A NOTEworthy Baseball Winter Meetings Day

December 03, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

I remember when “baseball winter meetings” time was the most significant period of the baseball offseason. It was the time when Hank Peters and company always tried to come home with at least one shiny, free agent “holiday” gift for the rabid Baltimore sports fan.

And, of course there’d always be a minor trade of some kind.

But there was always that feeling that has now been lost in Baltimore for baseball: HOPE!

Now, the baseball winter meetings are upon us and you can break it down any way you like: Andy McPhail will find out just how hard his job is this week, where it appears he could easily come home empty handed (or worse yet, fleeced!) with the sorry hand he’s been dealt taking this lousy job at The Warehouse.

Here’s my handicapping of the situation:

Jay Payton: They’ll have to pay to get rid of him…literally

Jay Gibbons: They could pay to get rid of him…and still not!

Aubrey Huff: I have no idea how they could possibly allow him back into the same uniform Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson wore, but again, they are the Orioles. It’s unthinkable that McPhail could leave Nashville with this clown on the roster, but I have no viable scenario (other than picking up all of the $16 million remaining) for how in the world could they get rid of him this week?

Miguel Tejada: A trade that two years too late could be coming, but who is going to take on the $14 million a year and give you something useful in return? In the end, they’ll “gift” him somewhere where he’ll beat us regularly in 2008.

Ramon Hernandez: They’ll ask for more than they’ll ever get. I think he’s staying, which might not be a bad thing because he’s decent. (BTW: The Mitchell report is coming at some point…isn’t it?)

Daniel Cabrera: Un-tradeble, unless you just want to dump him. He’s worthless on the market for all of the reasons the Orioles would want to dump him for coffee and doughnuts.

Erik Bedard: To me, this is the no-brainer. A guy who is perpetually miserable here that would bring a nice return. I’d deal him to the highest bidder, because he’s not re-signing here. And he’s certainly not helping them sell any tickets, either.

(Opinion: If you really want to know why the Orioles have sucked for the past decade, you can take a look at the sheer volume of overpriced, leftover stiffs they’ve signed, but don’t look past the “held onto potential free agents too long and got nothing in return” line of reasoning. Bedard is in that category. I’d be SHOCKED if he’s dealt, because this ownership has patently refused to deal their stock when it’s high, but it would be the right move if he is.)

Melvin Mora: He has a no-trade clause and is on the decline vs. his salary. The market would be soft for Mora even if they could deal him, and they wouldn’t get much in return given that the accepting team would have to pay his salary and give up talent.

Kevin Millar: The Orioles were the only team who wanted him two years ago. What has changed, other than an October cameo with the Red Sox?

At least they don’t have to worry about angering the season ticket holders and fans with an unpopular deal for Bedard or Tejada. The fans here are long past the point where they’ll notice if the team actually deals a handful of its best players.

To me, it’s all talk until some of these stiffs and malcontents are moved. I’ll believe it when I see it.

And as much as Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis and Jeremy Guthrie look safe, if McPhail’s TRULY in charge, these would be the very guys who would bring the bounty/value in return.
 
As far as watching the Orioles and following them as a fan goes, this might be the most interesting few days of their year. At least we don’t know the outcome before the “game” begins.

The one thing you can count on for the 2008 Orioles: they will not play one meaningful game during the MLB season. So, if it’s drama you want, here’s hoping McPhail delivers a “shakeup” of some kind in Nashville this week.

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Isn’t HD television great for lip reading?

Just yesterday, seeing Ben Roethlisberger whine about how wet the ball was when the game began…

And seeing Eli Manning drop F-bomb after F-bomb, no doubt parroting what every Giants fan was saying after each of his many gaffes yesterday. The crazy part? The Bears and Rex Grossman sucked worse!

I kinda like those days when the Ravens play on Monday night, the ones where I get to lay around the house and watch football all day on Sunday without moving from my living room.

It was a double bonus yesterday: watching the Eagles choke away the ending and the Redskins (and Joe Gibbs no less) give the game away against the Bills was a joyous Sunday in my world!

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Art Modell is never getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame

It’s hard for me to write these words, but that’s just the truth.

I have talked to many, many people involved in the NFL, the Hall of Fame, the committee, people “in the know.”

The Hall of Fame is really kind of screwed up. Honestly, I’m boycotting the place because they don’t have a grip on reality in Canton, Ohio.

The Baltimore Colts championships are noted in Indianapolis. The way they’ve conveniently “moved” Baltimore’s football history. And the way the voting is done for Hall of Famers is a joke, really.
 
It’s a small committee of folks in the “boys’ club” who all have an agenda and a pre-conceived idea about what’s going on.

The mere fact that a only a handful of media representatives vote (Scott Garceau is our guy locally) and that the players, coaches and front office personnel (who have forgotten more than any sports writer or broadcaster) DON’T have a voice, is just insane.

It’s almost as stupid as the BCS voting.

But I’ll save that for another day.

At least Maryland, at 6-6, got that bowl bid they so richly deserved!

See ya at the game tonight.

(Dress warm and bring your 12th man A-game! We’re gonna need it!)

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