Roberts seeks closure on trade front
With rumors fading, second baseman wants definite resolution
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Brian Roberts addressed the media about the waning trade rumors surrounding him Thursday, but the two-time All-Star didn't feel much closure. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Wednesday that a Roberts trade is beginning to seem unlikely, and the second baseman seemed unsure of how to take the news.
"I don't know what the resolution is -- I haven't heard anything except what somebody told me," Roberts said Thursday. "[Andy and I] talked for two minutes here yesterday. 'Highly unlikely' doesn't seem like a resolution to me."
Roberts has been rumored to be headed to the Chicago Cubs since the Winter Meetings, and he knows that the Orioles have begun a rebuilding movement that endangers his status. MacPhail has said several times that he'll listen to offers for nearly all of his veterans, but he was especially frank on Tuesday.
"We continue to talk," McPhail said of the Cubs. "I think with each passing hour at this point, it's less and less likely. I just think it's less likely the further we get this close into it, the greater likelihood that we're going to start with what we have."
Roberts stole a career-high 50 bases last season and is undoubtedly Baltimore's best trade chip. The infielder acknowledged that MacPhail has kept him up-to-date, but said he's not sure how long his tenure will remain open-ended. And in the end, that's all Roberts wants -- to know where he'll be playing baseball for the foreseeable future.
"I'm here today," said Roberts, who is signed to a lucrative contract through the 2009 season. "That's all I know. I look at it the same way I've looked at it all year. If I'm here today, I'm here today."
Roberts said that he's recovered from a back injury and that he expects to play in Friday's Grapefruit League finale. He also said that he should be fine for Opening Day and that he doesn't expect to talk about trade rumors into the season.
"Once the season starts, I'm not dealing with it anymore," he said. "I have a job to do at that point."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.