Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t reveal much yesterday on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN beyond confirming that the club remains interested in re-signing Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and Steve Pearce, three names that were floated during his interview.
Is Duquette more or less confident now that he can retain Davis?
“I don’t know if I can handicap these things,” he said. “Chris has had some good years in Baltimore and we like having him here. We’re trying. Who knows once the market starts working where things are going to go, but I really enjoy watching Chris, I know our fans enjoy watching him and hopefully we’ll be able to watch him a few more years in Baltimore.”
The Dodgers reportedly are making an aggressive push for O’Day, the top reliever on the market who’s seeking a four-year deal in the $28-$36 million range.
“From what I’ve been reading and hearing, there’s a lot of interest in Darren from other clubs and we’ll have to see how that plays out,” Duquette said. “He’s had some good years with the Orioles. We’ve been talking to him. I know he likes it here.”
Pearce could land a two-year deal despite appearing in only 92 games and having his slash line go from .293/.373/.556 in 2014 to .218/.289/.422 this summer.
“Steve’s got the good power and we like him on our team, obviously,” Duquette said. “Our fans like him. They did a bobblehead, right? A Steve Pearce bobblehead the last day of the season. I thought it looked more like Paul Janish.
“Pearce has had one outstanding year and that was 2014, and the other years he’s done his work, but he hasn’t had the kind of year he had in 2014, and I know he was disappointed in the year he had in ‘15. But we like Steve and he’s another guy we’ve talked to about the possibility of coming back.”
Duquette repeated that he’s searching for pitchers and outfielders. The need for catching depth ended with Matt Wieters accepting the $15.8 million qualifying offer.
Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez need bounceback seasons and Duquette is counting on it. Tillman’s ERA jumped from 3.34 in 2014 to 4.99 in 2015, his WHIP from 1.230 to 1.387. His innings dropped from 207 1/3 to 173. Gonzalez’s ERA jumped from 3.23 to 4.91, his WHIP from 1.296 to 1.396. His innings dropped from 159 to 144 2/3.
“Miguel had an injury there that bothered him and Chris Tillman had some aches and pains that he won’t admit to or use as an excuse, but I think that bothered him a little bit,” Duquette said. “They didn’t have the kind of years that we were hoping they’d have. Maybe with some time off they’ll be able to come back and have the kind of years that they’ve established for themselves in the big leagues. But beyond that, we know we also have to add to our pitching staff.
“The good thing is we’ve always had a pretty solid bullpen here and I think we’ll be able to have a good bullpen again next year.”
Duquette was asked whether he’s looking for a younger outfielder with upside that the team can control or a short-term solution who fills a hole.
“We’d like to get more everyday players in left and right,” Duquette replied. “We’ve got a couple guys coming up from the minors who we might be able to give a shot to, (Dariel) Alvarez. We got (Gerardo) Parra to fill in. But we’re still looking around.
“The good news about the outfield is there’s pretty good depth around the outfield in baseball that’s available. I’m pretty sure we’re going to be able to get a couple.”
You can see the full Duquette interview here.
* Manny Machado finished fourth in voting for Most Valuable Player in the American League, 10 spots ahead of Davis. I always felt good about choosing Machado for Most Valuable Oriole and last night’s results provided further confirmation.
No knock on Davis, of course, but Machado should have won MVO. (I also think Davis should have finished higher than 14th last night.)
I’m reminded again of how Machado showed up on the last day of the minicamp in January and insisted that both knees were good, that he would be full-go in spring training and would play on opening day.
He may have left out the part about playing in all 162 games. I’d have to go back and check my notes.
It was a big deal when Machado simulated running out a double and when he began moving side to side on ground balls at third base. Now the media will need to fixate on someone else next year.
* The Orioles must set their 40-man roster tonight and protect players eligible for the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 10 in Nashville.
The roster currently holds 37 players and the Orioles figure to leave at least one spot open in order to make a selection next month. You know it’s coming. It’s just a question of whether they take a pitcher or position player.
Minor leaguers are eligible for selection if they were signed at age 19 or older and have been in the organization for four years, or were signed at 18 or younger and have been in the organization for five years.
My colleague, Steve Melewski, provided the list of players who are eligible to be taken in the draft:
Nick Additon, LHP
Rochendrick Alexander, OF
Michael Almanzar, 3B
Derrick Bleeker, RHP
Parker Bridwell, RHP
Cesar Cabral, LHP
Anthony Caronia, SS
Glynn Davis, OF
Alexander De La Cruz, C
Fernando Escarra, RHP
Gene Escat, RHP
David Frietas, C
Santiago Garrido, RHP
Luis Gonzalez, LHP
Miguel Gonzalez, RHP
Ivan Hernandez, RHP
Francisco Jimenez, RHP
Corban Joseph, 2B
Branden Kline, RHP
Adam Kolarek, LHP
Oswill Lartiguez, OF
Quincy Latimore, OF
Lu Franc-cito LeFranc, RHP
Ronarsy Ledesma, INF
Chris Lee, LHP
Ozzie Martinez, SS
Cesar Medina, RHP
Yermin Mercedes, C
Alirio Negrette, LHP
Chris Obrien, C
Bennett Parry, LHP
Audry Perez, C
Elias Pinales, LHP
David Richardson, RHP
Daniel Rodriguez, LHP
Ramon Rodriguez, RHP
Richard Rodriguez, RHP
Garabez Rosa, SS
William Russell, C
Aderlin Santa, 3B
Wynston Sawyer, C
Janser Severino, RHP
Matt Taylor, LHP
Ashur Tolliver, LHP
Dennis Torres, RHP
Andrew Triggs, RHP
Austin Urban, RHP
Sebastian Vader, RHP
Brady Wager, RHP
Michael Zouzalik, RHP
Bridwell (No. 20), Kline (22) and Bleeker (27) are ranked in MLB.com’s organizational Top 30, but they’re expected to remain unprotected. Kline underwent ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow last month.
Lee, 23, appears to be the most likely player protected after registering a 3.07 ERA in 14 starts at Single-A Frederick and a 3.08 ERA in seven starts at Double-A Bowie. He allowed only one home run in a combined 114 1/3 innings. The reports on him are extremely favorable and manager Buck Showalter has praised him this year.
Triggs, 26, is another candidate after registering a 1.03 ERA and 0.869 WHIP in 61 innings over 43 relief appearances with Bowie. He was 17-for-17 in save opportunities, walked 11 and struck out 70. Another guy who caught Showalter’s eye this summer when the manager made a stop at Prince George’s Stadium.
I passed along the following assessment from a scout last month who watched Triggs at Bowie and said his club should be interested:
“He has a funky, deceptive crossfire delivery with command of a sinker/slider combination,” the scout said. “Similar in style to Darren O’Day. All he does is locate and get the job done. A late mature.”
The Orioles valued Martinez’s defense at Bowie, just as they did Paul Janish’s glove work at Triple-A Norfolk, but he isn’t expected to crack the 40-man.
Perhaps a team that scouted Rosa will give him a shot in a utility role. He plays every position.
And before you ask, not that Miguel Gonzalez. This is Miguel E. Gonzalez, a right-hander signed in September 2014 by Fred Ferreira and Calvin Maduro.