And so it begins, the most nerve-wracking part of the Orioles offseason.
The Winter Meetings.
This week, O's fans usually have their sights set high, hoping for that one blockbuster trade that can hold them off until spring training. But most times, it's a week of never-ending frustration where a lot gets discussed, and nothing gets done.
These meetings are mostly a hype machine to get fans thinking about baseball again, a little more than a month after the end of the World Series as the NFL season heats up. There have been some big-name trades and signings made at these meetings in the past, but those have been few and far between.
Usually our perception of what goes on at these meetings aren't far from the truth. Baseball GM's get together, talk, drink coffee, play some golf, and then go home. It's likely no different than a vacuum cleaner sales convention. I wouldn't even be surprised if strippers were somehow involved. Maybe it gets the ball rolling for trades and signings later in the offseason, but overall, the meetings are nothing more than a hot-air balloon. Full of hot air.
OK, the bad puns end there.
Most GM's are content to play the waiting game at the winter meetings, and Andy MacPhail, in his first winter meetings as VPOBO of the Orioles, is no different. The are rumors flying around cyberspace as fast as you can type "LOL". But less than 1% of those rumors are bound to become reality. The same can be said of all other teams in the MLB too, so paranoid O's fans can rest assured and say "it's not just us" this time.
The one sliver of believable news that has been reported is that MacPhail has been aggressive in his trade offers, and at the same time is asking for too much in return, especially for Miguel Tejada.
I don't know if I am supposed to be happy or worried about this. On one hand, MacPhail is setting the bidding high, and can still come down from his mountain to get a valuable return -- but on the other hand -- he could be scaring potential suitors away with his high demands. The Orioles history of incompetence when it comes to trades surely doesn't help either.
But at least MacPhail sounds like he knows what he wants, which is more than we could ever say about the Flanagan/Beattie/Duquette regime. And when they did know what they wanted it usually ended with .500 baseball as the goal. Laughing that notion off was one of the first things MacPhail did when he came to Baltimore, and it instantly made me respect him. More props for AM when he said that the O's were far away from competing. Burnt you, Flanagan! But even more important, MacPhail apparently has the full trust of Peter Angelos.
So I do believe that O's fans can have some faith in Andy MacPhail, where we've had none before. But the winter meetings are nothing more than the device that is used most during the winter season. Heaters. They blow out a lot of hot air.
OK, so I lied.