LAS VEGAS -- Let the meetings begin. Thirty teams converged on the Bellagio to begin wheeling and dealing that could make or break their upcoming season. Baltimore arrived at the Winter Meetings, which officially begin on Monday, in the hope of drastically altering its roster by either free-agent signings or trades.
The Orioles, who haven't signed a major free agent since Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez during the winter of 2003, are closely monitoring the situations of Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett. Both have geographic ties to Baltimore, and there is thought that either player could help the Orioles begin their movement out of a rebuilding phase.
Baltimore may still be active on the trade front, though, with second baseman Brian Roberts, catcher Ramon Hernandez and closer George Sherrill potentially switching cities. The Orioles may even listen to offers for designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who won the American League's Silver Slugger Award at that position this year.
The Winter Meetings kick off Monday, and the opening salvo is expected to be the retirement press conference of pitching giant Greg Maddux. Results of the Veterans' Committee Hall of Fame balloting will come in early Monday, and the broadcasting honors will be doled out to the Ford C. Frick Award winner on Tuesday. The Frick Award is given annually to a broadcaster who has made major contributions to baseball.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America will announce the winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award -- given annually to a writer who has contributed to baseball writing -- on Wednesday morning. Bob Elliott of the Ottawa Citizen, Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee and Dave Van Dyck from the Chicago Tribune are up for the award, which recognizes excellence over a long and distinguished journalistic career.
Major League Baseball is also expected to make an announcement about the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday, and then the Winter Meetings will close down with the league's Rule 5 Draft on Thursday morning.
The Orioles hope to add at least two starting pitchers this winter and are also in the market for a starting shortstop. Teixeira, a native of nearby Severna Park, has been on the wish list for several years but figures to be hotly courted. And Burnett, who lives in Monkton, Md., has said that he'd like to pitch close to home.
Baltimore wasn't really active at last year's Winter Meetings but wound up trading Tejada and staff ace Erik Bedard before Spring Training. Roberts was involved in several trade rumors last winter -- many of them linking him to the Chicago Cubs -- and is one year away from free agency, which may make him more apt to be dealt this time.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.