President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told reporters tonight that he never made an offer to free-agent first basemen Carlos Pena or Paul Konerko.
MacPhail met with their respective agents, but he insisted that no offers followed those discussions. He knew after one conversation that Konerko wasn't leaving Chicago.
Pena told a few reporters earlier today that the Orioles made an offer, but agent Scott Boras passed that information to him. MacPhail said he met with Boras once here, "but no offers were exchanged."
Also, MacPhail met with the Rays (Jason Bartlett), Twins (J.J. Hardy) and Cardinals (Brendan Ryan) today in his continuing pursuit of a shortstop. He also met with Cesar Izturis' agent. It's now being reported that Bartlett has been traded to the Padres.
MacPhail said it was "doubtful" that any deals would be struck tonight.
A few more points:
* The Orioles didn't send a representative to watch Maggio Ordonez's workout, which contradicts a report that they're in the running for the veteran outfielder.
* MacPhail said he didn't think Luke Scott would be fined by the club for his controversial remarks about President Obama. Not that he's pleased with them.
* Nothing new to report on the Koji Uehara negotiations. MacPhail blamed the time difference in Japan, which "slows things down by a day for us."
* The Orioles have met with the representatives for a few of the free-agent designated hitters, just in case they can't find a suitable bat for first base. It's fair to speculate about Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome and Hideki Matsui. Again, that's not their first choice, but they're running out of options. One internal move would involve moving Scott to first base if a full-time DH is signed.
* The Orioles have the fourth selection in tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, and they're interested in a few players who could be available. It's also possible that they use their pick as a trade chip.
This is MacPhail's response when asked about his offer to Pena and the first baseman's decision to sign with the Cubs:
"Well, we would have been disappointed if we really made an offer. I don't know what to tell you. You asked I answered."
On Luke Scott's comments about President Obama:
"This is a country that allows free speech for all, no matter how goofy we might think their free speech is. It does raise opinions."
On whether the club will discipline Scott:
"We would prefer that, when he speaks as a baseball player at the winter meetings, and in some respects representing the Orioles, that he would confine his remarks to baseball and whatever his opinion is there. He didn't, but I don't know if that's a finable offense in this country."
On whether he was surprised by Scott's comments:
"I was surprised that he chose that format to explain it."
On whether he was close to any deals today:
"We had a busy day today. Hopefully, we'll be able to have some things come to fruition, but we don't have anything done yet."
On whether he'd be disappointed if he leaves these meetings with Mark Reynolds being his only acquisition:
"It would depend. Not if we laid the groundwork for things that would happen subsequently."
On whether the only shortstop options involve a trade or re-signing Izturis:
"That's probably right."
On whether he still feels good about being able to upgrade the bullpen:
"Yeah, we're working at it, whether it happens soon or whenever. It's one of the areas we've tried to be aggressive about improving."
On whether he's more likely to make a deal back in Baltimore if he can't get something done before the Rule 5 draft:
"Our flights are like 3:30. We still would have some time tomorrow. We're not jumping out of here on noon flights after the Rule 5."