O’s emphasis mainly on pitching, Duquette on the slow winter
While teams around baseball have been filling out their rosters with free-agent signings and trades, the Orioles have been exceptionally quiet.
The club’s biggest move this offseason has been the re-signing of outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year deal, with smaller trades for infielder Yamaico Navarro and outfielder Trayvon Robinson — along with several waiver claims and Minor League signings — doing little to generate much buzz around the 2013 team.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Thursday he is still exploring potential additions before Spring Training starts next month, with the emphasis shifted more toward pitching, and he remains intent on holding on to the team’s young nucleus and is unmoved by public perception.
“We looked around the industry for that middle-of-the-order bat,” Duquette said. “There was one free agent that was a significant player. There have been some other players available in a trade that I’m not sure they were better than what we had, and the cost of the acquisition has been a little pricey for us.”
Cost is another word the Orioles’ fanbase has bemoaned, with the team’s payroll set to stay in the same range as last season. Baltimore has a host of arbitration-eligible players, leaving little wiggle room to add impact players in free agency. While rival clubs in the American League East, most notably Toronto and Boston, have made winter headlines, the Orioles, who have been involved in a fair amount of trade rumors, haven’t been willing to pull the trigger and deal away what opposing teams covet most: their young pitching.
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