Offseason rumors and innuendos 11/8

It’s that fun part of the year where we can forgot about last year’s team, get rid of some of the declining and underachievers, and reload with players who could…just maybe..possibly…help turn the O’s back in the winners.

The first batch of rumors after the GM meeting are out and oh, they’re fun.

First from SI’s Jon_Heyman:

DANA POINT, Calif. — The Dodgers’ two year-offer to Manny Ramirez — believed to be for about $45 million — is very unlikely to lead to a quick deal between the sides, or perhaps any deal.

The sides are so far apart that the Blue Jays, Orioles and perhaps the Yankees and other teams likely have moved ahead of the Dodgers in terms of their chances to win the services of the mercurial superstar. Those outside teams aren’t eligible to make offers until Nov. 14, but the Dodgers have thus far failed to get a jump start on the others with a proposal so far below Ramirez’s asking price that Manny is likely thinking more seriously about outside options now.

Yesterday I about fell out my chair on seeing that. The O’s signing Manny makes no sense. Why would a rebuilding team with Andy MacPhail as GM (pitching and defense) sign a 38 year-old outfielding with a spotty track record and declining defense. He could always DH, but it doesn’t seem like MacPhail’s MO to spend the big big big big money to sign Manny Ramerez. If the team was one player away and needed a big bat, that’s one thing. But when you’re 3 position players and 4 starting pitchers away signing a Manny is an illogical luxury.

It’s not going to happen. Maybe it was just a token bid. Perhaps if Manny grew in Maryland though and had those rich local ties then maybe it would make sense.

Now from Roch_,who_talked_to_Jeff_Zrebiec_and_passes_this_along:

Anyway, Zrebiec – who still bears a striking resemblance to Placido Polanco – predicts that the Orioles will “take it on the chin” and eat catcher Ramon Hernandez’s contract.

Hernandez already has stated that he doesn’t want to play first base with free agency approaching, and the Orioles want to clear room for Matt Wieters and rid themselves of a player who’s worn out his welcome.

Also, if he had to guess, Zrebiec believes Cesar Izturis will be the Opening Day shortstop in 2009.

Along with the news, we are privy to the token Roch joke. Happy day. Anyways, Ramon Hernandez will be gone. Its just a matter of how much money they end up eatting. I figured with Matt Wieters, Superstar coming up next season Ramon would be gone. With his declining play and since apparently he’s worn out his welcome, it’ll happen sooner. I hope rather than just dumping him, the team can get a trade worked out. Ramon won’t net the team much on the surface in a trade, but if they could match up with a team and traded for a struggling starting pitcher with a similar bloated price tag, that would be nice. If the pitcher gets it together, then its a great move. If he stinks, cut him and break even because Hernandez would have been cut anway.

Caesar Izturis, Starting Shortsop 2009? Gag me now. Izturis is one of those guys who seems to have played forever but he’s only 28 and he’s another one of those all glove and not much bat fellows.

For the record, he’s a lifetime_.260_hitter. I shouldn’t complain though. After last season, Izturis would be a massive upgrade at short. Juan Castro was fine defensively, but an automatic out at the plate. Alex Cintron had bad range and medicore defense, Brandon Fahey is Brandon Fahey, and Luis Hernandez was in ‘a longterm fielding slump.’

I will say that I would take Izturis over another rumored shortstop on market, Khalil_Thabit_Greene. There’s talk that Greene’s available and if you check out his numbers you can see why. Greene played his college ball at Clemson, so I like him for that but I don’t want him at short next season.

And Roch follows up with this:

And finally, in response to Zrebiec’s notebook item in today’s Sun concerning Danys Baez’s interest in joining the rotation, I break it down this way:

Baez as a starter: Bad idea.

Baez preparing as a starter: Good idea.

I see no harm in Baez stretching out his arm and working on all his pitches in spring training. At the least, he returns to the bullpen with the ability to enter games early and eat up innings, since the backend seems pretty crowded if George Sherrill, Chris Ray, Jim Johnson and Jamie Walker all return.

I agree. Baez couldn’t make it through one inning of relief and now he wants to try to pitch 6 innings in a game. That’s a stretch. Coming over major surgery and preparing as a starter would be good for his arm, I won’t criticize that. The problem is the bullpen won’t have much room for Baez and he’s smart enough to realize that. Ray will probably go back to closing, Johnson to set up, and Sherrill back in specialist role. I don’t think Walker is lock to be back after the past season. The rotation is threadbare so, he’s trying to get playing time some how. Man, that was a bad contract.

To recap, there’s a possibility (no matter how remote) that the 2009 Orioles will have Manny Ramirez playing in LF/DH, Caesar Izturis at short, Danys Baez starting, and paying Ramon Hernandez to go away. Offseason talk is big fun.

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