Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter met with season ticket holders today at Camden Yards. It was their annual “State of the Orioles” address.
There were a few questions about the Orioles’ minor league system, during which time Duquette defended the O’s farm. One woman asked this: “When will the Orioles farm system come into the 21st century?”
When asked exactly what she meant by that, the woman said it was something she read.
“The same people that rate our farm system are the same people that pick us to finish last in the AL East every year,” Duquette told the fans. “We have more wins than any team in the AL since 2012, since Buck and I began working together.
“We are state-of-the-art in several different areas, so trust me when I tell you the farm system is very good. The people that rate those, I want to ask them, is a good farm system the one that produces a lot of players, or produces great players?
“We have great players that came through our system. We have Matt Wieters, Manny Machado, (Jonathan) Schoop, Zach Britton, the dominant closer in the league. That, to me, is the sign of a healthy farm system. Don’t believe everything you read. The Orioles are heathy, from top to bottom.”
Later, Duquette was asked to assess the pitching depth on the farm.
“In talking about making additions from the farm, if Dylan Bundy can pitch like he pitched last night, that would be a big addition to the team. If Kevin Gausman can advance on his skills, that would be a big shot in the arm,” he said.
“Actually, our pitching staff has more innings than any other pitching staff in the league from pitchers that have come through the minor leagues this year. So we have traded a number of young pitchers because we have been in a competitive position over the past five years. We traded some of the pitching depth we had to advance.
“Who do we have available in the minors? Some of the guys you’ve seen this year. I still like a couple of lefties, Ariel Miranda and Jayson Aquino. We still have Mike Wright developing and Ty Wilson. Oliver Drake is in Triple-A. We have a terrific left-hander named Tanner Scott, who just went to Bowie. He has a killer fastball. If it’s over the plate, they don’t hit it. This kid (Cody) Sedlock, our top pick that is in Aberdeen, he could advance pretty quickly.”
Duquette was specifically asked about the rumors of a potential trade of pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to San Diego.
“We are trying to staff our team to play and win in October,” he said. “So anything you see we are trying to do is to that end. We have three teams here within a game and a half. They are doing everything they can to staff their clubs and make them strong, and we’ll do what we can to make our club strong.”
One fan said she hoped the Orioles don’t trade young players for a rental, as the O’s did in the Eduardo Rodriguez-for-Andrew Miller deal.
“You have to reinvest your minor league assets into your major league team if you want to advance and win the World Series,” Duquette said. “Those are trade-offs you have to make. Rather than look at it from a negative, I look at it from a positive. We got a chance to advance and play for the pennant. Given the same opportunity, I’d probably do it again because that is what we’re here to do. We’re here to try to win the pennant.”
Duquette was also asked about a possible contract extension for Manny Machado.
“We tried to sign Manny long term a couple of years ago and we didn’t get the deal done and then he got hurt,” Duquette said. “We revisited the issue in spring training. I’m sure we’ll be able to revisit that. I’m encouraged. Manny likes it here and he respects the organization. That is something we can revisit in the future.”
On that topic, Showalter said: “I’m just real thankful of the support we’ve had from ownership to get to this point. We have the highest payroll in Orioles history and that comes with a price that you help us pay.”
A young fan asked Showalter about winning a World Series.
“That is why we get up every morning,” he said. “We’re not out here to kiss babies and have parades. You know how cool that would be if we were the last team standing?”