Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter kicked off a day-long series of fan forums by taking questions from season plan holders, a session that lasted about 30 minutes.
J.J. Hardy can become a free agent after this season, and Duquette said the club will attempt to sign him to an extension before opening day, bringing a round of applause from the crowd.
Duquette noted how the Orioles offered Chris Davis a long-term extension, “but it hasn’t really progressed.” Davis won’t be a free agent for two more years.
“We tried to sign Matt (Wieters) twice, last year in spring training and also the year before in spring training, so I’m not sure how that’s going to go. But we made an effort and we’re going to continue to do that,” Duquette said.
Duquette disputed reports that the Orioles shopped Wieters over the winter, and he hopes to sign the catcher to a 2014 contract next week and avoid arbitration.
Showalter said that the Orioles, as currently constructed, will have 11 outfielders in camp, 12 infielders, six catchers and 30 pitchers.
The clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium is going to be a bit crowded.
Duquette really talked up new left fielder David Lough, saying he’s a better outfielder and has a better arm than Nate McLouth, and also does a better job of hitting left-handed pitching. However, McLouth is regarded as the better base stealer.
“You’re going to like David Lough,” Duquette said.
Meanwhile, the Orioles have worked out Korean pitcher Suk-min Yoon at the Cal-Irvine campus, according to a report by the Seoul Broadcasting System.
Yoon, 27, is a free agent who’s represented by Scott Boras.
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Duquette wouldn’t comment on Yoon, saying only that he’s trying to sign a veteran starter. He also could bring in another reliever.
Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net tweeted recently that Yoon, a right-hander, has received offers from four major league teams and is negotiating with two of them.
Yoon’s best season came in 2011, when he went 17-5 with a 2.45 ERA in 27 games (23 starts) and was named Most Valuable Player. He reportedly was bothered by a shoulder injury last year.