Duquette: Orioles "pretty good ball club"

Duquette: Orioles "pretty good ball club"
December 6, 2012, 12:15 pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dan Duquette is leaving the Winter Meetings with more than he came. The Orioles re-signed outfielder Nate McLouth on Wednesday, drafted a left-handed pitcher on Thursday and did lots and lots of talking.

“Things are happening every day for the Orioles,” Duquette said. “We’re working all the time. As far as some of our trade options, I don’t know if they’re going to come together.”

Duquette’s second Winter Meetings as executive vice president of baseball operations was much different than his first. He went into this one with a much shorter shopping list and all that remains is to add a big bat.

The Orioles talked with many teams and apparently haven’t come close to making a deal.

“We made progress in our trade discussions—some of them developed and we can make a deal. Others fell by the wayside,” Duquette said.

He went through the roster position-by-position, mentioning that manager Buck Showalter may move Chris Davis to first base. If that happens, he says he’s OK with platooning Wilson Betemit and the recently acquired Danny Valencia at designated hitter.

“We have a pretty good ball club today as it’s presently constituted,” Duquette said. ‘”This is a pretty good ball club with the people we have on it right now.”

So far, the Orioles have lost just Mark Reynolds and Robert Andino from the team that lost to the Yankees in the Division Series. They probably won’t re-sign Joe Saunders. Duquette met with his agents here.

“That’s still an option,” Duquette said.

Duquette said he really likes the addition of Conor Jackson, who sports a .271 lifetime batting average in seven major league seasons, but played for the White Sox’s Triple-A team in Charlotte last season. Jackson has played first base in the majors, but last year played the outfield.

Though Jackson has a minor league contract, he could compete for a spot in spring training at first base or the outfield, Duquette said.

As he prepared to leave the cavernous Gaylord Opryland Hotel, Duquette said he liked adding McLouth and T.J. McFarland. There will probably be a trade coming along to add a bat for some of the Orioles’ pitching.

“We have a lot more depth to our pitching staff, which is to me, the number one key to being competitive and then we have some young pitchers on the horizon,” Duquette believes. ‘We’ve got good leadership, too. Our manager is tops.”

With the 40-man roster full, Duquette pronounced himself satisfied—for the moment.

“We have a full complement of players that can play in the field and we have a good pitching staff that’s returning so we have a very competitive club as it’s currently constituted,” Duquette said.

“We’re going to look to add a couple of things to our ball club, but if we were to break [camp] today, we’ve got everybody returning except for Reynolds and Saunders right now, but I think we’ve got some capable people that can do the job that they did for us.”