General manager and free agent chatter

For those of you keeping score at home, the Orioles will interview former Expos and Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette today, making him the sixth candidate to meet with the search committee.

As long as you’re keeping score, Duquette is only the third candidate who’s still in play, joining John Stockstill and Scott Proefrock.

You’ve seen a variety of names float past your computer screens. There’s no exact list of remaining candidates.

The Orioles are expected to interview Red Sox vice president of player personnel and pro scouting Allard Baird, the former Royals GM. They’re still waiting to hear back from the Twins regarding vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff, who might be their first choice at this point, now that Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has declined to be interviewed.

The Orioles were most eager to sit down with Friedman and Radcliff, according to a source. Radcliff figures to meet with them, though they expected to find out two days ago and are still waiting.

They contacted Yankees general manager Brian Cashman seeking permission to interview scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, which is likely to happen. And they also might request a meeting with director of pro scouting Billy Eppler. As I wrote last night, he’s still a possibility. It’s premature to dismiss him as a potential candidate.

A call also could be placed to the Athletics regarding assistant general manager David Forst. As of last night, he hadn’t been ruled out, either.

Doesn’t mean he’ll be flying into Baltimore, but he’s still being discussed.

OK, I need to pull away from the GM search and acknowledge that something else is happening in the world of baseball.

A crazy little thing called free agency.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez, 33, declined his part of a $16 million mutual option with the Cubs, making him a free agent. The Orioles could use a third baseman if they’re going to keep Mark Reynolds at first - and if they’re not convinced that Chris Davis should be a regular at the hot corner.

Ramirez obviously chose free agency over a $16 million option because he’s seeking a long-term deal after batting .306 with 35 doubles, 26 homers, 93 RBIs, a .361 on-base percentage and .510 slugging percentage in 149 games. He stands out among third basemen on a free-agent list that includes Andy LaRoche, Felipe Lopez, Jose Lopez ...

Well, here’s that list again, courtesy of

Wilson Betemit (30) - Type B
Casey Blake (38)
Jorge Cantu (30)
Eric Chavez (34)
Craig Counsell (41)
Mark DeRosa (37)
Greg Dobbs (33)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (36)
Kevin Kouzmanoff (30)
Andy LaRoche (28)
Felipe Lopez (32)
Jose Lopez (28)
Nick Punto (34)
Aramis Ramirez (34) - Type B
Omar Vizquel (45)

Ramirez can be a tad shaky at third base, though his 14 errors this season look pretty good when compared to Reynolds’ total. He had 33 in 2003, which he split between the Pirates and Cubs. He’s also had durability issues. But he’s a slugger, and the Orioles could use one of those.

Any interest?

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