DALLAS - Executive vice president Dan Duquette doesn’t anticipate making any more trades before he boards a flight for Boston this afternoon. He’ll return to Baltimore over the weekend and hopes to complete a few more deals that were advanced at the Winter Meetings.
Duquette didn’t make a big splash at the Hilton Anatole, unless you count the number of times he dumped cold water on speculation that he’d pursue a big-ticket item in free agency.
The Orioles were busy today, if not dynamic. The only trade this week brought left-hander Dana Eveland into the organization from the Los Angeles Dodgers for minor leaguers Jarret Martin and Tyler Henson.
“He won 15 games this year between Triple-A and the big leagues,’’ Duquette said. “He’d been up in the big leagues before as a starting pitcher, and he has gotten himself on track to compete for a starting job in spring training. We like his stuff. We like his durability and we like his experience. And we like the fact that he won 15 games and pitched over 180 innings. So, we’re looking to add depth to our pitching staff and we feel we added some depth when we added Dana Eveland.”
Eveland was 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA in five September starts for the Dodgers, improving his career record to 19-24 with a 5.52 ERA in 100 major league games.
“I think he was healthy this season,’’ Duquette said. “He mentioned that he had some chips taken out of his elbow at the end of last season. We were encouraged by his durability, the number of games that he won, and when he was in the big leagues he pitched effectively. He won three games and his ERA was in the 3’s. The Dodgers signed (Aaron) Harang and that made him available.”
Eveland will have a chance to compete for the spot in the rotation next spring.
“Lefties are always in demand,” Duquette said. “He’s a qualified major league pitcher, so we thought there’s some value there to help our team. He has experience at the big leagues. You can look around in that book for left-handed pitchers who won 15 games last year and it’s a short list. That was appealing to us. His stuff is pretty good. He’s got a sinking fastball. He’s got a pretty good breaking ball. And change of speeds. I think he’s a good addition to our team.”
Manager Buck Showalter reminded reporters of the difficulty in pitching at Triple-A Albuquerque. It’s not exactly kind to the guys standing on the mound.
“Have you ever been to the ballpark in Albuquerque?” he asked. “That might be the most offensive-friendly ballpark in America. It’s beautiful, but don’t take a team in there and don’t pitch there.”
Eveland, speaking to reporters in a conference call, wasn’t surprised by the trade. He’s used to packing up his suitcase and changing addresses.
“I think this is my seventh team in the last seven years, so I’m getting used to it. Hopefully, I can make the travel stop, make somebody happy up there in Baltimore and maybe they’ll keep me around for a while,” he said.
“It’s a really young staff there and maybe I can come in and help out either way, start or relieve. Whatever they really want me to do, I’m more than willing to do whatever. I’d just like to get an opportunity to pitch in the big leagues and prove that I’m good enough to pitch in the big leagues for an entire season.”
Eveland said he became “a much smarter pitcher,” which led to better results.
“I was starting to figure it out,” he said. “I had a couple things go good for me last year and kind of figured out how to locate my sinker and keep the ball on the ground. I was pitching at Albuquerque for most of the season and if the ball goes in the air, there’s a good chance it’s a home run. I think it benefited me to pitch there. It’s one of the toughest places to pitch in all of baseball. I learned a lot of things there.
“I used to try to overpower hitters when I was a little younger and I think I paid for it. I kind of beat myself up a little bit. And I had my elbow cleaned out the last off-season, and I realized I’m a better pitcher when I stay under control and don’t try to overpower, just think about putting the ball in a good spot and inducing ground balls. That helps a lot. And I think the surgery kind of made me have to get a little smarter.”
The Orioles kicked off their day by selecting infielder Ryan Flaherty in the Rule 5 draft. Then came the trade for Eveland and the inclusion of Double-A Bowie infielder Greg Miclat as the player to be named in last week’s trade for Rangers backup catcher Taylor Teagarden.
“We have a number of discussions that we cultivated while we were here. I don’t know if that will lead to additional players coming here, but we certainly hope so. We’ve had some other trade discussions,” Duquette said.
“I think we added to our team. It’s all added. We’re building. I don’t think we’re giving up significant talent to add to what we’re building at the major league level and we still have some opportunities to add some players from the free agent market.
“We added another infielder (Flaherty). He’s a left-handed hitter. Good complement to what we’re doing. Potential insurance in the event that (Brian) Roberts is not healthy and ready to go, which was an item that we were trying to address in terms of the depth of our infield, so we think we might have done that with Flaherty. I guess we’ll find out in spring training. And we picked up a pitcher. That was all on our shopping list. Those were items we were trying to address in the offseason and we addressed a couple of those items at the winter meetings.
“We’re still working on the free agents, but I don’t know when any of that is going to come together. We’ll sign some more players. We’re working on the Chong (Tae-Hyon) situation. Hopefully, we’ll have something before the holidays on that. We still like him and are trying to sign him, but obviously it’s taking a little longer.”
Duquette said he might make another front office hire by the first of the year.