Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette spoke to the media (including Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko) on the eve of the Winter Meetings, and here are some of the highlights…
- Duquette didn’t have much of an update on the Orioles’ talks with Chris Davis, only to say that the team is still involved since “I don’t know what the other teams’ market is for him.” As Kubatko put it, there are several baseball people at the Winter Meetings “wondering if the Orioles are the frontrunners by default.” Baltimore has been the only team clearly linked to Davis thus far, though the Cardinals and Red Sox have both been rumored to have at least some interest.
- The Orioles’ shopping list includes an outfielder and Duquette said the team would prefer to add a left-handed hitter to help balance the lineup. As expected, Duquette didn’t comment on specific free agents, such as when he was asked about Baltimore’s rumored interest in Alex Gordon. “He’s a free agent, right? He’s a left-handed hitter. There’s some good players on that market that are outfielders. There’s some good players there,” Duquette said.
- The bullpen is also a need area, and Duquette didn’t comment on how close the O’s were to any sort of final agreement with Darren O’Day.
- Duquette also said that “ideally” the team would add some lefty balance to both the lineup and the pitching staff, though the Orioles would “be OK with five righties” in the rotation. If the O’s don’t have a left-handed starter by Spring Training, Duquette said the team could consider moving Brian Matusz back to the rotation since the southpaw usually stretches out in the spring in order to work on all of his pitches. Matusz struggled as a starter over his first four MLB seasons before reviving his career as a very effective lefty specialist out of the bullpen since 2013.
- First base prospect Christian Walker is receiving “quite a bit of interest” from other teams. Walker has hit .280/.348/.453 with 57 homers over 1723 PA in the minors, though he has only a .751 OPS at the Triple-A level, something Duquette believed could be due to Triple-A Norfolk’s large ballpark. Baseball America ranked him as the third-best prospect in Baltimore’s system prior to the 2015 season.