Duquette: "We'll do everything we can to stay in the hunt"

In a brief phone conversation yesterday morning with executive vice president Dan Duquette, I asked whether the Orioles were comfortable platooning Steve Tolleson and Ryan Flaherty at second base, or whether they needed to bring in someone from outside the organization.

"We'll see what comes on the market," Duquette replied. "If Tolleson and Flaherty can do it, we'll let them do it. If they can't do it, we'll have to look for some other alternatives."

Later that afternoon, the Orioles acquired middle infielder Omar Quintanilla from the Mets for cash considerations.

Quintanilla is an alternative.

He's also a left-handed hitter, which presents an interesting roster decision today. Flaherty, the Rule 5 pick, is expected to hold onto his spot. Steve Tolleson, who bats from the right side, could be optioned again.

So much for platooning at second base.

Quintanilla is considered a plus-defender, which is important to a team that continues to lead the majors in errors. He's also a career .218/.278 /.294 hitter in the majors, so he's not going to impact a game with his bat, no matter how you spin it.

Quintanilla hits .237 against right-handers and .135 against left-handers.

Meanwhile, Duquette continues to search for a starting pitcher.

"We're still looking around," he said. "The issue on the trade market is a lot of teams are in contention and there are a lot of teams looking to bolster their team for the stretch run. And we have similar pitchers in our organization already. So, we'll see how that develops. I'm not really interested in making a trade just to make a trade, but I'll try to do what I can to add to the ballclub.

"We're talking to clubs all the time. I've had a number of discussions this week with teams. You haven't seen a lot of trades yet, right? The new basic agreement has affected the market. The trading of players and receiving draft picks has changed. It's the first time for this agreement and first time teams are going through this process and it's taking them a while to figure out what are the appropriate values."

Teams can keep asking for pitcher Dylan Bundy and shortstop Manny Machado, but it's a waste of their time. The top two prospects in the organization are off the table.

"We have some really good prospects in the organization and those kinds of prospects could be good players for a long time," Duquette sad. "We certainly want them to stay with the Orioles. Those guys were among the top players in the country in the draft and they're doing real well in a short time playing pro ball."

Duquette was still in full buyer's mode even before the current three-game winning streak.

"We're still in the hunt," he said. "We're glad to be in the hunt and we'll do everything we can to stay in the hunt."

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