DALLAS - The Winter Meetings haven't officially started, but Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette already has met with a few teams and introduced his two latest front office hires to the media.
Duquette is looking for a left-handed hitting outfielder who can back up Adam Jones in center and maybe platoon in left. He also wants to "support" the pitching staff and improve the club's defense - which might take us back to that left-handed hitting outfielder.
The local media met with Duquette in his suite in the Hilton Anatole Hotel. Manager Buck Showalter also was present, along with David Stockstill, who will retain his title of director of international operations, player information analyst Ned Rice and newest executives Lee Thomas and Fred Ferreira.
Thomas (special assistant) and Ferreira (executive director of international recruiting) have worked with Duquette in the past. They didn't need much convincing to join the Orioles' front office.
"These guys want to go to work," Duquette said. "We're putting the band back together."
That one might stick as Duquette's best line of the Winter Meetings.
"We're glad to add two really top-quality veteran baseball men to our staff," he said.
Thomas will "help us particularly with communication with other clubs and on the trade market," Duquette said.
"Fred Ferreira is one of the top talent scouts in the business," Duquette said. "One of the things that I felt we needed to put more resources toward was our international recruiting efforts, and Fred did a great job with the Yankees, signing a number of their core players. And we had the good fortune to work together in Montreal, and he signed some really top-quality players for the Expos, as well. And he's maintained all his contacts. He's ready to go back to work.
"The effort to boost the international recruiting is so we can be active in all the markets. International scouting is a passion of mine and something that I'm going to be paying very close attention to.
"I'm looking forward to having both these guys. They've got terrific track records in the industry. They'll be a great resource for all the young people in the organization."
Ferreira, who once signed Vladimir Guerrero for $2,500, and Stockstill will report to Duquette.
"It's going to be a group effort to recruit players from around the globe," Duquette said. "Fred has contacts in areas, Dave has contacts in other areas and we're going to be adding additional personnel that will have contacts in other areas. It's a pretty big world and we're going to leverage the contacts we have to recruit good players for the Orioles."
The Orioles will add more international scouts, which is sorely needed as they continue to lag behind the rest of baseball.
Will Duquette have the budget to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox in the international market?
"Well, I don't think we can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox," he replied. "There are resources that are directed in the new labor agreement, right? So clubs have a cap on their resources, and after you spend up to your cap, you have to pay a tax on it. I've said this before, we have to be smarter and we have to make better choices than the team's that have more resources, and these guys have a track record of doing that."
Asked whether the Orioles will continue to restructure the front office, Duquette replied, "We're working on that. We'll have some more to say about that between now and the first of the year."
Duquette mentioned how Thomas signed Johnny Damon for the Red Sox and pointed out an inaccuracy in a certain baseball film.
"Lee did that contract directly with (agent) Scott Boras," Duquette said. "You know that scene in Moneyball where Boras said he just got off the phone with Dan? That's not true. Lee did the contract, the whole thing."
Coming up: Duquette talks about Manny Ramirez.