O'S Get Outfielder Freel For Catcher Ramon Hernandez

Phil SpainContributor IDecember 9, 2008

Andy McPhail could be described as a Gamblin' Man.

McPhail came to the Orioles in 2007 with one thing in mind: Rebuilding the Orioles. He began laying the groundwork for that last offseason with the trade of Pitcher Erik Bedard to Seattle for outfielder Adam Jones, and the trade of shortstop Miguel Tejada to the Astros for outfielder Luke Scott, and pitchers Troy Patton and Matt Albers.

The Orioles were competitive for the first half of the 2008 season, but the strain of injuries and poor pitching led them to a 68-93 finish, worst in the AL East, and their second worst losing season in the last 11 years.

Going into the 2008 offseason, the Orioles have a few things on their Pre-Christmas wish list. At the top of that list is a Shortstop. The Orioles have expressed intrest in Shortstop Cesar Izturis, who played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. They were also thought to be in contention for Khalil Greene, but that deal soured as the O's were not willing to give up Pitcher Garrett Olson.

Baseball's winter Meetings began Monday, and McPhail has already made a move, sending Catcher Ramon Hernandez and Cash to the Cincinnati Reds for Outfielder Ryan Freel and two mid-level prospects. This trade allows the Orioles to make a path for 2007 First Round Pick, Catcher Matt Wieters. Freel, who played in only 40 Games last season, will be a platoon player with Outfielder Luke Scott. Freel, as reported by ESPN is excited that the Orioles are excited to have him.

The Orioles have also been in touch with the Agents for free agent Japanese Pitchers Kenshin Kawakami and Koji Uehara about being the O's number four or five starter, as scouts believe that is where they will fit.