Orioles Emerge As Favorite For Mark Reynolds, Pass On Konerko, Is Beltre Next?

Zachary BallAnalyst IDecember 4, 2010

Reynolds has developed into a serious power-threat since becoming an everyday player, averaging 30 home-runs per season since 2007.
Reynolds has developed into a serious power-threat since becoming an everyday player, averaging 30 home-runs per season since 2007.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Rumor has it that the Orioles have emerged as the front-runners for third-baseman Mark Reynolds.

Buster Olney reported the whispers this morning, confirming what Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman suspected last night.

So far, the only real pieces being discussed in a possible trade are Chris Tillman and David Hernandez, who has been linked to more teams this off-season than Adam Dunn.

Tillman, 22, emerged as one of the Orioles top prospects after coming over from Seattle in the trade that sent Erik Bedard to the Mariners. He made his big-league debut in 2009, and over the course of two seasons has posted a 4-10 record with a 5.63 ERA.

Hernandez, 25, began with the Orioles as a starter, dominating with a extremely deceptive delivery at every level of the minors. He arrived in Baltimore in 2009 also, struggling as a member of their rotation. However, he thrived last season after being moved to the bullpen, and that is where his future almost certainly lies.

It would likely take more than two players to get a deal done for Reynolds, who last season became the first player in Major League history to strike out more than 200 times in three consecutive seasons. Both sources believe that the Orioles side of the deal will be very "pitcher centric."

One would have to think that Tillman, Hernandez and possibly a lesser known arm, maybe like Ryan Berry or Wynn Pelzer could get the deal done.

The only two other teams really in on Reynolds are the Blue Jays (please God no) and the Padres, who if another set of rumors are true, aren't actively pursuing the slugger.

Reynolds hit a paltry .198 last season, making him the most sought-after hitter in history to fall short of the Mendoza line. He did, however, crank 32 homers, good for sixth in the N.L. last year. He also drove in 85 runs and walked a career-high 83 times.

Now, on to the news on the Konerko front.

The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec thinks that any interest the Orioles have had in Konerko has been extremely overblown, stating that "the next person I speak to in the organization who feels the O's have a shot at Konerko would be the first."

Meaning that the Orioles' dire need for a power-hitting, corner-infielder simply makes them one of the more plausible scenarios, not necessarily the most likely. Especially in the eyes of the O's front-office who missed out on Victor Martinez, and low-balled Adam Dunn, who spurned their offer to sign with the White Sox for $16 million more.

The longer Konerko remains a free agent, the more likely it appears that he will re-sign with the White Sox.

In other news outside the Charm City, the Red Sox have apparently agreed to a deal that would bring San Diego first-baseman Adrian Gonzalez to Beantown.

Most believe that this makes the likelihood of them bringing back Adrian Beltre very, very unlikely. 

But imagine if they had them both.

This makes me think the O's might make a serious run at Beltre. They could use a third-baseman a tad bit more than a guy at first anyways. Brandon Snyder should get his chance this season, and he could thrive, but I know one thing—he certainly won't thrive at third-base, where the Orioles best minor league hope is strikeout king Brandon Waring and on again-off again third-baseman Billy Rowell.

Beltre just makes too much sense to not consider.

He makes your team instantly better, gives you a legitimate middle-of-the-order presence, and offers solid defense. Not to mention the fact that he gives the O's some star-power and takes some of the attention off of their young core.