Results tagged ‘ Carlos Pena ’

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. 

Report: V-Mart off the market

Ignacio Serrano, a reporter for Venezuela’s El Nacional, reported this morning that Victor Martinez is closing in on a four-year, $50 million contract with the Tigers.

According to Serrano, the Tigers outbid the Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles, who reportedly offered V-Mart four years at $48 million. Martinez would have been a great acquisition for the O’s given his power at the plate, versatility (they could have used him at first base, DH and to backup catcher Matt Wieters) and veteran experience.

This report should at least show some restless fans that the Orioles are making offers, even if most of them stay out of the media until after the fact. Martinez was a good fit but there were also indications that he wanted to catch full-time, which wouldn’t have been possible in Baltimore. Yes, the O’s were outbid. But their offer was hardly an arbitrary one.

Now the O’s must turn their attention elsewhere in filling a sorely-needed corner infield power bat, a list that includes Adrian Beltre, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Adam LaRoche, and Carlos Pena, should they choose to go the free agent route. 

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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High Praise for Matusz

Here are some thoughts about Brian Matusz’s outing tonight, which was truly a delight to watch.  

Rays manager Joe Maddon

“This guy is going to be good for a long time. He has a lot of weapons he’s poised, he gets good hitters out, he gets good hitters out all of the time. “

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena

“It was tough today for us. This guy, Matusz, came out just nasty. He was throwing strikes with everything in the zone. He was locating. He was very tough on us.”

“You can’t deny that the outing was stupendous by him. I know it didn’t go his way in the last inning that he threw, but one through seven he was just lights out.”

Orioles infielder Ty Wigginton

“I made the comment in the dugout, he was really fun to play in the field behind. When a pitchers hitting his spots like he is, as he’s releasing the ball you are starting to lean away and they are actually hitting it in that direction. He was on top of his game and it’s shame we couldn’t bail him out.”

Orioles manager Dave Trembley

“Matusz pitched about as good a game as you’re going to get. [He] had location, had a feel for all his pitches, worked ahead, worked quick, pitched down. Tremendous game.”

Here’s Matusz on his outing:

“I felt comfortable out there today. I was able to just relax and throw a lot of strikes and work fast. The changeup was a great strikeout pitch for me, but I felt the other pitches help set that up. I threw some good curveballs and some nice sliders and was working in and out with the fastball really well.”

“I still felt good going out in that 8th. It was just a couple of hits that went through the hole. That’s going to happen with a good team like Tampa. They don’t give in. Even if things aren’t going their way, they don’t give in. You could see they were able to string a couple of hits together and, unfortunately for us, they put them together at the right time. I still felt strong in that last inning. Looking back on it, I’d probably like to throw some different pitches but I still felt good overall. I felt strong and didn’t give in. 

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