Ramon Traded! Freel to the O’s! Izturis signed! Excitement!

The Winter Meetings have kicked off  and the O’s are getting some stuff done.

Don’t let the door hit you…

First up, Ramon Hernandez was_traded_to_the_Reds_with_cash for Ryan Freel and 2 minor leaguers. Congrads to Andy MacPhail for getting 3 players for a lackadaisical catcher with a noodle arm.

The O’s wanted to get rid of Ramon because of his contract, his_bad_habits,_game_calling,   and to clear the catcher’s spot for Matt Wieters. Wieters probably won’t break camp with the club, but would be up soon after. Which means the O’s need another catcher, one who’s got some experience.

From Ken Rosenthal today:

The Orioles’ trade of Ramon Hernandez to the Reds left them with 27 pitchers but no catchers on their 40-man roster.

The team likely will try to acquire a veteran on a short-term contract — the type of player who could serve as a mentor to the club’s No. 1 prospect, catcher Matt Wieters. The Orioles do not plan for Wieters to open the season as their everyday catcher.

Ryan Freel, the sole major leaguer the Orioles acquired from the Reds, likely will serve as a platoon left fielder and backup at second base, third and center field.

Rick Dempsey’s nephew Greg Zaun and Michael Barrett are the names that I’ve seen floating around out there. Zaun would work because he’s a good defensive catcher and could play a good mentor to Wieters. I’ll hate to watch Zaun play when his Uncle Rick is calling the game. Barrett…well, he’s a former Cub so MacPhail would probably consider him.

So for Ramon, we get Ryan_Freel. His numbers are a bit lower than I had thought, but I’d still take him for Ramon. Freel can play a lot of positions, all 3 OF, 2nd, and 3rd. He can be the bench guy that the O’s haven’t had. He’s a free agent after the season, so they’ve got that going.

The acquistion of Freel raises these questions:

1. With Freel being able to play OF, does this end the talk of trading Garrett Olson for Felix Pie?

2. Freel can play 2nd base and there’s still no talk about Brian Roberts getting a new contract. Could Freel be insurance in case Roberts is traded?

3. Could Freel be a buy low, sell high at the deadline type player?

The O’s also managed to get 2_prospects_from the Reds. I wonder if these are guys Wayne Krisky is high on. All in all, I think MacPhail did a good job on getting rid of player who had worn out his welcome and getting a decent return on him.

We Have a Shortstop!

Caesar Izturis signed_a_2_year_deal_with_the_O’s_today. Which is ok. I’d rather have him than Adam Everrett or Khalil Greene. Izturis is solidly medicore, which is a massive upgrade over the parade of jokers the O’s trotted out at short last season.

I didn’t realize he was just 28. For some reason I thought he was older. Anyways, it elimates the prospect of Brandon Fahey as starting shortstop so its a good deal.

Jon Garland is a little rich for my taste

The O’s need starters and Jon Garland is a decent pitcher who had a decent year last season. You can see why there’d be mutal interest. The two sides have talked but things have cooled as of late? Why? Peter Schmuck says its due to Garland_wanting_13_million_dollars_a_season_on a multi-year deal. I don’t want no part of Garland on those terms. I’m not really sure I want AJ Burdette on those terms either.

I’d prefer a 2 year deal with Ben Sheets with incentives and an  option for a third year. When healthy (he does…like Burdette have injury issues) Sheets is a great pitcher. But this is probably all for naught since we’ll be getting the immortal Paul Byrd or perhaps…..(segway here)

O’s  meet with Japanese pitchers agents again

The O’s met_with_the_agents_yesterday of Japanese pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara. The O’s are seriously about getting these guys and if they can pitch, I welcome them.

On that note, I saw this on Camden Chat yesterday:

Asked by a member of the Japanese media whether Orioles fans were ready for a pitcher from the Far East, MacPhail said: “I think Baltimore fans are ready for pitchers who get people out.”

That sums up the past decade when it comes to pitching. I’m guessing MacPhail is no fan of Daniel Cabrera.