Keep Your Eyes On Detroit and Baltimore

The Baltimore Orioles are acting strangely like a contending team even though they're anything but. Meanwhile, in Detroit, the Tigers are certainly in the hunt and want to make their upstart team even better in the next couple of weeks.

What is up with the Baltimore Orioles? They're out of the playoff picture completely, but they're looking to deal for players that other teams want to put them over the top. So, why are the Orioles looking at both Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu? Easy. They're both signed long-term and wouldn't be rented players. That would give the Orioles puzzle pieces to build around for the future.

The Orioles first choice is Pat Burrell. While the word is that there is no way Burrell would waive his no-trade clause and head for Baltimore, his agent was just coincidentally in Baltimore on Tuesday. In other words, there might be a way that Burrell would waive that clause and take a trip down I-95 to set up shop in Baltimore. All of Burrell's contract money is guaranteed, so there is no discussing picking up an option year on the deal, but perhaps, there could be talk about adding an option year to the contract. Maybe that would make Baltimore a little more attractive to Burrell.

Another option for Baltimore is Bobby Abreu. Odds aren't great that he'll wind up in Baltimore, since he's 32 and the Orioles would like to add a slightly younger bat to their lineup. The Orioles haven't counted Abreu out, but dealing with the Phillies right now is somewhat of a back-burner issue in Baltimore for now.

Abreu meanwhile may be the most talked about player on the market and Detroit is doing a lot of talking. "The Tigers know they need another bat, and a veteran from the left side like Abreu fits the bill," said Paul Wezner of The Tigers have some decent prospects to throw around, which intrigues the Phillies. "The key will be, are the Phillies going to try and add some legit prospects and have the other club eat his contract, or will it just be one or the other?" asked Wezner. The Phillies may pick up part of Abreu's deal, but would prefer to clear the contract and get slightly lesser prospects. They've backed off of insisting on Joel Zumaya or Jordan Tata as part of the trade, meaning that they'll probably look to the Tigers to be signing the bulk of Abreu's future paychecks. Instead, the Phillies are asking about Zach Miner and outfielder Marcus Thames. Again, Detroit would rather include Craig Monroe than Thames, but haven't said "no" to including the young outfield prospect who is coming into his own this season.

The Tigers are also talking to Washington about Alfonso Soriano, but he's definitely Plan B. He would be a two month rental player and the Nationals are insisting on three quality prospects in exchange.

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