Unable to decide on Delgado

It's become part of my winter routine. I file a blog entry, check the reader comments and do a search on Carlos Delgado to see whether he's playing in Puerto Rico.

So far, his stat line reads as follows:

Average: .000
Home runs: 0
RBIs: 0
Games: 0

Delgado is listed as a reserve on the Gigantes de Carolina roster in the Puerto Rican Winter League - which apparently means he reserves the right not to play.

The Orioles want to scout Delgado while deciding whether to sign another first baseman and start Garrett Atkins at third, or sign a third baseman and move Atkins to first. They figured that Delgado would take the field this month, but the most recent report projects that he'll remain inactive until the middle of January. Mets officials are confirming it.

The reason for the delay remains a mystery, though it's assumed that Delgado isn't physically ready after being limited to 26 games this season following hip surgery and a strained oblique.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, agent David Sloane told me via e-mail that he wouldn't be negotiating through the media. I'm not sure if that includes explanations for Delgado being idle.

The Orioles are letting the market play out - which hopefully won't replace "This is Birdland" as a slogan, though I'm not exactly in love with that one, either. They figure to be more patient with Delgado than other teams, including the Mets, but that patience could be stretched thin if we're approaching the end of the month.

Adam LaRoche and Hank Blalock are out there. Troy Glaus apparently is coming off the market, with the Braves nearing an agreement. Nick Johnson signed with the Yankees. Jim Thome can't play in the field without a La-Z-Boy. Aubrey Huff can't get into Camden Yards without a ticket.

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail reminded us yesterday of the "internal options" at first (Michael Aubrey, Rhyne Hughes, Brandon Snyder) and third (Ty Wigginton, Scott Moore), but he also expected to make a few more moves before heading to Sarasota.

We'll see how it plays out, just like the market. And we'll find out whether Delgado intends to play at all.

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