how the Vladimir Guerrero rumor started, got laughed off and than the O’s swooped in and offered what no one else would.
So, what am I saying? You can’t ever rule anything out completely. Duquette has added pitching depth and it’s fair to say the club is allocating resources (or trying to) to upgrade positionally if possible. But they have yet to meet with Fielder –which would mean things were serious — and there’s been no whispers of the idea of offering a deal with Spring Training just around the corner.
“We should be able to sign a few more players to supplement our roster, players we can at least take a look at in camp,” Duquette said Saturday of any moves on the horizon. “We’ll continue to work on improving our roster. That never stops, really, but I think there’s a good opportunity to add a few more players here in the next couple of weeks.”
*According to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, the Rays are interested in middle infielder Jeff Keppinger, who was non-tendered by the Giants this winter. I’ve always thought the Orioles would benefit from adding a guy like Keppinger as more insurance for Brian Roberts. Or you could sign him and see what you can get on the trade market for Robert Andino, who executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said has drawn considerable interest. I know the Orioles met with Keppinger’s camp in Dallas, but am not sure how much of that was due diligence versus actual interest.
Another interesting name still available as a potential flexible DH option is Wilson Betemit.
He has rebounded from a terrible season in Chicago by spending the last two years with Kansas City and Detroit, hitting a combined.290 with a .838 OPS. Betemit is primarily a corner infielder, but could play the outfield if needed. Is he a big, powerful DH? No. But he’s not a past his prime veteran (such as Johnny Damon or Manny Ramirez) , and the 30-year-old Betemit has a career .817 OPS against right-handed pitching.
*Speaking of the offseason and trade/free agent rumors, I’m working up an inbox for Orioles.com to run on Tuesday. Hit me with any Orioles’ related questions heading into camp at email@example.com. Please include your name/hometown. Thanks!
*The Diamondbacks claimed former Orioles backup catcher Craig Tatum off waivers from Houston today, according to ESPN’s Keith Law.