Duquette says speculation on closer ahead of market

Duquette says speculation on closer ahead of market
December 10, 2013, 6:30 pm
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(Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – During much of Tuesday, there was plenty of speculation about who the Orioles were involved with. There were reports the team was near an agreement with free agent reliever Grant Balfour.

Dan Duquette says that’s not true.

“There’s a lot of speculation about that closer thing, and I think the speculation is pretty far out ahead of the market and our involvement in the market,” Duquette said.

“We did make some progress on that in terms of we have a better idea of what the market is there, but we have a lot more work to do.”

The Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations said the team has made an offer to a player, but not a closer.

[RELATED: Tommy Hunter the closer -- for now]

“The speculation that we have a deal or are close to a deal, that’s not accurate,” Duquette said.

“I don’t know why there’s so much speculation out there, maybe because we haven’t been able to close a deal and sign a player.”

Duquette doesn’t generally discuss specific players.

“We made some progress. We met with a couple of teams and we also met with a couple of agents to move on the left-handed hitter,” Duquette said.

He hopes to sign a player before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

“We’re working on a couple of pitching options and hopefully we’ll be able to do some good there,” Duquette said. “We’ve got a good idea of what’s available for us to sign.”

USA Today reported that the team has interest in Chad Gaudin, who has both started and relieved in his career. Gaudin was 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 30 games, which included 12 starts for San Francisco.

The 30-year-old Gaudin has a 45-44 record with a 4.44 ERA in 11 major league seasons. He’s pitched for nine teams. He made $750,000 last year with the Giants.

A few hours before Duquette spoke with reporters, manager Buck Showalter, who sat next to him for the session, said he would welcome Brian Roberts back to the team.

[MORE: Showalter preaches patience]

Duquette said he wasn’t focused on second base now. He wanted to deal with adding a hitter who can play the outfield and strengthening the pitching staff.

Near the end of the season, Duquette said he wanted to extend Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. He has not met with their agent, Scott Boras to discuss contract extensions at the meetings.

“There’s a time of the year to do that, and it’s not right now,” Duquette said.

NOTES: The Orioles officially signed Ryan Webb to a two-year contract. The agreement, which was revealed on Friday, was made official when he right-hander passed his physical. The 27-year-old Webb was 2-6 with a 2.91 ERA for Miami last year. In five seasons with the Marlins and San Diego, Webb is 13-15 with a 3.29 ERA.

-Duquette said that there is some interest in the Orioles’ “core” players, but they weren’t going to be traded. There’s interest in some of the team’s younger players, too.

“That’s encouraging for us for our major league team, for coming up to help the team, for us to be able to trade them,” Duquette said. “We have a little bit more depth. It’s not significantly more, but we have a little bit more.”

-Duquette also said that there were some interesting candidates in Thursday’s Rule 5 draft.