Quick hits from Duquette
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette just held court with the media as well as new pitching coach Dave Wallance, bullpen coach Dom Chiti and manager Buck Showalter.
I’ll have plenty of notes/quotes up shortly on Orioles.com, but here are the highlights…
*The Orioles continued to search for a left-handed hitter today, exploring trade talks with several clubs and the free agent market. They have offers out to several free agent pitchers, starting and relief, but Duquette said they have made no new offers since coming to Orlando.
Asked if he felt confident the club would add a player in these next few days –excluding the Rule 5 Draft– Duquette said, “absolutely.”
*The team would like a designated hitter who could also play the field, so that Showalter can rotate that spot around if necessary.
*While the priority remains adding a left-handed hitter, they still have interest in some right-handed hitters. The O’s met with Nelson Cruz’s camp today, among others, and they’ll do their due diligence in meeting with everyone these next few days.
*It would be hard to see the team spend more than $6 million on a closer given that the whole purpose of trading Jim Johnson –projected to make $10 million– was to reallocate money elsewhere.
*Duquette said the Orioles aren’t ruling out guys who may not be ready in time for Spring Training and are still rehabbing back from injury, meaning reliever Joel Hanrahan and starter Gavin Floyd are still in play.
*Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are among those who will be invited to the team’s mini-camp in Sarasota, Fla. in Janaury. The camp will be mainly pitchers –Bundy will be throwing off flat ground by then– although guys who are arbitration-eligible cannot be invited.
*Seems pretty clear the Orioles will stretch out Brian Matusz and Kevin Gausman this spring, regardless of what roles they both end up playing on the team. Tommy Hunter, however, is not a given and he could remain in the bullpen.
*The Orioles out righted infielder Chord Phelps to Triple-A Norfolk today, leaving their 40-man roster at 37.
*Asked if the O’s could sacrifice a Draft pick to sign a qualifying free agent pitcher, such as Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez, Duquette said maybe.
*Would the Orioles have an issue signing a guy with PED issues, such as Cruz or starter Bartolo Colon? Duquette said that unfortunately those things have become part of the game and said the team has done “due diligence” on everyone. It seems really unlikely the team would sign either as Cruz is a right-handed hitter who would command a large chunk of money, and Colon –while he could sign on a one year deal– is said to be in the $10 million range. Bringing in either guy would also be an interesting, (i.e. unpopular) move in a clubhouse big on chemistry under Showalter.