The Orioles haven’t been buyers at baseball’s trade deadline in seven years, but that could change this July, executive vice president Dan Duquette says.
“We are in contention, so we are going to do whatever we can to make the playoffs,” Duquette told reporters after the Orioles’ pre-game “State of the Team” address Saturday afternoon for season-ticket holders at Camden Yards.
Duquette said he feels the organization has players in the minors that can assist in a playoff push, but that doesn’t mean he won’t explore all avenues.
“We’re in contention, and we need to look at all our options to help our team,” Duquette said. “We have some pretty good options in our minor league system to bolster the team that we have here.”
It’s unlikely that Duquette would part with any of the club’s top prospects, however.
“I like to build an organization so that we have depth throughout the organization,” he said.
When asked by reporters if he felt he had support from ownership to make a financial move to better the 2012 club, Duquette said, “Absolutely, yeah, absolutely.”
Earlier, Duquette was asked by a fan about the trade deadline, and this is what he said: “I wouldn’t be too anxious to look outside the organization because we have a lot of the players here. But we’re always looking. We’re always looking and you can be rest assured that the ownership here wants to win this year. And if we’re in a position where we can improve the team and it makes sense, we’re certainly going to do it.”
In the last few years, under the regime of former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, the Orioles were so far out of contention by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline that they were inevitably sellers — trading veterans such as George Sherrill, Will Ohman, Koji Uehara and Derrek Lee.
They haven’t made a non-waiver deadline deal that could be construed as buying since acquiring outfielder Eric Byrnes from Colorado for outfielder Larry Bigbie in 2005 — and that was a fairly even, and insignificant, swap.
Duquette, who has continually added veterans to the minors this season, said reliever J.C. Romero can opt out of his minor-league deal with the Orioles if he is not promoted by the All-Star break. Infielder Miguel Tejada, however, does not have such a clause.
“In Miggy’s [contract], we had an understanding that he could stay for a while,” Duquette said of Tejada, who has hit .248 with no homers in his first 121 at-bats for the Tides. “There’s no date certain for him to make a decision on his contract.”
Romero, who is currently on the inactive list to deal with a personal issue, has allowed three hits, two walks and no earned runs in 10 1/3 innings while striking out 11 batters.
“I think it’s the All-Star break, but he’s throwing well,” Duquette said. “He looks good.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has not revealed his rotation for the upcoming homestand, but if Hammel and Chen stay on regular rest, they would pitch Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday is still listed as TBA — and, because of Monday’s offday, it could be Tommy Hunter or Brian Matusz.
“We think we got an idea, but something could change,” Showalter said. “Hunter’s had three days off [since starting Wednesday] so he’s got the potential to help us in the bullpen if we had a sudden need the next couple of days.”
Another variable is the availability of long reliever Eveland, whose wife, Ashley, is due to deliver the couple’s second son on Tuesday. Doctors expected an early delivery, but also won’t induce until a week after her due date.
“We’re looking anywhere from ten minutes from now me leaving, to a week, 10 days from now,” said Eveland, who can take up to three days for paternity leave while the Orioles can replace him temporarily on the 25-man roster. “Obviously I’m thinking about it a lot, but it’s not overly stressful for me. She’s a pro.”
The Orioles could add another starter for the end of the week, but Duquette said, “We don’t have any current plans for that.”
Around the horn
LHP Dontrelle Willis, who was supposed to make his first start for Norfolk on Saturday, was scratched with a stomach illness. In his place, lefty reliever Rich Rundles made the start. Rundles becomes the 17th pitcher in 77 games to start for Norfolk; in that span, the Orioles have used six starters. … Reliever Matt Lindstrom (right finger) is still on schedule to pitch an inning Sunday for Double-A Bowie. He lasted just 1 1/3 innings in what was supposed to be a two-inning stint Friday, but Showalter said the most important thing was for him to pitch in two separate innings. He could still be activated Tuesday. … High-A Frederick starter Dylan Bundy threw five scoreless innings against Myrtle Beach on Saturday. The club's top pitching prospect allowed two hits and two walks while striking out two. His ERA at Frederick is 3.42 in six starts for the Keys. ... Dylan’s older brother, Double-A Bowie right-hander Bobby Bundy, left his start Saturday in the fifth after being hit in the left leg by a batted ball.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times