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Day 2: Catching market update 12.09.08 at 3:35 pm ET
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The market for Jason Varitek may have further narrowed on Tuesday, with the news that the Orioles had traded Ramon Hernandez to the Reds for Ryan Freel. The Reds were one of the teams interested in a veteran catcher; that market is now dry. The Orioles, according to a baseball source, are looking for a short-term place-holder/tutor for superprospect Matt Wieters, whom Baltimore believes could play in the majors sometime this year. While Varitek could offer a theoretical fit on a short-term, short-dollar contract, the more likely scenario would appear to be the Orioles pursuing someone like Gregg Zaun.

WEEI.com’s Lou Merloni talked with American League East officials who confirmed that the Orioles view Wieters as ready to assume a starting role sometime in 2009, and that Baltimore does not view Varitek as a fit.

The Reds, like the Red Sox, had been exploring the trade market for catchers. With both Detroit and Cincinnati now out of that picture, the teams with catching to deal (Arizona, Cleveland, Texas) would appear to have a more limited field of potential partners.

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