Orioles off-season: “Steee-riiiiiikke one!” as Martinez signs with Tigers

November 23, 2010 | Drew Forrester

Step up to the “depends on which story you believe” table and grab a seat.

Settle in.

Baseball’s winter hot stove in Baltimore is officially cooking.

For what it’s worth, the next two months could actually be more interesting than the baseball games the team plays.

Will they?

Or won’t they?

According to reports out today, the Orioles “won’t they” on multi-purpose switch hitter Victor Martinez, who has evidently eschewed a 4-year, $48 million dollar offer from Andy MacPhail in lieu of two million more dollars and a gorgeous view of the Detroit skyline for the next four years.

Really?

The Orioles lost out on Victor Martinez over $2 million dollars?

I don’t buy it…no pun intended.

As bad as the team has been and as desperate for good players as they are, I’m not buying that Andy MacPhail let Martinez get away for $500,000 a year between now and 2014.

Either someone’s not telling the truth in the Martinez camp (possible) or someone’s not telling the truth in the MacPhail camp (highly possible) or the person “reporting” this news didn’t get completely accurate information (definitely possible).

Did Martinez’s agent call MacPhail back last night and say, “We have $50 mil on the table from the Tigers. Victor says give him $54 million and he’s there.”??

Could that have happened?

Sure.

And if it did happen that way, MacPhail could have countered with more money or said, simply, “we’ve made the fairest offer we’re going to make…take it or leave it.”

Martinez left it.

The consensus from a lot of the kool-aid drinkers in town will be this: “Good, I’m glad Martinez turned us down, that’s $48 million we can save and spend on someone else.”

The only problem?

The kool-aid drinkers don’t run the baseball team (thank God) and they don’t spend the team’s money.

The Orioles EVIDENTLY wanted Victor Martinez.

They wanted him because he’s a good baseball player. He’s not a great player, but he’s better than just about anyone they have on the team right now, save maybe for Nick Markakis.

Victor Martinez would have been a good signing for the Orioles. A great signing? No. But a good signing? A signing that shows the team actually IS trying to improve? Sure, it would have been a good signing in that regard.

And they apparently lost him over $2 million dollars or thereabouts, since it’s rational to believe they would have needed to pay more than $50 million to convince him to come to baseball’s version of the Carolina Panthers.

So that’s one down and a bunch more to go, I assume.

Who’s the next guy who will thumb his nose at MacPhail? Beltre? Dunn? Konerko?

Personally, I hope they sign two of those three. Any of them would be a good fit in Baltimore, where top level baseball players are as rare as a courteous, respectful Philadelphia Flyers fan.

If they don’t sign Beltre, or Dunn, or Konerko – some combination thereof – you can ring those up as strike 2 and 3.

Today, the Birds took strike one.

It was a $48 million dollar swing-and-miss.

But it wasn’t much of a surprise.

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