Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter had another “State of the Orioles” address today with season ticket holders here at Camden Yards.
There were no big pronouncements or news to come out of it, but here are a few questions and the answers they gave.
The pair was asked if the Orioles will make any changes by the trade deadline.
“People ask all the time if we’ll try to add to the team, and the answer to that is ‘yes,’ but I think we have a lot of the answers within the organization,” Duquette said. “We’ve got some really good pitching with Zach Britton and Chris Tillman at Triple-A and a pitcher (Miguel) Socolovich that we picked up from the White Sox. We’ve got Xavier Avery at Triple-A and Manny Machado in Double-A, and he’s having a good year, and on the horizon we’ve got Dylan Bundy and he’ll represent us in the Futures Game.
“So I wouldn’t be too anxious to look outside the organization because we’ve got a lot of good players here, but we’re always looking.
“You can rest assured that the ownership here wants to win this year, and if we’re in a position to improve the team and it makes sense, we’re certainly going to do it.”
One questioner actually asked Showalter where he would bat Chase Headley in the order if the Orioles acquired him.
“First of all, Wilson Betemit has been playing third base real well lately, and I’m more in tune with the people we have here. They are a part of why we are having success. I don’t go around coveting other people’s players. I like our guys,” Showalter said.
“In fairness to the guys we have, our infield defense has been very stable the past six weeks,” Duquette said. “I saw that play that Betemit made about three times in a week, that do-or-die play, and he’s doing the job. I don’t really think that’s an issue right now.”
They were asked about Lew Ford and the good stats he is posting at Triple-A.
“You picked a good one because Buck and I were talking about Lew Ford yesterday. We actually drafted him in Boston and traded him to Minnesota. He can play all three outfield positions. He’s a good on-base man and he’s got some power. You may see him up here,” Duquette said.
When asked about the club’s good start so far, Showalter said, to a round of applause, “I think it’s like to be continued. I woke up this morning, and there was a team ahead of us in the division, so we’ve got some unfinished business.”
Duquette was asked about how the club found and signed tonight’s starter Wei-Yin Chen.
“He was followed by our scouts for two years in Japan. He was the pitcher of the year over there. He’s fit right in here. The Orioles’ scouts followed him for two years because they knew he had an out in his contract, and he had been one of the top pitchers over there,” he said.
A fan asked Showalter if, on the day they honor Earl Weaver next week, he would consider turning his hat around and kicking dirt on home plate if he happened to get thrown out of that game.
“There’s only one Earl,” Showalter said. “The thing about Earl is it was sincere. I can’t tell how much I appreciated spending some time with him in spring training this year. After five or ten minutes, you understand how he was so successful. He has a real passion, not just for the game of baseball, but for the Orioles.
“I’m looking forward to having his career here honored shortly. Now don’t hold me to it, but if something happens out here that is not good, you have know what might happen.”
Duquette was asked about recent rumors involving the Orioles and Cubs and also how the club weighs the question of whether to trade prospects for veteran players.
“A lot of those rumors aren’t true, but they’re interesting,” Duquette said. “I’m sure the Cubs would like to move (Alfonso) Soriano, right? They have a commitment to him, and he hasn’t really performed that well since he signed that contract.
“We have a lot of resources, and we evaulate every team from top to bottom and then we figure out where we are strong and where we need help and do that with the other clubs.
“Whitey Herzog told me once, ‘You want to make a deal, Dan?’ He said, ‘Okay, I’ll give you a list of players and if there is someone on there that you like that we don’t like, then we can make a deal.’ “