The annual winter meetings usually contain more style than substance, hyped in the days leading up to the event and ultimately ending with most teams making few moves.
The Orioles arrived at the winter meetings looking to trade for a power hitter, a goal that didn't happen this week, but will be something to monitor as the offseason progresses.
But another of the team's top priorities was to add an outfielder, and the Orioles satisfied that need by agreeing to terms with outfielder
McLouth, signed to a minor-league deal last year after he was released by the
The Orioles' only other major roster move happened in the major-league phase of Thursday's Rulle 5 draft when they selected 23-year-old left-hander T.J. McFarland from the Cleveland Indians.
McFarland, a starting pitcher who was 16-8 with a 4.03 ERA last year between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, could compete for a rotation spot in the spring. He must stay on the major league roster for the entire season or Cleveland would have the chance to buy him back.
While the acquisitions weren't splash moves, they filled the team's needs.
"We have a very competitive club as it's currently constituted," Duquette said. "We're going to continue looking and try to add a couple of things to our ballclub. But if we were to break today, we've got everybody returning except [first baseman
Asked whether he was pleased by the team's progress this week, Duquette began rattling off his starting lineup one by one, with cornerstones like
He fueled the notion that
"We have a pretty good ballclub today as it's currently constituted, and we have a bunch of starters and a strong bullpen," Duquette said. "So this is a pretty good ballclub with the people we have on it right now."
For the Orioles, the catch was landing McLouth, which appeared to be a top priority since the season ended. Orioles manager
Over the first two days of the meetings, the Orioles tested the free-agent waters to fill their outfield need, courting options like
The Orioles also pursued several trade options to acquire a power hitter — and saw increased interest in some of their young pitching depth — but were unable to make a deal.
"We made progress in our trade discussions," Duquette said. "Some of them developed and we could make a deal, and some of them fell by the wayside. That's progress. We know if it's not an option we can go somewhere else."
For the most part, the Orioles roster seems settled for the upcoming season. The additions of McLouth and McFarland put the team's 40-man roster at full capacity, so the Orioles would need to make a move before adding another player.
But Duquette said the possibility of re-signing Saunders, the left-hander acquired from the
And Duquettee will continue to seek other ways to upgrade the roster.
The division rival
The Orioles, coming off their first postseason appearance in 15 years, will add $22-23 million to their payroll through arbitration raises to players like Wieters, Davis and closer
"The players on our roster, they earned their raises, they had good years," Duquette said. "But that money's got to come out of our payroll. It's not like our market had expanded. We can field a good competitive team within our market and we have a lot more depth to our pitching staff which is to me, the number one key to being competitive.
"It's still a young, hungry and aggressive ballclub," Duquette said. "We've got good leadership, too. Our manager is tops."