- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 10, 2008

BALTIMORE (AP) — The Baltimore Orioles had just completed another dreadful season when club president Andy MacPhail announced at the organizational meeting in October that no longer would the team seek to sign midlevel free agents in an effort to compete with New York and Boston in the American League East.

“He told us it was time to rebuild with youth, and that we might end up trading some of our better players,” manager Dave Trembley said. “But he said we would have to get quantity in return.”

MacPhail, appointed to the position last June after successful runs with the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins, determined that a complete overhaul was required to fix a franchise that has suffered through 10 straight losing seasons. If that meant adding another sub-.500 season (or two) to the ledger, then so be it.

And so, in December he traded former AL MVP Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros for five players, then worked another 5-for-1 trade Friday by shipping left-hander Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners.

Could second baseman Brian Roberts be next to go?

“We clearly did some things we thought we needed to do, and we’re always going to continue to evaluate circumstances as they come up if we think we can help advance the ball,” MacPhail said. “We are serious about wanting to win. Sometimes you have to pay the price for that. You have to be willing to make a short-term sacrifice. Being stuck in neutral and staying where we were, that to me was very untenable, very unattractive.”

During the previous offseason, the Orioles signed veterans Jay Payton, Aubrey Huff and Jamie Walker. This winter, MacPhail went after potential.

There is no way of knowing whether any of the 10 new players will turn out to be exceptional, or even decent. But the course has been set. The Orioles are in full rebuilding mode, and there’s no turning back now.

“This trade makes it very clear the direction we’re going,” Trembley said. “We’re rebuilding not only for this year, but years to come. I think in the end, Mr. MacPhail has set us on the course we need to be.”

For Tejada, the Orioles got outfielder Luke Scott, third baseman Mike Costanzo and pitchers Matt Albers, Troy Patton and Dennis Sarfate. For Bedard, Baltimore received outfielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill and three minor league pitchers: 19-year-old Chris Tillman, 20-year-old Tony Butler and 23-year-old Kam Mickolio.

“I believe all the players will make a significant contribution, not only this year but for years to come,” Trembley said.

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