Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has pretty much dismissed the possibility that he’ll sign veteran designated hitter Manny Ramirez.
“I don’t think there’s going to be a fit for Manny,” Duquette said. “We’ve looked at that all winter and I’m not sure there’s a fit there for the Orioles. I wish Manny a lot of luck, but I just don’t think he fits in our ballclub right now.”
Asked what else he plans to do with the roster before spring training, Duquette said, “I think we’re about ready to go. We also added Nick Johnson. The reason we added Nick was for his defense at first and his on-base capability. He has a lifetime on-base (percentage) of .400, which would certainly help in the event that he makes the ballclub and he’s on our team.”
So the Orioles aren’t looking for another bat?
“We’ll, we’ve got plenty in camp and we should be able to weed through the guys we have,” Duquette replied. “We’ve made a concerted effort to add on-base percentage to complement the power hitters. He had four guys hit 20 home runs. There are only a couple teams in the league with 20-home run guys - four of them - and we have four of them. We’re trying to get some guys on base so we can leverage their power when they do hit the ball out of the ballpark.
“We’re not planning on adding additional people between now and next week.”
Duquette said the following about new reliever Luis Ayala, who signed a one-year deal with a club option for 2013:
“Luis Ayala is a veteran reliever. He’s got a good sinker and he had a very good year last year with the Yankees. I believe he’ll strengthen our bullpen. He gets out both right- and left-handed hitters. He gets his breaking ball over consistently and he’s a veteran. He’s been around. He’s pitched winter ball a lot. He just got done pitching in the Caribbean Series. With a lifetime 3.47 ERA and the results he got last year, I think he’ll be a good addition to the bullpen.”
As for all the late-inning relievers, Duquette said, “I think with the addition of (Matt) Lindstrom and now Ayala we now have more depth to the bullpen and we have more quality in the bullpen. The addition of LIndstrom I like because he’s got a power fastball and that gives us a couple of power relievers in Johnson and Lindstrom at the end. And it allows the other relievers to pitch a little bit earlier in the game. You see a lot of games won and lost when the starting pitcher’s taken out in the American League, and if you have a good professional to help your starters, you’ve got a chance to win more games.
“Our bullpen is more veteran than our starters are, and our bullpen is more right-handed, where our rotation could be a little bit more left-handed. But I think the experience in the bullpen complementing the youth of the rotation will be good, and then the right-handers in the bullpen should be a good complement to the left-handers who make the rotation.”
The Orioles still view Johnson as a late-inning reliever.
“I believe that’s where he’s going to pitch, in the bullpen,” Duquette said.