September 21, 2012; Boston, MA USA; Baltimore Orioles general manager Dan Duquette in the dugout prior to a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Orioles provide a January surprise?

With the Baltimore Orioles hosting their annual FanFest tomorrow, I’m reminded of the 2010 event where the O’s announced in the middle of the day that they had signed Miguel Tejada to be the team’s third baseman that year. For the second consecutive year, the O’s have provided an off season that has been fairly underwhelming (to this point). So…might they have a trick or two up their sleeve during tomorrow’s events? If so, what personnel would potentially be involved?

First off, I don’t think for one moment that the Tejada signing in 2010 was planned in that they thought it would be nice to announce during FanFest. My personal belief was that events just broke like that at that time on that day. Granted I suspect that the timing of the announcement that Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette have been extended through 2018 is no coincidence with FanFest being this weekend, however there’s a big difference between a coach/GM (or even a beloved player) being extended and a major signing or trade going down.

With Michael Morse now officially having been traded to Seattle from Washington, many people feel that Justin Smoak could be on the trade block for Seattle. First off the question is whether or not Seattle’s looking to deal Smoak. If so, are the Orioles interested and would they pull the trigger? Smoak is a first baseman, however in looking at his career stats (both offensive and defensive) the Orioles might well decide that he’s no different than the in-house option they already have (Chris Davis). However he is a switch hitter, which could appeal to the Orioles. Oh and one other thing…Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters is one of his best friends!

Courtesy of Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

At yesterday’s press conference (which announced the extensions of Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette), Duquette seemed to indicate that the franchise was gearing itself more towards picking up a veteran starter at this point. We know they’ve been trying to sign Joe Saunders since the beginning of free agency, and it appears that Saunders is very interested in coming back to Baltimore. It’s just a question of terms, money, etc. Saunders was a huge part of the final month-and-a-half of last season for the Orioles, and he’ll of course go down in history as the first winning pitcher in 15 years for the Orioles in a post season game.

With all of that said, I hope that Oriole fans don’t show up to the convention center tomorrow thinking and assuming that the team is going to do something similar to the Tejada signing. I feel that a trade for someone like Smoak would probably be more of a splash than the team singing someone like Saunders, however keep in mind that if they went that route they would also be sending someone back to another team. Ultimately I think that if a trade/signing happens to get consummated while Orioles fans are congregated on the floor of the convention center, it’ll get done. If not, then it might happen at a later date. This is all part of the hot stove season in baseball!

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Justin Smoak

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