Orioles take Brian Roberts deal with Cubs off the table?

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Baltimore president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told reporters in Ft. Lauderdale Wednesday that a Brian Roberts deal with the Cubs is off the table.

"We worked at it this long and we don't have deal," MacPhail said. "There's other sides characterizing it as an impasse. You make the judgment."

The Cubs have privately been saying Wednesday what MacPhail just laid out for the media. They feel they've done everything possible to acquire Roberts, but after nearly four months of stalemated talks, there's no reason to believe a deal could happen by Opening Day.

And if it doesn't happen by Opening Day, it probably won't happen until July, at which point the entire baseball universe could be changed.

So the Cubs will go with Ryan Theriot as their leadoff man and Mark DeRosa as their second baseman. When left-handers are starting, manager Lou Piniella said Wednesday morning that he may bat Kosuke Fukudome first.

But look for Piniella to go with Reed Johnson leading off against lefties at the outset of the season, so as not to put added pressure on Fukudome, who has had a sub-par spring.

Anyways, the Roberts deal was good while it lasted, providing us with endless speculation from the media, fans and players alike. DeRosa joked to Piniella that this has been the worst month of his life: heart surgery, an inner ear infection, and -- this just in -- a laptop that fried out after he spilled water on it.

Piniella assured DeRosa that life was good, as DeRosa obviously knows.

Now DeRosa should be able to rest in peace for the first time since the winter meetings in Nashville in early December, when the Brian Roberts rumors began.

http://blogs.chicagosports.chicagotribu ... o-rob.html

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