From the Washington Post’s Jorge Arangure Jr. and Barry Svrluga.

The Baltimore Orioles, according to a team source, began preliminary discussions with Washington Nationals left fielder Alfonso Soriano , and were floored by the free agent’s initial contract outline.

According to the source, Soriano is seeking a deal similar to the seven-year, $119 million deal given to center fielder Carlos Beltran by the New York Mets before the 2005 season. It’s unlikely the Orioles will be in the running for Soriano if he doesn’t back off those demands. Teams can start bidding on free agents on Nov. 12.

Before the O’s start crying poorhouse, they oughta be a little more creative. Perhaps they could tell the converted left-fielder they’ve got a guy inhouse who gets great deals on B-12 shots?

San Diego has declined their $8 million option on Mike Piazza for 2007. While it seems unlikely Metal Mike will be unemployed next spring, there’s always a spot on Eddie Trunk’s couch. You’d think he’d get it cleaned, but you know how bachelors are.