After he addressed Orioles fans today at FanFest, Orioles vice president Dan Duquette talked further about the Toronto rumors and situation one more time with reporters behind the main stage.
“It was important for the fans to know my singular focus has been on improving the Orioles,” Duquette said. “Some of the additions that we’ve made I feel will give us another strong and competitive team.
“These trade rumors, lot of times players will be involved in them. Sometimes managers get traded and it’s even rarer that executives get traded. It was a unique experience. When you have a good team and you do well, other people take notice.
“This is a team that has steadily improved and you can see from the enthusiasm of the fans. They like our team and have been very supportive. Having the chance to return our pitching staff and a lot of our bullpen is very attractive to us.”
A reporter asked Duquette what would have been attractive to him about the Toronto position?
“What I enjoy most about being a baseball executive is building teams and working with people to help them develop their skills and that is something I’ve done my whole career,” he said.
Were the rumors and stories a distraction to the Orioles?
“Well, again it is important for the Orioles fans to know my singular focus is on improving the team,” Duquette said. “We do that day by day, trade by trade and addition by addition, and we’ve done it this year as we have in the past. We are not trying to win the offseason. We are trying to put together a team that can compete and get to the offseason and prevail. And that is different than making headlines in the winter time. The biggest and most powerful improvement we have this year is (Manny) Machado is coming back and (Matt) Wieters is coming back.”
Duquette said the O’s are still looking for bullpen help.
“Our real need is to replace Andrew Miller, but there are not many pitchers of that quality available,” Duquette said. “I think we’ll keep looking. I always look for pitchers - it doesn’t matter whether they are left- or right-handed - that can get out both right- and left-handed batters. So we are looking for another pitcher that can help us.”
He was asked if the Toronto situation is behind him and the Orioles for good.
“My focus is on the Orioles and doing what I can to make the team competitive and that is what I’m doing,” he said.
Duquette was asked about possible contract extensions for Wieters and Chris Davis.
“We’ve explored extensions in the past for both players,” Duquette said. “I don’t know what we will do in the future, but I do know that the history of his representative is to take his players to free agency.”
Finally, Duquette was asked about his answer on a recent national radio interview. The questioner said he was surprised the Orioles didn’t let him out of his contract and Duquette said, “That is a good question.”
Today he said, “Like I said, my focus is on the Orioles and helping them and I’m glad to be doing that.”