Duquette on Jimenez, the DH search and if the Os are in win-now mode

Shortly after the Orioles formally introduced new pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, executive vice president of baseball operations held court on a host of topics regarding the organization’s present and future. I’ll have a full story up on Orioles.com shortly, but here are the highlights…

On how long the offseason was for him given that Orioles didn’t make any major moves…

“It took a lot of patience by the fans and a lot of patience by us to add veteran starting pitchers, but this is a robust market for the veteran starting pitchers. Every starting pitcher that we were in on, there were four or five other clubs also in on that pitcher actively trying to sign him with good offers. So, we were glad to get a quality starting pitcher in Jimenez and add him to our ballclub at this stage of his career. We think he’ll be a pretty solid addition for us.”
 
On the chances of an additional hitter…
 
“I wouldn’t handicap that. I can tell you we’re happy we were able to sign Yoon. We’ll be able to take a look at him. His proven experience and pitching will be an asset to the team. He was the youngest starting pitcher available on the market and Jimenez was one of the most dependable starting pitchers on the market, so we think between the two of them we’ll get some quality innings for our pitching staff.”
 
“We can continue to look, from the players we have here in camp and a couple of players who are still on the market, see if there’s a fit.”
 
On how tough the offseason was for him…
 
“If we went out and we signed these players in October and November, people would be saying, ‘The Orioles are addressing their needs. They are being aggressive. They’re adding good starting pitching. They’re ramping up their team for a run at the title. Well, we didn’t sign them in October, but by waiting we got contracts with these players that are good for the market, that are good for the team. People understand that we are building our team and ramping it up to be a contending team this season.”
 
On how important the fourth year of Jimenez’s contract was…
 
“The fourth year was a big step for the Orioles, but in light of Ubaldo’s dependability and his age, I think it was the right recommendation to invest in that fourth year for Ubaldo. I think we’ll be able to get a couple of very good years from him over the course of the contract.”

 
On how tough it was to lose a Draft pick and pool money for Jimenez…

 
“You know, it’s always a consideration. Getting the dependable starting pitcher is very important. Really, what we’ve done is we traded our 35th pick for Norris, who won 10 games last year, and we gave up our first pick this year for Ubaldo, who won 13 games last year. We made that conscious choice to put those resources into our current team on the starting pitching staff and that’s what we felt we had to do to stabilize our team and be competitive in the AL East.”
 
On if the Orioles have a window of success…

“We want to have a good team every year. We have some good established players here that should be in the prime years of their careers, so I understand what people say, but the opportunity is there to have a contending team and we feel we have do this.”

On if this means the Orioles are sending the “win now” message to fans…

“We want to contend every year but we made some conscious choices to put the resources into our pitching staff for this year. We like the core of our team. We like our core players. They are at the stage in their careers where they should continue to have good, solid years and we hope we built our pitching staff properly.”

On if this changes things for a Hardy/Davis/Wieters extension(s)…

“We want to have a competitive team year-in and year out. And we are going to do whatever we have to do to accomplish that. As far as the core players, we’ve made it clear that we want to sign the core players, the good dependable players to stay with the club. With that being said, we have to stay within the resources of the team and the market.”

On if the 55th pick does not matter as much anymore…

“Our expansion of our scouting on the international market and the additions and signings of Carlos Diaz, the first baseman we picked up from from Mexico City and Jomar Reyes, the top Dominican third baseman that we signed. I think that helps us continue to build the quality of the talent depth within our Minor League system. So, there’s other avenues in signing and bringing players into the organization other than just the Draft. Now, do we want to be giving up all our Draft picks every year? No, that’s not something we want to be doing long-term. But we made a conscious choice to do that this year to put the resources into our pitching staff with the core. We thought that was the right choice to make. Are we going to continue to be aggressive on international scouting? Yes we are. And we are going to be aggressive not just on the amateur market but also on the professional market in bringing in players like [Suk-min] Yoon, who can help our club.”

On if that pick would specifically preclude them from making another move in free agency…

“Every draft pick has a specific value and we take into consideration that specific value before we part with the Draft pick. and we did that in this case and we would do that on a case-by-case basis.”

2 Comments

Pingback: Day 8 news & notes « Britt's Bird Watch

Great that the Oriole are in “win-now mode.” Did anybody remember to call the Yanks and Sawx to tell them they need to go into “lose-now mode?” If not, there could still be a problem here.

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