LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - I'm emptying my notebook from today's 10-minute meeting with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette.
"We made some progress," he said. "We met with a couple of teams and we also met with a couple of agents to move on a left-handed hitter. We worked on our Rule 5 draft today, so we're putting our list together for Thursday. There are a couple interesting candidates in that Rule 5 draft that we'll give some further consideration to and see if we can come up with a player to help our ballclub. That's kind of what we worked on.
"There's a lot of speculation about the closer thing, and I think the speculation is pretty far out ahead of the market and our involvement in the market. We did make some progress on that in terms of, we have a better idea of what the market is there, but we've got a lot more work to do to actually build our pitching staff.
"We have made an offer, but the speculation that we have a deal or are close to a deal, that's not accurate."
The Orioles haven't made an offer to a closer?
"No," Duquette replied.
"I don't know why there's so much speculation out there. Maybe because we haven't been able to close a deal and sign a player. But we're continuing to work to build our pitching staff.
"We know what the market is now, so we've done our work. So, we can respond to the market and sign some players. But we've done our work. We've met with the agents for some of the starting pitchers and we've met with the agents for some of the relief pitchers. We've got a good idea of what's available to us to sign, and hopefully we can do some good to come to an agreement and sign a couple players to help our pitching staff."
As for whether the Orioles would go beyond two years for a starter, he said, "I guess it depends on the pitcher and what the risk is and what the price is. I think you have to look at each one closely and see if it works for your team."
Asked if he's still confident that he will sign a player outside the Rule 5 draft, Duquette replied, "I hope so."
Because Duquette is focused on adding a starter and a left-handed batter for left field and designated hitter, he's basically put second baseman Brian Roberts on the back burner.
"That's what we've been focused on down here," he said.
"We're working on a couple pitching options, and hopefully we'll be able to do some good there."
Duquette said he's looking at pitchers and position players in the Rule 5 draft, "and there's some viable candidates in both areas. It's an effective way to add players to your team if they can play, if they can help your team."