Duquette on the young pitchers: “We are holding onto them”

DALLAS - In today’s one-on-one video interview with Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president indicated he is getting closer to making one or more trades and it could happen before the Winter Meetings end tomorrow.

“Well, I mean, we are a little further down the track on a couple of deals that we hope to close,” Duquette said. “It takes a little time to get things together but hopefully we will have a couple more players to talk to the Oriole fans about by the end of the week. We are working on bolstering our pitching staff and hopefully we will have a couple of pitchers that we can add this week.”

Duquette said his trade talks include discussions that have both been ongoing for awhile and some new trade proposals from the last few days.

“Sometimes when teams sign players, then other players become available. So we are trying to be in a position to maximize the opportunities that come our way,” he said.

Duquette has said he prefers to build around and not trade players like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. I asked him if the same thought applied to some of the young pitchers like Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta and Brian Matusz.

“I’ve been encouraged because a number of teams have inquired about some of our younger pitching, which tells me they have a future in the major leagues and we’re holding onto them so that future is right here in Baltimore,” Duquette said. “That has been very encouraging that teams have shown interest in our young pitchers.”

On the subject of pitching, Duquette said the Orioles pursuit of Chong Tae-Hyon, the Korean right-hander, continues.

“We are still trying to sign Chong,” Duquette said. “He’s got a good record and is an underarm pitcher. He’s got terrific control and he succeeded in the World Games when they won the World Cup and he was also on the mound when Korea won the Olympics. So he is tested in international competition. That is taking a little longer, but we are still trying to sign him and hopefully we will have something before the Holiday.”

The Orioles have the fourth pick in tomorrow’s Rule 5 draft so I asked Duquette about the chances of the O’s making a pick.

“In the (Rule 5), once you select the player contract, that player has to stay on your roster, so if we are active in (the Rule 5) and I hope we will be active, it will be a player that can help our team next year,” he said.

On one final note, I asked Duquette about the possibility of the Orioles adding a Venezuelan academy, similar to the academy they already run in the Dominican.

“Well, we are expanding our international operations,” Duquette said. “Whether that includes academy expansion in the Dominican, in Venezuela or league expansion or team expansion in Venezuela or the Dominican or other markets, that really depends upon where we sign the players and the quality of players if we sign enough of them.

“I think in time that Fred’s hope (Fred Ferreira) is that he’s going to sign some good players in Venezuela and enough of them that we can staff a team there. If we can do that, then we should be able to get some good players to come over here and play for the Orioles.”

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