The Baltimore Orioles finally broke their silence at the winter meetings, but it was not the loud roar Orioles fans were hoping for; however, it was a move the fans did want as the O's re-signed OF Nate McLouth.
McLouth, who became somewhat of a fan favorite in Baltimore after he joined the ball club late last season and was the only Orioles offensive player to show up in the ALDS against the Yankees. The Orioles inked McLouth to a one year, $2 million deal with incentives that could increase his salary another $500,000. In 55 games with the O's last season he hit .268 with seven homers, 18 RBI and 12 stolen bases and he hit .308 with one homer, five RBI and three stolen bases in the postseason. McLouth and Nolan Reimold will likely platoon in left field if Reimold can stay on the baseball field. By signing Nate, the Orioles are now obviously out on Nick Swisher now, and executive VP/GM Dan Duquette after the McLouth signing was asked if he was still looking for a first baseman he mentioned,
"Chris Davis can play there, as for DH, he mentioned Betemit and Valencia. The team has some options with players we have in place."
After hearing that, I immediately got the feeling that the Orioles were done, and that seemed to be the case. They made some more signings, but no Major League contracts. Baltimore signed their first Czech player in the 18 year old left handed pitcher Jan Novak, as the O's dive into the European market. Baltimore also signed eight players to minor league contracts with invites to spring training which includes outfielders Conor Jackson, Lew Ford, Jason Pridie, catchers Allan De San Miguel, Jose Gill, Chris Robinson, and right handed pitchers Adam Russell and Daniel McCutchen.
Conor Jackson is a former Arizona Diamonback first round pick who had a couple good years in Arizona but has faded away to irrelevance over the last few years. Jackson could be this year's McLouth as an out of no where contributor, but if he were to get an opportunity it would come from either he lighting it up in Norfolk or an injury plagued Orioles line-up.
Today is the final day of the winter meetings and the Rule 5 draft is the highlight of the day, which will take place this morning. Orioles101 will keep you up to date on any news coming from Nashville, and last year the Orioles picked up Ryan Flaherty in the rule 5 draft.
The Orioles once again have seemed to let down fans at the winter meetings, but this year is different because Baltimore is coming off of their first winning season and postseason appearance in 15 years, thus fans had much higher expectations from this front office. It is apparent that owner Peter Angelos does not care that the AL East is even tougher now after Toronto and Boston have made great moves this offseason to legitimately make the division a five team race. Angelos' motto of spend little and expect a lot, but if we lose, just make sure I am making money has not changed and it is unfortunate for Orioles fans, the greatest fans in sports.
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