With the Yankees and Red Sox both remaining quiet this offseason -- well, minus the recent Montero-Pineda trade -- I was holding out hope that the AL East wouldn't end up getting that much more difficult going into 2012. The Yankees certainly look like a challenging team, but the Red Sox still have rotation issues and the Blue Jays and Orioles have remained relatively status quo.
Well, up until now. The Orioles are apparently seriously thinking about making a run at Prince Fielder, which is utterly baffling to me. Fielder would make the Orioles better, no question about it, and he'd help them for multiple years in the future. But the Orioles aren't close to contending; they have too many holes on their team and too many prospects that still haven't quite made it yet. Maybe they think they can compete in 2013 -- and hey, Fielder would help them then -- but that's a bit of a stretch in the AL East and would involve more than a bit of good fortune.
Sometimes signing a star player can work out for a struggling franchise, but if the Orioles are serious about Fielder, this looks eerily similar to the Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez signings back in 2004. Good players, but they aren't going to turn the team into a contender overnight.
In other Orioles news, they signed Wilson Betemit to a
one-year, two year major-league deal WITH an option. There are also grumblings that starter Brian Matusz is an entirely "different human" than he was a year ago this time, prompting the question: when did he become a shapeshifter? In all seriousness, I've always liked Matusz and wanted to see him reach his potential -- just not against the Rays -- so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is legit.
- To all those early morning radio hounds, Jason will be on the 1010 AM morning show at 8:30 this morning.
- So the mainstream media just now found out that the Rays are interested in Jeff Keppinger. Apparently we weren't crazy when we pointed out Keppinger's Twitter account last week and his suspicious "The Rays are talking with me" type tweets.
- It's official, Dave Cameron is a robot. The dude never blinks.
- Interested in the nitty gritty financial details of why the Red Sox traded Marco Scutaro? I didn't think so, but here's the link anyway. The luxury tax isn't necessarily straightforward, and trading Scutaro actually frees up a large chunk of space for the Sox.
- Historical Devil Rays alert: so Randy Winn can play some hoops. I'd never heard this story before, but he once sunk a half-court shot during a LA Clippers game and won himself a free car.
- Looking for more takes on the Carlos Pena signing? There are a number of them out there at this point, so read around.
- John Sickels ranks all 30 MLB farm system over at MinorLeagueBall; the Rays came in 7th.