Dan Duquette: No decision on Jones yet

New Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette certainly realizes that Adam Jones would be popular in trade talks and could bring a nice return for the club should it choose to put him on the market.

He also knows Jones brings a lot to his team right now and could be a key future core piece as he works to improve the team.

"I think that we should build around players like Adam Jones. I'm looking forward to meeting him and I've enjoyed watching him play for a couple of years and hopefully we can watch him play here and be part of winning Oriole teams," Duquette said when asked if he could possibly deal Jones.

No doubt, Jones' name will come up in the Orioles' discussions with other teams next week in Dallas at the Winter Meetings. Does Duquette have plans to talk about a contract extension with Jones?

"I can't really tell you, I haven't looked at the numbers or the contract. That is something that if we are going to take a look at, it would be after the first of the year," he said.

Meanwhile, on another topic, I asked Duquette what will be some of the key factors in his effort to improve the Orioles' minor leagues and player development.

"The first item of business, and I am going to address this over the next couple of weeks, is to have a capable and aggressive recruiting staff. To have good scouts and I mean good scouts at all levels and we're going to be expanding our reach on the international market. I have appointed Gary Rajsich, who is a terrific scout in his own right, to lead our scouting operation. With Gary leading that and the people I will bring on to support our international recruiting effort, that will be the first step," Duquette said.

"The next step is going to be putting in place a productive player development operation. By that, I mean a consistency of an Oriole way of playing winning baseball and consistency at all levels and that's really an organizational initiative so people know this is how the Orioles play winning baseball. We have to start by doing that at the minor leagues."

Duquette pledged to beef up the Orioles' international efforts.

"We are going to be adding some veteran baseball people to support our international recruiting efforts and by the first of the year, I think we will have a very, very strong international recruiting department here. We will add veteran baseball people, scouts and executives," he said.

Meanwhile, Duquette said he could not confirm reports that he will add former Phillies general manager Lee Thomas to his front office.

"I like Lee Thomas and he and I have worked effectively in the past. He's a really good baseball man and I have a lot of respect for Lee," he added, but said he could not confirm his hiring during an interview Friday.


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