BOCA RATON, Fla. – Dan Duquette arrived late Monday afternoon for the annual General Manager’s meetings. Duquette has a lot of work to do here.
Two of Duquette’s top deputies, Tripp Norton and Ned Rice, are also at the meetings.
The Orioles will try and lay the groundwork for trades and perhaps meet with some agents for potential free agent signings.
Rarely do deals come together here. That happens more often at the Winter Meetings, which will be held four weeks from now in Nashville, Tenn.
The GM meetings include seminars on arbitration and rules and it’s a time for the top baseball people to talk without the sometimes circuslike atmosphere of next month’s gathering.
Duquette could face the loss of up to six free agents, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Darren O’Day, Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce and Matt Wieters.
He’ll use these meetings to think about possible replacements. Early scuttlebutt has O’Day, as expected, to be a popular name.
In a weak market for relief pitchers, O’Day is easily the best, and he has no compensation attached to him.
The Orioles extended qualifying offers to Chen, Davis and Wieters. They’ll have until Friday at 5 p.m. to accept it, or as widely expected, to reject it.
Their market may not heat up until after the time for qualifying offers ends.
In Duquette’s four years with the Orioles, he’s been an active trader, though most of his big deals have come at the trade deadline. In his first year, he did deal Jeremy Guthrie on the eve of his arbitration hearing in Feb. 2012 and last year acquired outfielder Travis Snider in January.
If the free agents depart, the Orioles will presumably need another starting pitcher, bullpen help, a new first baseman, some outfielders and perhaps a veteran catcher to backup Caleb Joseph.
Even if Parra and Pearce re-sign, the Orioles still need some outfield help because they have few choices from their farm system. Dariel Alvarez is their top prospect, and he played the last five weeks of the season, but got in only 12 games. He started just once in the last 15 games.
The highlight of Monday was New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s impromptu gathering where he answered questions wearing exercise clothes. Cashman had two hordes of writers to deal with, those who cover the Yankees regularly and Japanese writers eager for news about Masahiro Tanaka.
Joe Torre, MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, arrived shortly before Duquette did. He was ushered far away from the several dozen writers eager for news.