Dan Duquette: Still looking to improve 2015 Orioles via trades

What are Duquette's thoughts about his sinking team?

The Orioles might be plummeting out of playoff contention, but executive vice president Dan Duquette said he is still looking to improve the 2015 ballclub as another deadline nears.

“We look at trade possibilities every day, so there’s a chance we could be active this weekend,” Duquette said. “If we make any deals, it would be because we are focused on helping improve the team.”

When asked if that meant specifically the 2015 team, Duquette responded simply, “Yes.”

Players acquired Sept. 1 or later cannot be eligible for a club’s playoff roster, so Aug. 31 is another deadline of sorts. Most August deals are made with the playoffs in mind.

The Orioles, however, are playing themselves further and further out of the postseason, dropping eight of nine games heading into Saturday night to put them 3½ games behind the Texas Rangers for the second American League wild card.

“We certainly haven’t helped our cause over the last week,” Duquette said. “But there’s more baseball to be played. We have, what, [34] games left?”

When asked if he still views pitching as the primary area of need, or if the sagging offense is now a priority, Duquette said he is looking to upgrade both.

Since he has been with the Orioles, Duquette has made August deals in each of his first three seasons, adding players such as Joe Saunders, Mike Morse and Alejandro De Aza. He said he is in talks with teams to add pieces, but wouldn’t put a percentage on the likelihood of making a deal before Tuesday.

“I won’t handicap it, but we are talking to a number of teams,” Duquette said.

To be involved in an August deal, players must first pass through revocable trade waivers, and teams can pull those players back if they are claimed. If put on revocable waivers a second time and claimed, the player is acquired by the claiming team.

Most players are placed on revocable waivers at least once so teams can gauge trade interest. And though the Orioles surely have done that, Duquette wouldn’t offer specifics, saying this “process is confidential.” One report earlier this week said reliever Darren O’Day had been put on revocable waivers -- but that is considered a formality and sheds little light on what the Orioles might do for the remainder of the month.

Including O’Day, the Orioles have six pending free agents, and a few, like O’Day, Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Davis, certainly could help contenders. Duquette didn’t completely rule out the idea of trading a pending free agent, but again stressed that he’s looking to better this current team not weaken it.

When asked if he has pursued signing some of those free agents to extensions, he reiterated that now is not the time.

“I’m not focused on that,” he said. “We’re not looking at that right now.”

Here are tonight's lineups:

Orioles
Manny Machado 3B
Gerardo Parra LF
Adam Jones CF
Chris Davis DH
Steve Pearce 1B
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Caleb Joseph C
Dariel Alvarez RF
Paul Janish SS

Ubaldo Jimenez RHP

Rangers
Delino DeShields CF
Shin-Soo Choo RF 
Prince Fielder DH
Adrian Beltre 3B 
Mitch Moreland 1B 
Elvis Andrus SS 
Will Venable LF 
Bobby Wilson
Hanser Alberto 2B 

Martin Perez LHP

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