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Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

January 23, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Orioles may still be in Prince Fielder sweepstakes

(Happy 63rd anniversary to my parents — and this is easier than sending a card. My dad is a faithful reader of this blog, and occasional commenter. No, he’s not Pedro Calderon. I don’t want to be hasty, but I think this marriage is going to last).

Also, I wanted to recommend this excellent article on Michael Pineda from the New York Daily News. The reporter, Christian Red, traveled to the Dominican Republic to talk to Pineda and his family. I’m still expecting the Pineda-to-the-Yankees trade to become official today).

It’s hard to know exactly what to believe in the Prince Fielder rumor mill — certainly not the twitter report last night that Fielder had agreed to an eight-year deal with the Nationals, and was heading to D.C. for his physical — but a new team is emerging as a potential candidate.

Well, not entirely new, but the Baltimore Orioles had mostly slipped off the Fielder radar as the Nationals and Rangers took center stage. I still believe Fielder will land with one of those two, but now it appears that the Orioles could be a player as well. The Orioles under owner Peter Angelos have been known to dabble in big-name free agents — they offered hometown hero Mark Teixeira a seven-year, $140-million deal a few years back — and, like the Mariners, they could certainly use a boost.

As with the Mariners, the Orioles’ recent record is not going to be appealing to Fielder — 14 consecutive losing seasons, unbelievably, in their case — but they can offer a few things the Mariners can’t that might appeal to him. They play in hitter-friendly Camden Yards, they’re much closer to his Florida home, and they train in Sarasota.

Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio tweeted this morning, “#Orioles are definitely in on PF – it remains to be seen if they’ll go to the “magic” number. But there’s plenty of motivation to sign him”

Duquette, remember, is not only a former Orioles’ general manager, he’s the cousin of their current GM, Dan Duquette. He’s also very well connected in baseball. I’d say he has definite credibility in this matter.

Dan Duquette, answering questions at the Orioles Fan Fest last weekend, didn’t dismiss the Orioles’ chances of signing Fielder when asked about it in a Q and A session. “Are we going to get him? I don’t know. If we don’t, we’ll look for someone just like him,” said Duquette, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. “There are some players that are attractive to us that we might be able to sign as a DH. That’s still possible.”

As for the Mariners and Fielder — and I know that’s what you really care about — the noise is diminishing. I’ve never believed it was likely, and now it’s looking dimmer and dimmer. But until he signs somewhere — and one of these days, this long, national nightmare is going to end — you can’t completely write it off. The latest word is that “multiple” teams are still in on Fielder.

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