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News » Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2008-10-26

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2008-10-26

Baltimore Orioles Inside Pitch 2008-10-26
The Orioles don't have many key free agents of their own this offseason, so much of the winter will be dedicated to exploring contract extensions with some of the club's young, established talent.

Outfielder Nick Markakis and second baseman Brian Roberts are two of the club's biggest in-house contract priorities. Markakis, 24, is under the club's control for the foreseeable future. But Roberts, 31, will be a free agent after the 2009 season, and the Orioles would like to explore an extension before taking trade offers for the switch-hitting leadoff man.

Orioles president Andy MacPhail is a creature of schedule, preferring to allot time to specific tasks. He sees the contract discussions as an early-offseason activity.

"I think that's something that will come prior to the winter meetings," MacPhail told The Sun after the team's organizational meetings in early October.

Roberts has said repeatedly in years past that he'd prefer to remain in Baltimore, but the club's dedication to winning in the near future is likely to play a role in his willingness to sign a long-term deal. Markakis wanted to sign a long-term contract in spring training, and he was upset when the sides were unable to reach an agreement.

Should the Orioles fail to come to an agreement with Roberts, it's likely they will listen to trade offers. Roberts was the rumored centerpiece of a handful of trades last winter, with the Chicago Cubs as the Orioles' most oft-reported partner.

Markakis, meanwhile, is the focal point of MacPhail's rebuilding process. He's going nowhere.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: October 26, 2008

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