LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - After Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette met with the Baltimore reporters during a pre-Winter Meetings briefing tonight, he took a few minutes to answer a few more questions with MASNSports.com
What is the top priority right now?
“The Orioles are going to look to build their pitching staff. So that means we are trying to sign a starter and reliever, and we are also looking for a left-handed hitter.”
You mentioned that some offers have been made to pitchers. What is your sense of what could happen with those offers in the next day or two?
“It is a very competitive market. You have so many teams chasing so few pitchers. It is difficult and it is moving fast. I think we made a couple of competitive offers and we’ll see if we can get something done this week.”
You called the starting pitching market robust. Pitching is very expensive right now. Is that a market the Orioles are not playing in, in terms of a long-term, big-dollar pitching deal right now?
“It’s robust for the players, right? The values that teams are putting out there for the starting pitching is significant. The Orioles are looking to sign a starter and reliever, and hopefully we can get something done.
“That is a difficult market to play in the long-term and be successful. If you look at the record over the years, we do much better with pitchers that come through our farm system and develop or pitchers we got through trade, like (Chris) Tillman, for example. We’ve got pretty good pitching depth, but we’d like to supplement that by signing a pitcher or two down here this week.”
The topic of budget has come up a lot this week. You mentioned to Roch Kubatko and me earlier this week there is a potential for the payroll to go up, but you are not going to address specifics on that. As fans wonder about that, do you feel comfortable with what you can spend to produce a playoff team in 2014?
“Well, I can tell you, we’ve got plenty of resources to field a competitive team and we’ve got a much stronger base to our pitching staff now than we’ve had the last couple of years.
“With the young pitchers we’ve got coming - (Kevin) Gausman, Mike Wright, Eduardo Rodriguez and Tim Berry - they are all on the horizon and then we’ve got four solid starters, maybe five, if you count T.J. McFarland with the big league club. They are all here, that is the good news. Now we’ll try to go out and add some veteran experience to supplement that group.”
For video of the one-on-one interview, click here.