The Orioles didn’t return to Baltimore from the winter meetings with the power bat they coveted, but club executive vice president Dan Duquette was satisfied with the team’s progress this week in Nashville, Tenn.
One of the team’s top priorities was to sign an outfielder, and the Orioles were able to agree to terms with left fielder Nate McLouth on Wednesday. In Thursday’s Rule 5 draft, the team selected 23-year-old left-hander T.J. McFarland.
“I’m glad we signed an outfielder,” Duquette told reporters Thursday morning following the Rule 5 draft. “That was one of our goals, and pending a physical, we will have a deal with Nate McLouth. That was one of our goals. We also wanted to add some left-handed pitching and we’ve been able to do that.”
By re-signing McLouth, who blossomed when he joined the Orioles last August, the team retained a key piece to their 2012 success, and Duquette said he’s pleased with the team’s composition moving forward.
“We have a full complement of players who can play in the field and we have a good pitching staff that’s returning,” Duquette said. “We have a very competitive club as it’s currently constituted, 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 [Mark] Reynolds and [Joe] Saunders right now, but I think we have some capable people who can do the job they did for us.”
Duquette said re-signing Saunders was “still an option.” The Orioles had dialogue with Saunders’ representatives this week, but interest in the left-hander has begun to pick up.
The Orioles will keep pursuing a power bat, which would most likely be acquired by trade. Duquette said trade talks consummated here in Nashville were productive, and the Orioles have a better feeling for which teams could be willing trade partners.
“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.”