The Winter Meetings are here once again

Ah yes, the most wonderful time of the year for offseason enthusiasts, and for cell phone chargers everywhere; the Winter Meetings. Being held this year at National Harbor, Maryland, the Winter Meetings are a time during the offseason you’ll hear more rumors than a high school hallway.

This year, the meetings began yesterday, and run until Friday, December 8 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

For the Orioles, there’s no way you don’t already know what they could look for at this year’s meetings. A corner outfielder, a designated hitter, a catcher, a leadoff batter, and possible rotation help. It’s been said, many times, many ways… 

Wait, that’s part of the Christmas song I’m hearing for the fifteenth time this month.

If you’re expecting the Orioles to walk out of the meetings with all of those slots filled, you’d probably be expecting too much, way too much.

Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette has a history of not making too many splashes at the Winter Meetings. It’s evident if you take a look back at the past few years.

In 2012, the Orioles walked out with a new contract for OF Nate McClouth, and a Rule-5 draft pickup from Cleveland in T.J. McFarland.

McFarland has gone 12-7 in 121 appearances (two starts) over four years with the Orioles. His 4.27 ERA over four years keeps fans wondering why he was tendered a contract for 2017. Duquette has always been a fan of McFarland, and he does bring a welcomed left-handed arm into the bullpen. So there’s that.

In 2013, the Orioles were able to obtain some bullpen help, as relief pitcher Ryan Webb was signed on a two-year deal for $4.5MM. It was also during these meetings that talks began with the Orioles and free agent closer Grant Balfour. And thus began the rumblings of just how intense the Orioles physical is.

The following year, the Orioles returned home from the Winter Meetings with two Rule-5 draft selections, both pitchers, both right handers; Jason Garcia, and Logan Verrett. Garcia, currently in Double-A Bowie, pitched to a 4.73 ERA in 24 appearances with the Baysox last season. Logan Verrett was just re-signed by the Orioles on November 30. He could possibly fill the void that Vance Worley leaves behind after he was non-tendered.

Last year’s meetings were fun, right? Remember when the Orioles had announced they laid a seven-year, $150MM deal on the table for Chris Davis, and then yanked it off the table, but not before reportedly increasing it to $168MM over seven years. But wait, that wasn’t true though, right?

“We don’t have any comment on the rumors”, Dan Duquette told the media. “Lot of rumors out there.”

Nonetheless, the O’s brought home Joey Rickard, as one of three Rule-5 draft selections. The other two, RHP Cory Jones, from St. Louis, and LHP Chipper Smith, from the Marlins. Jones, with the Shorebirds, and Keys last season, pitched to a 3.41 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts). Smith, after just two starts with the Keys, was returned to the Marlins organization after posting a 7.27 ERA.

So far, the Orioles have been fond of Nick Hundley, Welington Castillo, Angel Pagan, and also liked Jason Castro, but didn’t want to make any commitment on him with Chance Sisco knocking on the door. Of course, Buck Showalter has said that the organization would love to bring back Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez, and Matt Wieters, depending on the market of course.

Here’s a few quotes from Dan Duquette, speaking with Jim Duquette, and Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio last night:

In regards to Mark Trumbo, the Orioles have “made a strong offer to keep him“. Duquette also said, “We’ve had several conversations” … “We’ve made a couple offers“.

About Manny Machado: “We’re not actively engaged in long-term extension talks“.

When asked about Zach Britton: “There’s a lot of interest in Zach Britton. Personally, I like Zach Britton on our club, but there are teams interested“.

When asked if the Orioles have moved past Matt Wieters, Duquette joked, “waiting to see if the price stays high“.

Per Roch Kubatko, “Duquette again downplayed need for DH, citing Trey Mancini. Wants RF and veteran catcher. Wanted improved OF defense“.

Day one is in the books. On to day number two.  



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