NEW YORK— Dan Duquette says that the Orioles are looking to be buyers—not sellers—as the non-waiver trade deadline nears.
“We’re still contenders for the playoffs, and we are going to approach our season as though we’re going to advance to the playoffs, so we’re going to continue to build and add to our team where we can,” Duquette said on Wednesday.
The Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations said that he doesn’t think the team’s philosophy will change over the next week regardless of the team’s performance.
“No. I don’t think so. I don’t think so because there’s a lot of baseball to be played and there’s a lot of teams in the hunt. When you’re a few games off the pace and you have a team that gels or you have a couple of additions that you make to your ballclub, and now you’re winning the close games, you can turn your season around, so we’re still in there. We’re still competing,” Duquette said.
Duquette said he’s focused on adding pitching and an outfield bat.
"I think we need more pitching and we need more production from the outfield,” Duquette said.
“We need more offensive production from our outfield, there’s no question about that, so if we can improve trade in that area, that’s something we need to take a look at.”
Duquette expressed surprise that there were reports the Orioles might listen on trade offers for Kevin Gausman.
"Really? Interesting. There's a lot of teams that are looking for pitching and the first place they look is for young pitching that's emerging at the major league level. Obviously, because they can have that player on their team for a long time and it would give them a solid foundation to any winning program, so that's why a lot of young starting pitchers are traded, but we're glad we've got Kevin,” Duquette said.
With Wei-Yin Chen a free agent after the season, Duquette said Gausman could be a key for next year’s rotation.
“That's possible, but I think the organization has to continue to develop pitchers and a lot of your very best young pitchers have developmental work to do when they get to the big leagues. It's important for us to continue to develop pitchers everywhere,” Duquette said.
The division race could be decided on what the AL East teams do between now and July 31, the non-waiver trade deadline.
“I think in the AL East, the playoff spots are going to won in the next six weeks between now and September 1st. The teams that are able to strengthen themselves and play well in that period of time will advance to the playoffs,” Duquette said.