I say he “took” them. That doesn’t mean he answered all of them.
Like many baseball executives, Duquette won’t show his hand and let the rest of the world know which players he’s pursuing. He isn’t going to offer specifics on trade talks or which free agents are mulling offers from the club.
Don’t bother asking whether he dropped Prince Fielder’s name into our discussion or confirmed talks with the Atlanta Braves. It’s just not going to happen.
“Our offseason shopping list was to upgrade the pitching staff and also sign a catcher,” he said. “We’re still looking for a left-handed hitter for the outfield. We also were interested in adding some infielders, and we’ve done that. We also need to be aware of a DH. We’re going to continue to look to upgrade the pitching staff and see if there’s an additional outfielder out there who can help our ballclub, and then see if there’s additional bats that can help us.”
So is anything percolating on the free agent market?
“We’re still interested in adding players to help our ballclub,” Duquette replied, “and we’ve got a couple trade discussions that are still alive.”
The Orioles have added left-handers Wada and Dana Eveland in the past week, and they’re reportedly interested in Taiwanese southpaw Chen Wei-Yin, though Duquette continues to downplay it.
Duquette said Wada’s appeal extended beyond the pitcher being a southpaw, though it should come in handy against American League East opponents.
“You can’t get to the level that he’s at to be the top in your league without preparation, good mental toughness and understanding the game, so he has all those traits,” Duquette said. “He’s a very uniquely skilled player and we’re glad to have him. The fact that he’s left-handed is a big bonus because a lot of those teams build their club around left-handed hitters.”
Duquette will continue to look for starting pitchers, along with a left-handed hitting outfielder who can play center and left.
“I believe we have improved our pitching,” he said. “We’ve added two left-handed pitchers who threw over 185 innings, so certainly that’s additive to what we have. And we’re hoping that our other pitchers mature in the big leagues. We’re looking to continue to add to our depth. It’s a long season. We’re looking to sign as much good pitching as we can.”
Is this focus on the rotation a sign that Jim Johnson will remain in the bullpen?
“That’s up to Buck (Showalter) in the spring,” Duquette replied. “I believe there’s a lot of qualified starting pitchers who end up in the bullpen, and I’d rather see them go from starting to the bullpen than the other way around.”
To me, that sounds like the Orioles want to keep Johnson in the bullpen.
So where does Wada fit in the rotation? Directly behind Jeremy Guthrie?
“I don’t know where they’ll come out on that,” Duquette said. “He’s a qualified pitcher. I believe he’ll be additive to our staff.”
Duquette was asked again about the possibility that the Orioles will re-sign Luke Scott, who was non-tendered this week.
“Luke had some great years with the team, which we really appreciate,” Duquette said. “We just thought his value in arbitration was much higher than his actual market value. We are interested in Luke Scott. Whether we make a deal with him or not is another story.”
Asked whether the Orioles are preparing to go forward without second baseman Brian Roberts, Duquette said, “I don’t know the particulars of Brian’s medical situation, so I can’t really speculate on that. We are adding additional depth to our infield to staff our team for this year. We’ve already done that. We’ve added to competent infielders in Matt Antonelli and Ryan Flaherty.”
Are the Orioles close to making any other moves?
“We’re going to continue to work on building our team,” Duquette said. “I can’t speculate whether we’re going to add people tomorrow or next week, but we’re working on it every day.”