Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette keeps placing emphasis on improving the Orioles' on-base capabilities, and he feels that he took another step in that direction by signing infielder Wilson Betemit to a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2014.
Betemit has posted on-base percentages of .378 and .343 the past two seasons. And he's been better hitting from the left side, which also appeals to Duquette.
"We like his bat, and if you take a look at what he's done the last two years against right-handed pitching, he's got an above-average average and above-average in getting on base and above-average power," Duquette said.
"His value to us is as a hitter on the left side. His best position is batting. From the left side, he presents capabilities to hit for average and power. And we're putting emphasis on improving our on-base percentage. If you look at some of the players we've acquired and signed, like Matt Antonelli and Ryan Flaherty, they all have good on-base capabilities. That's something we've made a conscious effort to address and continue to address."
Duquette is likely to turn more of his attention to the Orioles' bullpen, though he only confirmed that "we're still trying to sign some additional players."
What about Prince Fielder?
"I'm not sure we're that interested, but ...," he said.
"Lots of teams are interested in power-hitting left-handed batters, so I guess you can put us in that group."
Duquette wouldn't attempt to define what it means to be "in on" Fielder.
"If a player wants to go someplace where he can help a team build a winner, the Orioles are a good opportunity for that player," he said.