Duquette confirms meeting with Cuza

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette - man, we really need to shorten that title - confirmed this morning that he met last night with agent Fernando Cuza.

When I brought up David Ortiz’s name and the assumption that the veteran designated hitter was the focus of that meeting, Duquette paused before replying, “He represents Vladimir Guerrero, too, by the way.”

Duquette said the Orioles need to decide “what we’re doing with him.” That also could mean whether to offer Guerrero arbitration - the deadline is Nov. 23 - and perhaps gauge whether he would turn it down and allow the Orioles to collect a draft pick.

Duquette said he spent part of yesterday “reconnecting with a lot of GMs and introducing myself to the ones I didn’t know.”

It didn’t leave much time for sightseeing in Milwaukee.

Duquette said he spoke with executives from every club and met with five or six “to see if we have any good options for trades.”

“I’m trying to see what clubs are looking for and where we match up and where we can fill our needs,” he said.

Though pitching is the main priority, Duquette mentioned a backup catcher first. He also said the Orioles want to add an outfielder.

Free agency or trade?

“We’re working all fronts,” he said. “We’ve got offers out to sign a few players. We want to fill out our bench, too.”

A backup catcher and reserves won’t excite this town, but they’re necessary components.

As I’ve been writing for months, manager Buck Showalter would prefer using Robert Andino in a super-utility role - which is especially important if the Orioles are going to keep shortstop J.J. Hardy rested and off the disabled list - and finding a second baseman who could play regularly if Brian Roberts is unavailable. However, they’ll need a utility player in case Andino stays in the lineup.

The Orioles aren’t going to make a huge splash in free agency - there’s no point in discussing Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols or C.J. Wilson unless it’s for your fantasy team - and they aren’t going to trade Adam Jones or Matt Wieters.

“I think we’ve got good guys to build around, really good players who our fans like,” Duquette said. “It’s silly to speculate whether I want to trade guys that we want to build around. We’ve got them, they’re ours. I don’t talk about trading these guys if we’re going to build around them.”

If that’s the case, it’s time to find out whether Jones is interested in making a long-term commitment to the Orioles. He can become a free agent after the 2014 season.

Duquette will return to Baltimore on Friday. I’m returning to Hunt Valley today for the latest installment of “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report,” which airs from 5:30-7 p.m. on MASN.

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