SARASOTA, Fla. – Dan Duquette arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium complex on Saturday, and refused the opportunity to get specific about the Orioles’ reported interest in free agent pitcher Yovani Gallardo and outfielder Dexter Fowler.
“We’re still trying to add to our team and we have some more work to do. We’re still working on a couple of things that could help the ballclub,” Duquette said.
“It’s really hard to handicap whether you’re going to get a deal completed or not. So I try not to. Just keep working and trying to find the right fit for the team.”
For the past two weeks, the Orioles have been reportedly been close to a deal with Gallardo.
“We have a lot more work to do to get our team in shape, so that’s my perspective on it. We have a lot of work to do,” Duquette said.
The Orioles would have to give up draft picks to sign either Gallardo or Fowler. The team currently has the 14th pick in the first round the 29th overall selection for losing Wei-Yin Chen as a free agent.
“That’s part of the consideration in the situations with the free agents that require compensation. If the club is going to participate in that market, they have to take into account the value of the pick, the current value and the potential future value of the pick. That’s part of our consideration in each of these instances for compensation free agents,” Duquette said.
In 2014, the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz in late February, losing two picks, but Duquette refused to put a deadline on talks. They also added infielder Everth Cabrera last year once training camp was underway.
“There’s situations that the timing either comes together and you get a deal or you agree that you’re not going to get a deal. Those situations come up all the time. But we’re always trying to build our roster and we look for opportunities year-round. It just seems like in the last couple years the offseason has extended into the training season for the club,” Duquette said.
In 2014, the Orioles felt it was easier to sign Cruz to a one-year contract and forfeit a second round pick after losing the first rounder for Jimenez.
Our assessment of his addition to the team and the market, that worked out for the club. For the club, it’s been a little bit more difficult choice this team around,” Duquette said.
“We’re drafting higher in the draft, so on paper, that pick should command more value, so we have to take a longer look at what the value of the pick is as compared to how we can help our club. The idea is to have a good team every year, right? We’re trying to maximize our team this year and have a good year this year and also have a good team next year and the year after that and the year after that.”
Duquette said that the Orioles have not watched veteran free agent pitcher Tim Lincecum throw and said the team could have interest in outfielders beyond Fowler who do not require compensation.
Are the Orioles good enough to contend even if they don’t sign Gallardo and Fowler?
“We’ve got some serious strengths on this club, we’ve got a good bullpen. We’ve got strengths up the middle. We should have a very good lineup,” Duquette said.
“We have a number of veteran players that are poised to have good years that we want to have good years. If we could bolster our starting rotation that would certainly help the club.”
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