Friday, November 14, 2008

The Free Agent Market and Where We Stand...

Today starts off what comes consider to be the second season in Major League Baseball -- the free agency period -- where teams will try to improve via signings, or perhaps flounder because of a player who doesn't work out.

Well, the action here does not take place on the field, but in boardrooms, offices, also on the internet, going back and forth via email and using up your cell phone minutes, and also the time-honored tradition of wining and dining.

With all the players out there available via free agency, where do the Orioles and so many teams stand?

For those who root for the black and the orange, will the money that the organization be enough to bring Mark Teixiera back home to Baltimore, or lure Maryland native A.J. Burnett? Or will the two men spurn the comforts of the familiar for riches and fame in larger markets?

Could we make a splash and shock many by signing Ben Sheets, Adam Dunn, Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe or a C.C. Sabathia (yeah, in our pipe dreams).

Do we have to drag through the bargain bin to find an arm or two, or three? Will we find a shortstop for the long haul -- among Orlando Cabrera, Rafael Furcal, Edgar Renteria and a cast of a dozen plus -- before pitchers and catchers report? Do we build through trades rather than open up the check book?

Do we finally extend Markakis? Does Brian Roberts finally get tired of the losing, turns down an extension and decides to move on? Will Daniel Cabrera get it on the mound and tap into his physical gifts to become what the Orioles need? What about not-so-much-youngsters Radhames Liz and Garrett Olsen possibly finding some consistency? Does Jamie Walker at his age bounce back? What will we see from Chris Ray and Danys Baez? What happens with George Sherrill?

Do we finally see Matt Wieters make the team or longtime minor league incumbent Nolan Reimold finally taste the major leagues?

Do we see the Orioles make an expected turnaround like the Rays? Or do they inch closer to .500, or stay stuck in neutral?

Will the economic state of America reach into the game? Do free agents -- aside from the cream of the crop -- see their contracts not turn out to be as expected? Do fans still come back to the Yard, or any other of the 29 ballparks in America, or stay away in droves?

The baseball world will be watching to see where everyone goes in the Second Season.

It can be frustrating, or fun; nevertheless, anyone who cares about baseball will be watching.

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