Friday, November 24, 2006

Carlos Lee Deal Leaves Orioles Options Narrowed

The Astros signing of free agent outfielder Carlos Lee leaves the Baltimore Orioles Hot Stove League position out in the cold, with the club's free agent outfielder pickings dwindling down to Aubrey Huff, J.D. Drew, Cliff Floyd, David Dellucci, Craig Wilson, Trot Nixon and a number of lesser luminaries, most of whom are problematic and none figuring prominently in the team's ongoing negotiations, with the possible exception of Drew. With a present outfield of Brandon Fahey, Corey Patterson and Nick Markakis, the Orioles hardly scare anyone, hence largely unprotected cleanup hitter Miguel Tejada's failure to reach the 30-homer plateau this past season. Missing out on yet another big bat, after refusing to pony up more than $100 million for Lee, the Orioles find themselves languishing along the wayside while Alfonso Soriano, Gary Matthews, Nomar Garciaparra, Moises Alou, Juan Pierre and others parade to alternate destinations. If the front office continues to hesitate to make a deal, desperation may force a move of Melvin Mora back to the outfield to make room for a new third baseman, maybe somebody like Pedro Feliz. Whoop-de-doo! For their fans' sakes, hope the Orioles play for a trade, shopping a prized young pitcher for someone of the caliber of the Reds Adam Dunn.