Quick hits from Duquette’s daily media session

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said “more than a handful” of clubs are interested in third baseman Manny Machado and he met with a couple more today as the Winter Meetings near their conclusion.

Duquette said he was able to get a clearer read on the market for Machado and the process is “moving along” while the Orioles determine whether there’s a match.

Though it still seems unlikely to happen, Duquette didn’t refute the notion that the club could trade within the division - namely the Yankees and Red Sox. He mentioned how it’s happened in the past, though previous deals didn’t involve a player of Machado’s caliber and popularity.

The Orioles want pitching in return that’s considered ready for major league competition.

The search continues for starters, left-handed hitters, a catcher and a utility player. The Orioles also will make a selection in Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft and prefer a left-handed reliever.

dan-duquette-mlb-network.jpgInfielder Steve Wilkerson’s 50-game suspension for amphetamine use, handed down yesterday, didn’t change Duquette’s shopping list. He already was intent on finding a utility player to throw into the camp competition.

Duquette said he was “floored” by a few of the contracts given to middle relievers at the meetings. He also used the term “absolutely stunning.”

He didn’t mention anyone by name, but the Phillies’ two-year, $18 million contract for former Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter created lots of chatter at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort.

Major League scout Bruce Kison is retiring at the end of the month. He’s been in the organization since 1999 and Duquette noted how the former pitcher survived six general managers.

“So he’s been very loyal to the Orioles,” Duquette said.

There are two positions open with Kison’s retirement, but Duquette indicated that at least one could be filled in the front office. Fred Ferreira, the director of international recruiting, won’t return next season.

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