New Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette held his first news briefing of the Winter Meetings this evening and introduced new special assistant Lee Thomas and new executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira to the Baltimore-area media.
“I’m looking forward to having both these guys,'' Duquette said. "They’ve got terrific track records in the industry and they will be be a great resource for the all the young people in the organization.”
The feeling obviously is mutual.
"I don’t think people know how good Dan Duquette is,'' Thomas said. "I really don’t. I think there are a lot of people out there who missed the boat on him. He and Buck are going to work great together and if Dan gets him the right players, you’re going to see great things happen. I really believe that.”
Duquette said that he met with two teams earlier in the day and indicated that the Orioles contingent would have a staff meeting on Monday morning before fanning out to make contact with other clubs. He seemed hopeful that the Orioles will be able to get something done here over the next four days, and it's no secret that the club will be seeking pitching help.
“We’d like to support our pitching staff,'' he said. "We’d like to add to our pitching staff and then we’d also like to add a bat in the outfield. Add some depth to our roster. So, I don’t know how quickly this market is going to develop. I have a feeling that some of these (free agent) signings are going to go beyond the Winter Meetings, but we’re looking forward to the hunt this week.
"I don’t want people to be disappointed if we don’t come home (with something), because there are going to be opportunities at the end of the week, after the week is over. We have our shopping list. We’re looking to add depth to our pitching staff and upgrade our team and if we can, add a bat to our team, but we’re also mindful of upgrading our defense.”
Duquette deftly dodged a question about Manny Ramirez, who has reportedly applied for reinstatement, but don't get too excited about that. Ramirez would have to serve at least a 50-day suspension for his second violation of the MLB drug policy.
The Orioles are interested in acquiring a bat, but it seems unlikely that will turn to a one-dimensional DH. Buck Showalter has said that he would like someone who could move in and out of the DH role and help in other areas, but he said he would not be inflexible if the right player became available at the right price.
“I think if there’s a player, we’re always open to all those things,'' Showalter said. "I don’t think we’re in a position to not examine everything and see what might be a fit. You’d like to be able to move some guys in and out of that role, but if the right guy presented himself, it’s not a problem.”