The Orioles have become more of a factor in the last year or two in producing, adding and developing international talent. Their big league team has added a player like Wei-Yin Chen and the farm system has added players like Henry Urrutia and Eduardo Rodriguez, who played in the Futures Game on Sunday, while others like Jonathan Schoop have moved up the prospect ranks.
When it comes to producing international talent, the Orioles, who once resided near the bottom of the majors in this category, are making progress.
But some fans were disappointed when the July 2 date to sign 16-year-old international amateurs arrived and other teams were announcing signings but the Orioles were not.
“We’re active on the international market,” O’s executive vice president Dan Duquette said when asked about the July 2 date. “We’re working all the markets. Teams have different strategies to acquire talent. Our strategy is to sign good players and look for value in the market and that is what our scouts are doing.
“We have signed some players since July 2 on the international market and we’ve signed some players on the domestic market. We are always working to sign players.”
But have the O’s added some of those international players that just became eligible to be signed July 2, as some other clubs have been doing?
“You’re focusing on a market, the international market, where they sign these young players once they become available based on the virtue of their age,” Duquette said. “That is a market that we look at, but like I said, that is really not a key part of our strategy for international signings.”
I asked Duquette if that were an indication that the Orioles are not that impressed with the current crop of international amateurs?
“It says that we are always looking for value on the market, that is all that says,” he said.
Duquette said fans and media should not take that at all to mean the Orioles are punting this season of international signings and reminded me that the time period for a team to spend its allotted international signing money runs for a year starting July 2. He would disagree with any assessment that the Orioles are not signing these players.
“That is not the case. We are active on the international markets,” he said. “We will be out executing our international recruiting strategy for the whole season.”
In a March interview, Duquette told me about some short-term and long-range plans to upgrade the O’s efforts in the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
For the first time since 2010, the Orioles have two teams in the Dominican Summer League this summer. Their DSL-1 team is managed by Elvis Morel and will play 70 games. Their DSL-2 team is managed by the club’s director of Dominican Republic operations, Nelson Norman, and will play 72 games.
Four organizations - the Yankees, Mets, Cubs and Pirates - fielded two teams in the DSL in 2012. This season, the four organizations with two teams are the Orioles, Yankees, Mets and Pirates.
“The two teams in the Dominican give us the opportunity to take a look at more players in one season. The idea is that from quantity will come quality. That is the idea,” Duquette said.
“We had plenty of players in the Dominican and by entering two teams into the schedule it just gives us an opportunity to play them more regularly.
“We are making good progress in the international markets, not just in the Dominican but some of the other kids we are signing from other countries in Latin America.”
Duquette said the organization continues to look at ways to improve and upgrade its facility in the Dominican Republic.