BOCA RATON, Fla. – After the first full day of the General Managers meetings, Dan Duquette feels he’s making progress on his goals.
“We’re sizing up the market. We’ve had meetings with a number of clubs the last couple of days, and we’ve got some more meetings scheduled for tonight,” Duquette said.
“We’re trying to assess the market and where we are on some trades, doing some groundwork, and then we met with some agents down here for players we can add to our team.”
The Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations said that the team is trying to retain some of its free agents.
“We’re going to try to re-sign a couple of our guys. Of course, they’re free agents now. You never know what’s going to happen. We’re active with some of our own players as well as some of the rest of the market,” Duquette said.
Duquette chuckled when he was asked about the fans’ interest in the team re-signing Chris Davis.
“We’re trying. We’ll see where that goes. Chris obviously has had some good years with the team,” Duquette said. “We’ll do our best.”
Duquette feels that he’s been given the support necessary to get players signed.
“Our club has good resources to field a competitive team, and we’re going to field a good, solid competitive team again in 2016,” he said.
Last week, the Orioles extended qualifying offers to Davis, Wei-Yin Chen and Matt Wieters. All three are expected to reject the $15.8 million offer by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline.
“The extension of the qualifying offer shows that the club is being aggressive in taking the steps that it needs to put a competitive team on the field and also to tender that quality of offer to those players shows that the club is willing to play in the market,” Duquette said.
There was a report by ESPN.com that the Orioles had shown early interest in Kansas City outfielder Alex Gordon. Duquette declined to specifically address that report.
“It’s not appropriate for clubs to comment on individual players once they’re free agents. I can tell you we’re trying to acquire some outfielders for our team. That’s a need that we’ve identified, and we’re talking to a number of players about those opportunities in Baltimore,” Duquette said.
In talking trades, Duquette is in the early stages of feeling out the market, but he’s clear on the club's needs.
“We made it clear that we’re trying to add a couple of outfielders to our ballclub this year. We’re also looking to add some pitching and pitching depth to the team as well as a catcher,” Duquette said.
Wieters is expected to leave, and Duquette wants a veteran backup, but he likes Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger. He had high words of praise for the left-handed Clevenger, who is out of options.
"He's shown he's capable of contributing in the big leagues. We'll have him on our team,” Duquette said.
He’s finding players are willing to consider Baltimore and play for Buck Showalter.
“I think players like Baltimore as a city. The fans are passionate. The ballpark is a good place to go to work, and we have a good manager who the players respect and know that he’s prepared to help the team win every game,” Duquette said.
Duquette also said that the team continues to search for an assistant hitting coach to work with Scott Coolbaugh. He says the team has good candidates and hopes to have a choice in next few weeks.
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