Dan Duquette Rumors
Big-league ballplayers make plenty of money, but that doesn't mean free agency isn't stressful. Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal takes a fascinating look at free agency as seen through the eyes of Red Sox players. Chris Capuano reports that, whenever he's a free agent, he sends his agent a list of teams in order of preference, but then has to wait to see if there's mutual interest. He also notes that, typically, playing for a winner becomes more and more important to a player the older he gets. David Ross says that, before the 2009 season, he signed to be a backup with the Braves rather than a starter with the Astros because the Braves offered a two-year deal.
Here are more notes from around the American League:
- Conflicting reports yesterday regarding Ervin Santana has everyone confused. "I really don’t know what’s real and what’s not real in that case," Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette told reporters, including Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The biggest culprit for Santana's situation is the right-hander's own camp, which dramatically overestimated his market and then was slow to change gears, ESPN's Buster Olney writes (Insider subscription required). Olney suggests that, if Santana's demands had been more realistic, he could have at least wound up with a contract similar to Matt Garza's or Ricky Nolasco's, rather than the one-year deal he now appears likely to receive.
- Back to the Orioles, Duquette still has the financial flexibility to improve the roster, but is confident in the pitching they currently have in camp, according to MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli. "We have some more resources that we can invest in our team, and we'll take a look at each case as it comes up," Duquette said. "We do have a little more pitching depth with our starting pitching going into the season, and some of the young pitchers we have high hopes for are continuing to develop their skills."
- GM Dave Dombrowski says the Tigers won't be trading any starting pitchers, including Rick Porcello, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Earlier today, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reported that the Tigers would field offers for Porcello.
- Starting pitcher Justin Masterson, who is eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, has surprisingly suggested to the Indians that he might be willing to sign a shorter-term extension, perhaps three years, but the Indians have not yet responded with an offer, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweets.
- The Rangers are trying to develop a long-term answer at catcher, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. Texas hasn't had stability at catcher since Ivan Rodriguez left over a decade ago. "It’s a topic of conversation, absolutely," says GM Jon Daniels. "We’ve had some guys come over here as big-time catching prospects, but we haven’t developed our own long-term championship-caliber starter." The Rangers have beefed up their coaching staff in an attempt to help their catchers develop. The Rangers' best hope of becoming a homegrown regular catcher is, of course, top prospect Jorge Alfaro, who played most of the 2013 season with Class A Hickory.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
Here's the latest from the Orioles' camp...
- The Orioles' inactivity for much of the offseason made executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette a target of criticism, but Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun notes that Duquette ended up with the last laugh by signing Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz at relative bargain prices. While Duquette praised his operations staff for doing their homework to prepare for player acquisitions, he admitted that he wasn't planning on qualifying-offer free agents like Jimenez and Cruz lasting this long. "This is the first full year of the [qualifying offer] implementation, and I'm not sure people understood how the market was going to play out. I can't tell you we envisioned that the market would get to this point," Duquette said.
- Extension talks between the Orioles and J.J. Hardy are still in the very preliminary stages, though one thing Hardy would like to get settled quickly is his future position. "Obviously, that'll be a question that will be answered before all the contract stuff gets figured out and I'd like to know,'' Hardy told Peter Schmuck. "If I'm going to be doing that in a year or two, it would have an impact of some sort." Though Hardy has played every game of his Major League career as a shortstop and Manny Machado was a defensive ace at third last season, it has been presumed that the O's would eventually like to move Machado back to his natural position at short.
- Some more moves could yet be on the way for Baltimore, MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli opines. The team is still looking for pitching and Joe Saunders makes sense, though Ghiroli notes that "nothing is imminent" between the two sides. The O's were talking to Saunders earlier this month and Ghiroli suspects that Saunders would insist on a Major League contract. Saunders had a short stint with the Orioles in 2012, pitching well in seven starts after being acquired in a late-August trade.
As reported by ESPN's Jerry Crasnick earlier today, there was an issue in Tyler Colvin's physical that may be preventing the Orioles from finalizing their minor league deal with the outfielder. This would be the second time this offseason that a problematic physical has interfered with an O's signing, as the club walked away from a two-year agreement with Grant Balfour due to concerns about his wrist and knee.
In other news out of Camden Yards...
- With roughly $82-83MM already committed to the 2014 payroll, Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette says the club's payroll will be closer to $100MM, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports. "This year, if you said $100 [million], that would be reasonable. I think over the course of four years, we have been expanding our payroll. But we are going to stay within the resources of the market." Pitching seems to be the Orioles' target, as Duquette said "things are starting to move again" now that Masahiro Tanaka has signed.
- The Orioles need to be willing to spend more to compete in the AL East, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun opines, especially since the team enjoys extra revenue every year from its co-ownership of MASN.
- It doesn't seem like the Orioles will sign Jack Cust to a minor league contract, MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko hears from a few sources. Cust was at Baltimore's minicamp last week in pursuit of a deal, and Kubatko says that Cust could possibly still be invited to the Orioles' minor league minicamp on February 22.
Here's a look at the AL East as the Rays and Red Sox jostle for control of the division..
- Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette told reporters, including CSNBaltimore's Rich Dubroff, "We’ve pursued some hitters, but we haven’t been able to find the right fit." Duquette added he's looking at options to improve the bullpen, but those may come from Triple-A.
- The Rays were able to acquire outfielder David DeJesus and his approximately $2.4MM salary committment because they are "under budget," a Major League source told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter link).
- Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman made moves this summer with depth in mind, writes Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune. “We talked about it in July, our biggest focus was on augmenting our depth,” Friedman said before Friday’s win. “Essentially right now we have a 37-game season and we’re doing everything we can to put together the most talented team we can going down the stretch. The fact that we play 37 games in 38 days also factored in, something where us having as much depth as we could was important. In our minds this is arguably the deepest roster we’ve had.” The Rays added reliever Jesse Crain in late July, signed designated hitter Delmon Young to a minor league deal on Thursday, and traded for outfielder David DeJesus on Friday.
- The Yankees' acquisition of Alfonso Soriano represents the sixth time in 19 years the club landed an established slugger during the season who had at least the following season left on his contract. Joel Sherman of the New York Post runs down the previous five occurences and ranks them by success. He concludes that those acquisitions - Ruben Sierra, Cecil Fielder, David Justice, Raul Mondesi, and Bobby Abreu - helped the Yanks in the season they were acquired but most of them were problematic beyond that.
- A year after shocking the baseball world, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington has no regrets about his megatrade with L.A., writes Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Edward Creech contributed to this post.
As the baseball world gathers at Citi Field for the All-Star break, the Orioles are looking to bring the Midsummer Classic back to Baltimore in 2016, Childs Walker of the Baltimore Sun reports. It would be the first time the O's have hosted the All-Star Game since 1993, and a 2016 hosting date would also mark the team's 25th season at Camden Yards.
Here's the latest from Charm City...
- Scott Boras told reporters (including Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun) that he hasn't had any conversations with Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette about contract extensions for Chris Davis or Matt Wieters. “Dan and I talk all the time, but it’s the kind of thing where the focus is on the play and not really their contracts now," Boras said. Both players have two years of arbitration eligibility remaining before they're eligible for free agency after the 2015 season. There was talk of a Wieters extension last offseason but the team now believes Wieters will test the open market in 2015. Davis is sure to receive a huge arbitration raise on his current $3.3MM salary, and it will be very interesting to see how any extension talks develop given Boras' involvement and Davis' sudden emergence as an elite slugger.
- The Orioles have been quiet on the international signing front since July 2, but Dan Duquette tells MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski that the team is actively working to identify and access international talent. "We're working all the markets. Teams have different strategies to acquire talent. Our strategy is to sign good players and look for value in the market and that is what our scouts are doing," Duquette said. "We are active on the international markets. We will be out executing our international recruiting strategy for the whole [2013-14] season." You can check out all of MLBTR's coverage of the 2013-14 international signing period here.
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is defending his team's quiet offseason, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. "[W]e're bringing back the core of the group from a year ago and the ball club that we had at the end of the season was a good defensive team," says Duquette. "And we've continued to build our pitching staff and our defense and the core players are young [and] they should continue to improve their offensive capabilities." The Orioles appear likely to take a step back in 2013, but they have an enviable young core that includes infielder Manny Machado, catcher Matt Wieters and outfielder Adam Jones. They could also get pick-me-ups at some point in the season from top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Here are more notes from around the American League.
- Catcher Chris Snyder has accepted a Triple-A assignment with the Angels, Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com reports. The Angels signed Snyder in mid-March as Hank Conger, who had been slated to back up Chris Iannetta, worried the Angels with his throwing. Snyder's deal with the Angels permitted him to opt out and become a free agent, but he has chosen not to do so even though the Angels ultimately decided to go with Conger as their backup. Gonzalez reports that Snyder felt it would be difficult to find a major-league job with another team with Opening Day looming.
- After winning their Opening Day matchup against the Yankees, the Red Sox can officially put 2012 behind them, Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com writes. Their victory was keyed, in part, by two new outfielders, Shane Victorino (who signed a three-year, $39MM deal as a free agent) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (a first-round pick in 2011). "I wasn't part of what happened in the past," says Bradley, "but we're leaving it in the past."
- The Red Sox aren't the only ones who want to leave the past behind. So does former star Kevin Youkilis, who's ready to stop talking about how he's with the Yankees now, MLB.com's Bryan Hoch writes. "I don't sit down and stare at my uniform all game," he says. "I don't look and say, 'Oh wow, look at these pinstripes! This is pretty cool!' I just go out and play baseball."
The Dodgers received an epic performance from their young ace today, as Clayton Kershaw hit his first career home run for what turned out to be the game-winning run. Oh, and he also tossed a complete-game, 4-hit, 94-pitch shutout. Will L.A. regret not completing an extension over the spring if the lefty sticks with his stated intention not to negotiate during the season?
- Shortstop Justin Sellers went from darkhorse roster candidate to Opening Day starter, and now figures to see a lot of action, writes Scott Miller of CBS Sports. Manager Don Mattingly seems inclined to prioritize defense at short until Hanley Ramirez returns: "We want to be able to catch it. And we're willing to sacrifice offense to do it."
- In spite of their massive payroll, the Dodgers will be relying on several "unheralded" players in addition to Sellers, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. Luis Cruz, Mark Ellis, and A.J. Ellis all occupy key positions on the field and in the locker room, even if they aren't in line for the lion's share of the team's salary and press.
- The Reds' Opening Day lineup reveals the club's roster stability, writes David Jablonski of the Dayton Daily News. Of today's starters, only third baseman Todd Frazier and outfielder Shin-Soo Choo were not penciled into the lineup card this time last year.
- Unfortunately for the Reds, the club already needs to replace one of those returning starters for some time. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick suffered a dislocated right shoulder during today's game, reports Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Ludwick re-signed with Cincinnati this past offseason, agreeing to a two-year, $15MM deal (with a mutual option for 2015) after a strong 2012 campaign. Chris Heisey replaced Ludwick after the injury. While Heisey went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, he did make this nice grab and prevented a go-ahead, inside-the-park home run for Peter Bourjos by backing up the center fielder Choo.
- The Orioles are deeper this year than last, and Executive VP of Operations Dan Duquette feels his rotation in particular is deep enough that the team "could probably make a trade," writes Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. As he now heads a "more established club," Duquette aims "to create some urgency for today" while also working to ensure "a steady stream of players coming up through the Minors."
A few notes on the Orioles..
- The Orioles considered trading pitching for a hitter last offseason, but decided not to deal their young hurlers, Jayson Stark of ESPN reports. Stark says the Orioles would not include Dylan Bundy in a deal with the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton, and also ultimately passed on Jason Kubel. “Some of the bats that we could get would have improved our team,” says executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. “But it wasn't a huge improvement. And we wanted to hold onto the pitching depth and see if we could utilize the pitching depth to have a competitive team. And we could always take a look at that [later].”
- Koji Uehara thought he might return to Baltimore this offseason, Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun reports. "I thought that there would be a possibility [of playing in Baltimore], but I didn't especially put a lot of weight on each team or one particular team," says Uehara. "I thought that every team had a chance." The Red Sox signed Uehara to a one-year, $4.25MM deal in December.
- Outfielder Henry Urrutia has finally arrived in the United States, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports writes. The 26-year-old Cuban defector received a $779K bonus from the Orioles in 2012, but had been in Haiti and has only now received a work visa. He will take a physical, then head to Orioles minor-league camp in Sarasota. The O's had intended to send Urrutia to Double-A Bowie last year, Kubatko notes.
Fresh off of their first playoff appearance in 15 years, the Orioles have decided to keep their leadership structure in place for the foreseeable future. The team announced extensions for manager Buck Showalter and executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette through the 2018 season.
Showalter led the Orioles to a 93-69 record this past season. The club defeated the Rangers in a Wild Card play-in game before losing to the Yankees in the Division Series. The 56-year-old finished second to A's manager Bob Melvin in the 2012 American League Manager of the Year voting. Now entering his fourth season with Baltimore, Showalter has a record of 1078-1018 in 14 seasons managing at the MLB level.
Duquette has made a number of significant moves in the year-plus since becoming the club's top baseball executive, as MLBTR's Transaction Tracker shows. He traded for Jason Hammel, Jim Thome and Joe Saunders, signed Wei-Yin Chen and Nate McLouth and extended Adam Jones, for example.
The Orioles will pursue offense this offseason, with a particular focus at designated hitter and left field, according to executive VP Dan Duquette. In a conversation with MLBTR at the GM Meetings Duquette said he has the flexibility to pursue free agents who require long-term commitments.
“Sure. We can consider some multiyear deals,” he said. “I believe that our team, though, has a solid foundation. We could add one or two pieces either through trade or free agency or international free agency in the offseason to help our ballclub.”
Duquette focused on the international market in his first offseason with Baltimore, signing Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada to multiyear deals. The Orioles aren’t as impressed with the starting pitching available internationally this year, Duquette said. At the very least, they’ll check in on the top players.
Duquette said he likes the team’s internal options at second base, especially after adding Alexi Casilla. Robert Andino, Brian Roberts and Ryan Flaherty are alternatives in Baltimore, according to Duquette.