Duquette on trade rumors, Lester and Harvey

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had a decidedly different stance in trade discussions when speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

While rumors swirled about the O’s heavy involvement in trying to acquire Red Sox ace Jon Lester, Duquette –who said Tuesday he was focused on pitching depth– didn’t shoot down the possibility.

“We’d be interested in adding pitchers that could help us at the top of our rotation,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be?”

Still, as of early Wednesday evening nothing appeared to be moving quickly on the Lester front. While most indications are Boston wants to deal Lester immediately, there are multiple suitors for him and the serious talks that happened between the Orioles and Red Sox earlier in the day hadn’t picked up much steam by Wednesday night. Duquette, who maintained that he wants to hang on to his top pitching prospects, also confirmed that Hunter Harvey has a right flexor mass injury -as first reported by MLB.com– and will miss the rest of the season. Asked how much the news changed trade talks, Duquette wouldn’t elaborate nor would he comment on any specific negotiations.

“We have a couple of active discussions,” he said. “We have some discussions that are no longer active from yesterday, so we’ve been able to see where we can make a trade and help our ballclub. Some of the long-term prospects for our pitching we think are very valuable for the long-term sustainability of the organization and I think that’s a real important component to have a good team year-in and year-out. I think with our young pitchers we would be conservative and we would try and give them a prolonged trial in the big leagues before we would trade them.”

Hunter joins Dylan Bundy, who is rehabbing back from Tommy John surgery, leaving 23-year-old Kevin Gausman as the only healthy member of the O’s top three pitching prospects. Gausman is currently part of the O’s rotation and it’s highly unlikely he would be dealt.

While Boston and Baltimore continue to engage in talks –the Red Sox recently scouted the O’s affiliate Delmarva– the Orioles also remain interested in acquiring the Cubs’ Emilio Bonafacio, who would help them fill their void for a left-handed hitting bat. A switch-hitter Bonafacio hits lefties extremely well.

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