MacPhail’s Q&A with the season ticket holders

O’s president Andy MacPhail had his latest “state of the Orioles” address for the club’s season ticket holders at the ballpark on Saturday afternoon.

Here is an excerpt of some of the questions he got, topics that were addressed and his answers.

MacPhail was asked about the plan to rebuild with youth. Is he staying the course with that or does he now have to go in a different direction?

“I think you have tried the band aid approach here. I just don’t see anyway in the American League East that’s ever going to work. You have to build a foundation of young talent.

“We have the advantage of seeing a team that did it in Tampa. They had to get beat up for x-amount of years in a row.

“To me there is no doubt in my mind, the conviction there is easy. I don’t see any other path.”

He discussed the O’s spending in some recent First-Year Player drafts.

“In the two drafts that I’ve been here in 2008 and 2009, we have spent more in the amateur draft than the Yankees have. We have spent more than the Blue Jays and the Rays have. The only team in our division that has out-spent us, and it’s by a relatively small amount, are the Red Sox.

“This is an area where we need to get that All-Star caliber player and we need to be as aggressive as we possibly can.”

What about getting a power hitter for the middle of the lineup?

“There is no question in our mind we need a bonafide, middle-of-the lineup guy. We think it’s going to make the guys around our hitters better.

“You are almost better pursuing in that venue (free agency) then through a trade. You can imagine who they would want back. You don’t want to rob Peter to pay Paul. You are almost better off just paying the money and attacking them as a free agent.”

With the trade deadline approaching are there any untouchables on the team?

“If the deal is right, you can’t say untouchable. It would be hard for me to think of a deal where you think ‘this is really right,’ if you are giving up one of your core young starters, for example. But if they are offering something that we don’t have a ready supply of, from that perspective, nobody is untouchable.”

How are the contract talks going with top pick Manny Machado?

“I’m very confident that he’ll sign. I also think that like most of these players that go in the top part of the draft, it’s likely to be around that August 15th or 16th deadline.

“We won’t get him out there as quickly as probably the player would want or we wound want. That’s just the modus operandi of agents that have those high-caliber players.”

Will the O’s look to upgrade at first base next year?

“I think it will definitely get a lot of our attention. We do have the benefit of what appears to be a decent (free agent) class rolling out, not just next year, but the year after, which will impact who’s available this off-season at that position.”

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