While the Orioles continue discussions with the agent for right-hander Yovani Gallardo, they’re not expected to reach agreement tonight.
More works remains as the Orioles attempt to sign Gallardo to a three-year deal. They’ve made progress, but they’re still short of the finish line.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette wouldn’t comment on Gallardo or any other free agent or trade targets. However, when asked whether a move could be made later today, he replied, “I doubt it.”
“We’re still trying to help our club and see if we can bolster our pitching staff. We’re still working on it,” he said.
“These things have their own timeframe.”
Duquette appears to be more comfortable surrendering the 14th overall pick based on his pursuit of Gallardo, who turned down a qualifying offer from the Rangers.
“I wouldn’t say that,” Duquette said. “The big issue with some of the free agents, I know for our club, is the draft pick compensation. That’s an important component of any decision because you want to have your team strong for this year, but you want to be building a talent base that can be strong next year and the year after that. That’s always a consideration.”
More teams are including opt-out clauses in contracts. Gallardo reportedly wants one included in his deal, but Duquette hasn’t changed his stance on them.
“I don’t think that really works for the Orioles,” he said. “I have a hard time seeing how that works for the club. I’ve looked at that for the club and I don’t know how that works for the benefit of the club.
“I don’t see any advantage to the club with that type of relationship.”
The Orioles may be willing to part with their second draft pick, currently the 29th overall, to sign outfielder Dexter Fowler. He could start in right field and bat atop the order.
Asked about the need for a leadoff hitter, Duquette replied, “We’ve been looking for on-base capability. Hopefully, a couple of the outfielders we picked up can help us in that regard. The kid we got from Tampa Bay in the Rule 5 draft, Joey Rickard, and Hyun Soo Kim, they both have good on-base capability, as does L.J. Hoes.
“We’d like to continue adding to that as we build our team, but hopefully some of the guys we’ve got will be able to provide on-base capability.”
Could the Orioles add another outfielder?
“It’s possible,” Duquette said. “I think we have enough outfield depth.”
Duquette views Kim as a left fielder, so any addition would be slotted in right.
“That’s what he’s played,” Duquette said. “The interesting thing about Kim is he lead the Korean League in putouts. You’d expect a center fielder to lead the league in putouts, right? But he led the league in putouts in left field, so he’s getting to a lot of balls.
“One of the reasons he led the league is he played a lot of games, but it tells you he can cover the ground.”
Only a week remains before pitchers and catchers report to camp.
“We’re always trying to build the team to either win now or win later, so now we’re trying to win again,” Duquette said.
“We have a lot of the core group coming back. We signed some of our high-profile free agents, we’ve got a solid defensive team, good power, excellent bullpen, lovely ballpark. We’ve got a good manager and we’re going to have to get good service out of our starting pitchers. But we should be very competitive.”
And intent on upgrading the rotation.
“We’re still working on that,” Duquette said. “Some of those questions will be answered in spring training.”
The Orioles signed reliever Dale Thayer to a minor league deal yesterday that included an invitation to spring training.
“He’s a veteran major leaguer,” Duquette said. “Dave Engle was advocating him, and so was John Stockstill, so we’ll see how he does. He’s got a lot of experience. I heard he was throwing really well at the end of the year.”
The Orioles should find out on Friday whether left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser cleared waivers and can be outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. He was designated for assignment to make room for pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne on the 40-man roster.