First basemen Konerko, Pena off the market for Orioles

MacPhail says club didn't make offers to either Chicago-bound player

December 08, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — — Two more free agent first basemen dropped off the board Wednesday when Paul Konerko, as expected, re-upped with the Chicago White Sox for three years and $37.5 million and former Tampa Bay Ray Carlos Pena signed a one-year $10 million deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Konerko and Pena were reportedly high on the Orioles' wish list to fill their void at first, but Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he never made either one a contract offer, despite reports to the contrary.

"We would have been disappointed had we really made an offer," MacPhail said about Pena signing elsewhere. "I don't know what else to tell you. I didn't make him an offer. You ask, I answer. … We had conversations with both. In Konerko's case, we were of the belief that he would end up going back to Chicago for a variety of reasons."

Pena, however, said the Orioles "were very aggressive" and he seriously considered them.

"I think it was very close actually," said Pena, who batted .196 with 28 homers and 84 RBIs last season "[The Orioles] showed extreme interest, but at the end of the day I thought this was the best fit for me. I thought the Cubs wanted me the most."

Boras talks Beltre, Fielder

Agent Scott Boras said he has told several teams that free agent Adrian Beltre is not interested in joining them, but he would not say whether the Orioles were one of those.

"There were a number of teams, when they came to us, we let them know that was not an environment we wanted to go into," Boras said. "If their general managers want to address that, I'll let them do that."

The Orioles have believed all along that Beltre has no interest in coming to Baltimore. That was his stance last offseason when he was a free agent.

Boras also represents Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who is a free agent at the end of 2011. If a team such as the Orioles could put together a trade package for the slugger, it likely would want to negotiate a long-term deal before surrendering young players to the Brewers. Boras said a decision on whether Fielder would talk long term with another team before a trade has not been determined.

"Prince is under contract with the Brewers, I don't talk about [those things]," Boras said. "If the Brewers, under their contractual rights, are going to come forward and address that, that's something I'd have to talk to Prince about at that time."

Rule 5 draft on Thursday

The Orioles have the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft Thursday, meaning they can select an eligible player not on another club's 40-man roster for a $50,000 fee. That player, however, must remain in the big leagues all season or be offered back to the first club for half the original price.

"We don't know exactly what's going to be there when we get there," MacPhail said. "We're interested in some of the guys that are out there. We don't know if they'll be there when we draft."

The Orioles also could select a player and then trade him to another organization — perhaps in a package to acquire a shortstop.

"That is an asset that we possess that we have talked about in different conversations," MacPhail said. "But right now we own the pick."

Around the horn

Free agent outfielder Magglio Ordonez held a workout Wednesday to show he was healthy; the Orioles did not attend it ... Boras said former Orioles starter Kevin Millwood has "multiple teams that are now looking at him." He did not specify which teams.

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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