Some items from around the AL East…
- Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said his team is “still taking a look at” whether or not to start trading veterans, as he discussed the Orioles’ status in a recent radio appearance on 670 The Score’s “Inside The Clubhouse” show (partial transcript provided by 670TheScore.com’s Bruce Levine, plus the audio link is included). While Duquette didn’t firmly indicate that a sell-off was coming, he did admit that “I am not sure we will be in that position” to consider adding pieces come Memorial Day, which is when the O’s and other teams usually take stock in their rosters.
- Since the trade market has yet to really kick into gear, Duquette said that the Orioles “haven’t had that many calls, frankly” about their impending free agents. Brad Brach and Zach Britton could end up getting the most attention, as Duquette predicted “a robust market for relief pitchers.” The market for position players is harder to predict, with Duquette not knowing how things will fare in regards to a Manny Machado trade. “The issue for the Orioles would be, ’Will the Orioles ultimately trade a player who’s on his way to a Triple Crown or possibly MVP season?’” Duquette said. “That’s an issue for the club. And in the offseason, there were some teams interested in Manny, but there wasn’t a lot of talent coming back. Because teams know it’s going to take a lot of money to re-sign Manny.”
- Russell Martin tells Sportsnet.ca’s Jeff Blair that he is willing to spend more time as an infielder in the latter stages of his career. “Whatever management thinks makes the team better, gives us a better chance to win. You know, the goal for me on any team I’ve played on is what’s best for the squad. And I’ve always been a fan of the infield,” Martin said. The Blue Jays catcher has 33 career appearances as a third baseman, four at second base, and one game each at shortstop and right field during his 13-year career, so he certainly provides more versatility than most backstops. Due to several Toronto infielders landing on the DL and backup catcher Luke Maile’s surprisingly hot bat, Martin has already made four appearances at third base this season. This positional flexibility could make Martin into a unique backup option in 2019 (the final year of his contract) or beyond, as well as providing Toronto with the means to give catching prospects Danny Jansen or Reese McGuire some quality playing time as early as this season.
- Though Jonny Venters has the service time to decline a minor league demotion, the southpaw agreed to a consent form that allows the Rays to send Venters to the minors during a 45-day window that began when he made the 25-man roster, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Since Venters’ contract was purchased on April 25, that 45-day period is up on June 8. With a 1.13 ERA over his first eight innings, it doesn’t seem Venters is a candidate for demotion, though the Rays’ unique deployment of their pitchers requires a lot of roster shuffling. Venters is in the midst of a remarkable comeback, returning to a big league mound for the first time since 2012 after his career was thought to be over following three Tommy John surgeries and another UCL procedure.