All quiet on O's front

MacPhail: Rebuilding plan in place, but no deals met team's demands

Trade deadline

August 01, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly | Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly,Sun reporters

SEATTLE - Despite not making any moves at baseball's nonwaiver trade deadline, Orioles president Andy MacPhail said yesterday that the plan to build for the future is still in place. It's just that he didn't believe any of the offers he fielded matched his inventory.

"We had opportunities to do something stupid, and we didn't do it," MacPhail said in a teleconference about an hour after the trade deadline passed.

On an afternoon that saw two potential Hall of Famers switch leagues - Cincinnati Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. to the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox's Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-way deal - the Orioles engaged in no substantial talks.

"It was really pretty quiet. I don't feel like we got terribly close," MacPhail said. "We didn't have one of those conversations marching toward a conclusion. We just didn't have that this particular time."

The Orioles' most intriguing commodities are All-Star closer George Sherrill, designated hitter Aubrey Huff and second baseman Brian Roberts. However, the Orioles were seeking two or three prospects for Sherrill and never got an offer they deemed suitable.

Viewed mostly as a DH and owed $8 million next season, Huff garnered little interest. As for Roberts, there was an industrywide perception that he either wasn't available or would cost too much.

"I wouldn't characterize it as being off-limits," MacPhail said of the possibility of trading Roberts. "Clearly, it was not something that intrigued us unless we got something back that made a lot of sense for us. And in Brian's case, that was a pretty high bar set. But I don't know it's accurate that I told people, 'He's off-limits, I am not doing it.' Because there were some clubs, and they called and expressed some interest. At the same time, I am not of the mind to give clubs false hope."

As many as 10 teams inquired about Sherrill, who has 30 saves in his first year as closer after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners in the Erik Bedard deal. MacPhail said there were 10 left-hand- ed relievers he thought would be dealt, and only two were. So supply might have exceeded demand.

That's fine with Sherrill, who said repeatedly that he wanted to remain an Oriole.

"It's a relief just because I know where I'm going to be now," Sherrill said yesterday after the deadline passed. "I'm very pleased with it. You want to concentrate on baseball and just go out and do your best every time out and not have anything else on your mind. I want to focus on finishing this year strong, and hopefully we can talk about doing something long-term in the offseason."

The Orioles maintained they didn't consider yesterday a hard deadline. Players can still be traded but now must pass through waivers without being claimed by another club. If claimed, the Orioles can revoke the waivers once or work out a deal with that club.

The belief is that several of the club's older parts - first baseman Kevin Millar, outfielder Jay Payton, catcher Ramon Hernandez and relievers Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker - will clear waivers and could be traded in August if there is a market.

"I hold out hope to the extent that it would be something that makes sense for us," said MacPhail, who traded veteran Steve Trachsel for three players in August last year. "I don't see there to be a benefit of making a deal for the sake of making a deal. I think that is where you can make trouble there. So my expectation might be, not unlike last year, we might have more activity in August than we would have in July."

Sherrill and Roberts most certainly would not make it through waivers and therefore will remain with the club at least until the offseason. MacPhail believes there will be a wider assortment of teams interested in making trades this winter because they will be more willing to give up players on their 25-man rosters.

"As it relates to all about the future, that hasn't really changed," MacPhail said. "There is nothing that happened today that [illustrates] ... we had some sort of philosophical shift. Our philosophy is the same.

"What happened today and over the last week is we just didn't find an intersection of self-interest between ourselves and another club."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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