LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette met with reporters and other media types again today in his suite, part of his daily routine at the Winter Meetings.
Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda’s suite is directly across the hall. I mention it only because he joked that we were trying to break into his room while we waited for Duquette.
Probably didn’t help that I was swiping the lock with my credit card.
Anyway, here’s a sampling of quotes from Duquette:
(On the day’s activity): “We met with a couple teams and we also talked to several agents and we made a few offers on the pitching front. We haven’t been able to close any deals on the pitching, but hopefully we’ll get something done in the next day or so. We’re trying to improve our bullpen and our starting pitching, so we’ve been working on both fronts.”
(On whether he made any offers to hitters): “Yes, we have. We were active on a couple of trade fronts and that didn’t bear any fruit, but we’re still working.”
(On the pressure to add players here): “You always like to get something done at the meetings because there’s an intense focus on your team, so we’re going to try to get something done. Sometimes, you can lay the groundwork and make a deal a day or two after, and that would be good, but we’d certainly like to get something done this week.”
(On whether moves could be made after the Rule 5 draft): “That’s possible. We do have a couple trade discussions and I hope we can bring one of them to closure, and then a couple of the offers we’ve got out, hopefully we can negotiate the contracts.”
(On whether he’s made offers to any closers): “We’ve got offers out to hitters, we’ve got offers out to pitchers that are both starters and relievers. Hopefully, we’ll be able to bring some of those to a deal.”
(On whether he’s targeting starters on one-year deals): “No. We’ve been active trying to sign a couple pitchers. This pitching market is moving pretty quickly, but our effort’s been there. We just haven’t closed a deal yet.”
(On whether he’s close): “I don’t how to gauge that other than the market’s coming into pretty clear focus on the trades and the signings. You’ll see a few trades between now and when we leave, and you’ll see a few more, I think, over the weekend. This is the time of year that players are choosing their clubs and clubs are staffing their teams, so we should be able to add a few players by the end of the week.”
(On negotiating extensions for Matt Wieters and Chris Davis): “We’ve addressed that with Scott (Boras) the last two years in spring training and that hasn’t worked out. We’ll have another opportunity to talk about the contracts for the players that are in the arbitration process, and that will come sometime in January. Generally during the arbitration process, we explore whether there’s common ground for a long-term relationship. So, that’s the more appropriate time to do that.”
(On whether he’s considered an extension for J.J. Hardy): “Yeah, that’s under consideration by the team. J.J.’s had a couple of really good years for the team and I think the interest is mutual between he and the Orioles in extending that relationship.”
(On whether he’s interested in more than one closer): “The closer market’s interesting. There’s a few more experienced closers than there are teams looking for closers, so that may be an opportuntiy for the Orioles to add to the club, an experienced relief pitcher. If you take a look at the number of closers out there, that’s good.”
(On his pursuit of a left-handed hitter): “Some of the left-handers that we were interested in came off the board, but there are still a few that are available. Some are available as free agents. Then, there’s a couple trade options we’re still looking at.”
Updated: CBSSports.com is reporting that the Orioles have made offers to outfielder Nelson Cruz and closer Grant Balfour.
According to the report, the Orioles are “believed to be willing to make Cruz a four-year offer in the range of the $60 million deal Curtis Granderson got from the Mets, perhaps a bit higher.”