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O’s interested in Crisp?

Free-agent outfielder Coco Crisp caused a stir late Monday night when he changed his Twitter photo to one of him wearing an Orioles uniform as a child, furthering rumors that he has decided to sign with Baltimore. CBS Sports reported earlier on Monday that Crisp could be headed to a “mystery team” that possibly was the Orioles, although the report was unconfirmed.

On Tuesday morning, CBS’ Jon Heyman tweeted that the O’s are unlikely to be Crisp’s next team: “While Orioles talked to Crisp’s agent, it sounds like it’s not them (I need a new crystal ball). Not a perfect fit for Baltimore.”

Crisp’s agent, Steve Comte, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the outfielder had already made his decision on Monday evening and just had to inform the team.

If Crisp had decided on Baltimore, it would be an interesting choice given that Adam Jones is the O’s current center fielder. The move could free up a trade for Jones, considered one of the Orioles’ prized players, or could mean a position change for either player. Jones has been involved in several trade rumors this winter, most recently with the Atlanta Braves, and the Orioles would almost definitely need to get a haul of high-quality pitching as a return in any deal.

– Brittany Ghiroli

Os acquire Eveland from Dodgers

The Orioles have acquired left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland from the Los Angeles Dodgers, a source confirmed to MLB.com.

Fox Sports was the first to report there was a deal in place, and details are still emerging as to what the Orioles are sending the Dodgers way. Eveland, a non-tender candidate, likely wouldn’t command much –probably a Minor Leaguer or two — and he helps bolster an Orioles pitching staff that is in dire need of some upgrades and depth.

–Brittany Ghiroli

Orioles hope talks lead to Thursday trades

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette just met with the Orioles media and seemed pretty certain he’d be able to pull off “a deal or two” before leaving Dallas Thursday night.

Duquette, who said the team “didn’t get much feedback” on their free-agent offers (they met with several more agents Wednesday and have offers out to pitchers and positions players),  also said the club has been discussing several trades that would net them pitching. He didn’t anticipate a trade occurring until at least tomorrow morning, saying only that these things take time and it’s a process that involves putting a considerable amount at stake.

Given that Duquette has said the last few days that there are more relievers on the trade market than starters, my guess is they upgrade the bullpen following Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.

As for the payroll –and the perceived notion that Baltimore can’t compete in the American League East with their financial constraints– Duquette said the organization’s budget doesn’t matter.

“There’s appropriate funding to field a competitive team here, but we have to make good choices,” Duquette said.

“It doesn’t matter what the budget is. It doesn’t matter to the fans. They are interested in seeing the product, they are interested in seeing the players. And our job is to put the best team we can, within the constraints of the market. So, you are not going to hear me talk about the budget or numbers. Because it’s, to me, it’s not important to the fans. They want to see a good product.”

Hale expected to leave Boston for Orioles

It’s Day 3 of the Winter Meetings here in Dallas — the last full day of activity since Thursday is just the Rule 5 Draft — and the Orioles remain hopeful they can swing a deal.

They did get closer on the coaching front, with manager Buck Showalter’s staff all but official as of late Tuesday night. The holdup was over bench coach DeMarlo Hale, who is under contract in Boston for next season but is expected to negotiate a deal that frees him up to join the Orioles as third base coach.

ESPN Boston first reported that Hale was out as bench coach, news that hardly comes as a shock given the managerial change from Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine.  Hale, who is close with both Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, will join a staff that include hitting coach Jim Presley, pitching coach Rick Adair, bench coach John Russell and bullpen coach Bill Castro.

The expectation is once the two sides work out a contract, the Orioles will officially unveil their entire staff. The Baltimore Sun was the first to report the Orioles interest in Hale.

–Brittany Ghiroli

 

Orioles notes: Quentin, Erbe, Cespedes etc.

Here are some quick hits from tonight’s meeting with executive VP Dan Duquette…

*The Orioles advanced several trade proposals –most of which are pitching – and also have offers out to several free agents. Some of those offers are out to position players and some to pitchers, Duquette wouldn’t get into specifics.

*He did note that the Orioles were in on Minnesota’s Kevin Slowely before he was traded to the Rockies earlier today, and Baltimore has met several times with the Chicago White Sox as well. Asked about Carlos Quentin, Duquette said it was an interesting name, but wouldn’t comment any further.

*The Orioles resigned right-handed pitcher Brandon Erbe to a Minor League deal. Erbe, a local product, was released by the organization earlier this month.

*Duquette seemed relatively confident he will make a deal before these meetings are over, and he also noted that the team has several things in the works that involve different players, meaning they aren’t restricted to make just one trade. All things the Orioles are trying to do involve fortifying their Major League club. So while it’s possible they get a prospect or two in a potential trade, don’t look for it to be the centerpiece of their return.

*And finally, one more note that didn’t come out of Duquette’s session: executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira  and manager Buck Showalter will go to the Dominican Republic later this week, with the plan being to watch free-agent outfielder Yoennis Cespedes workout on Saturday. MLB.com’s national reporter Jesse Sanchez breaks down the market for Cespedes here.

–Brittany Ghiroli

Orioles looking to trade for arms

The Orioles want to make a trade to upgrade their pitching staff, but the problem is they don’t really have any trade chips.

Executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said yesterday that Matt Wieters,  Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are players he wants to build around and the team also isn’t in a spot to trade away their young pitching

They have received heavy interest on Robert Andino and could see if a team will overpay. But they also need an Andino-type on the team, not just as a utility infielder, but as a possible starting second baseman. No one knows if Brian Roberts will be ready to start the season, and –even if he is — it’s impossible to predict if he’ll be able to stay healthy and productive over a 162-game grind.

Jeremy Guthrie is the Orioles best trade chip, with the Rockies and Angels among the interested parties. But keep in mind he’s thrown 200 innings in the last three seasons and guys like that don’t exactly grow on trees. Given the current state of the Orioles rotation, it’s hard to justify trading away Guthrie. The organization would have to get some quality pitching back in return for Guthrie.

–Brittany Ghiroli

Orioles not likely in on Fielder, Johnson drawing interest

Here’s your latest roundup of Orioles rumors from this morning…

*While executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette didn’t shoot down interest in Prince Fielder in talking to MASN today, it’s not believed to be on the Orioles’ immediate agenda. The team needs pitching badly, and Fielder –while an enticing free-agent for the O’s – isn’t someone they are pursuing heavily. I’m told his name didn’t even come up at this morning’s briefing.

*What name is coming up all around baseball is Jim Johnson, who is a highly coveted reliever. Right now, the Orioles –who got a lot of activity on Johnson around the Trade Deadline – don’t seem intent on moving him although there’s plenty of interest already. Given the struggles of Kevin Gregg, Johnson is viewed as their closer if they can upgrade in the starting rotation.

*Former Orioles player Brady Anderson, who has been around the club as a special advisor of sorts, will be taking on an increased organizational role. There’s no official word yet on what his duties will cover, but it figures to include some scouting and some conditioning-type work.

*Also, I noted the other day in a blog post that there were rumblings over medical issues with Koren reliever Chong Tae-Hyon. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted earlier that the Orioles remain confident a deal will get down once they work through some medical issues. So, sounds like that’s heading in the right direction.

–Brittany Ghiroli

Reports: Orioles in talks w. Rangers for Teagarden

The Orioles search for a backup to catcher Matt Wieters could be over soon. Multiple reports on Thursday had Baltimore deep in talks with Texas regarding former top prospect Taylor Teagarden. A defensive minded catcher who is out of options, Teagarden wouldn’t command a large price, probably a Minor Leaguer or two, and would help add depth to the Orioles’ 40-man roster, which doesn’t have any catcher other than Wieters.

Just 25 years old, Wieters was selected to his first All-Star game last year but manager Buck Showalter would prefer to give the young backstop more rest this season. Wieters played in 139 games in 2010.  The Baltimore Sun was the first to report that the two sides were in talks, and right now there is no deal in place although that could change in a hurry. The market for free agent catchers has been one of the most active in the early weeks of the Hot Stove season and new executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has made it no secret that it’s a positional hole he’d like to fill as soon as possible.

–Brittany Ghiroli

Orioles make it official w. Antonelli, closing in on Chong?

First, I wanted to note that the Orioles made it official in signing free agent infielder Matt Antonelli today. He is expected to compete for a job in Spring Training and will be used at second and third base.

And there could be more news on the way. Multiple reports on Monday had the Orioles in talks with Koren submariner Chong Tae-hyon. A free agent, Tae-hyon wouldn’t have to be posted and he would presumably be added to an Orioles’ bullpen that figures to undergo some vast changes this offseason.

As of early Monday evening, no deal has been reached with Chong, although word out of Korea is it’s a done deal pending medicals. New executive vice president of baseball Dan Duquette said in his initial press conference he was going to be aggressive internationally, and this would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Duquette didn’t comment on the reports that internationally that a deal with Chong is done but he did confirm that the club has a high level of interest in him, noting his pinpoint control and success on the world stage (most recently at the World Baseball Classic) as very intriguing.

“He has a lifetime ERA under 2,” Duquette said of Chong. “[A] unqiue delivery. He has gotten results on the world stage when its counted.”

Chong has started earlier in his career, but Duquette said the Orioles interest would be in using him as a late-inning arm.

–Brittany Ghiroli

J.J. Hardy’s future in Baltimore

It’s  no secret that the Orioles would prefer to sign shortstop J.J. Hardy to an extension rather than dealing him at the Trade Deadline, a scenario that would take place only if the two sides can’t reach an agreement.

Hardy, who is represented by LSW Baseball, won’t sign a deal that’s any less than three years and, according to a Tweet from ESPN’s Buster Olney, the two sides are talking about a contract in the $21-25 million range.

Hardy, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Minnesota, is making 5.85 million this year and will be a free agent at season’s end.

He’s never played with anything but a year-to-year contract and given that he has had an injury-prone career –most recently missing a month to start the season — signing an extension would give him stability. It would also help plug a hole for the Orioles, who are already looking at needing a first baseman, at least two starters and possibly other options at left field and second base.

Top shortstop prospect Manny Machado is believed to be about two years away, and if the Orioles are unable to extend Hardy they’d have to add shortstop to a long list of concerns. Either way, they will know before the Trade Deadline where thing stand with Hardy, although several recent reports have been positive the two sides can reach a deal.

–Brittany Ghiroli

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