A few afternoon notes from Camden Yards

I’ve got plenty of quotes to pass along later from today’s interviews with Orioles manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette at Camden Yards, where workers are removing the red, white and blue bunting from the fences.

There’s nothing newsy. Duquette didn’t map out his plans for the offseason.

Left-hander T.J. McFarland was the only player in the clubhouse while the media hung out for almost an hour. He grabbed a flight home to Chicago this afternoon.

duquette-cruz-celebrate-aleast-sidebar.jpgDuquette said he expects the payroll to increase again in 2015 based on the arbitration-eligible players on the roster and potential free-agent signings. He didn’t dismiss the possibility of re-signing Nelson Cruz, but he also knows that the outfielder is seeking a big multi-year deal after leading the majors with 40 home runs.

Duquette spoke of how the Orioles provided Cruz with “a platform” this season after signing him for $8 million in spring training. Now it’s time for Cruz to cash in, and the Orioles are expected to make a qualifying offer of $15.3 million.

The Orioles will attempt to sign Nick Markakis to an extension, as I’ve written in the past. They’d also like to retain left-hander Andrew Miller, but may not have room on the expanded payroll for him.

Showalter said the only positive development from Chris Davis’ suspension carrying over to opening day is the Orioles will have an open spot on their 40-man roster during the winter and spring. That’s a big deal.

Pitchers and catchers will report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota on Feb. 18, with the first workout taking place the following day. Positions players are due on Feb. 23, with the first full-squad workout the following day.

The Orioles will conduct another mini-camp in Sarasota, which is likely to run from Jan. 11-15.

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