The last time the Orioles employed a legitimate big leaguer from the Baltimore area, his name was Cal Ripken Jr. — and he retired in 2001.
If new executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette gets his way, that local pipeline will reopen under his tenure.
During his Tuesday news briefing at the Hilton Anatole during this week's annual winter meetings, Duquette was asked whether a player's local ties — in this case Chicago White Sox pitcher and Mount St. Joseph alum Gavin Floyd — would play into his decision to pursue that player.
"We are going to make it a priority to sign local kids off the amateur free-agent market, OK?" Duquette said. "So you'll see us sign [amateur] players like Gavin Floyd. We are going to make that a priority."
Duquette said he wants fans to be engaged in local players' careers and watch them as they progress through area affiliates such as Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie. And he feels the club should have an in with Maryland prep and college players because of their relationship with the club's regional cross-checker Dean Albany, who has a long-standing involvement with amateur baseball in the area.
"I think it's good for the fans. They can follow them all through the minor leagues," Duquette said. "Come out and see the stars of tomorrow in the Orioles' farm system in the minor leagues and then follow them all the way to Camden Yards. So that's a priority for us, and we've got a good man in Dean Albany to lead that charge."
Erbe re-signs with Orioles
One local player the Orioles drafted, signed and developed — but allowed to leave this offseason — has returned.
Right-handed pitcher Brandon Erbe, a Baltimore native and McDonogh graduate, has agreed to a minor league deal with the Orioles, Duquette announced Tuesday.
Erbe, who turns 24 this month, was taken off the 40-man roster this past season without making the big leagues and left as a six-year, minor league free agent at season's end.
A third-round pick in 2005, Erbe's career has been derailed by injuries, including labrum surgery in 2010. Erbe, who reached Triple-A Norfolk in 2010, pitched in just five games in 2011 between the Gulf Coast League Orioles and short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
In on Slowey, not on Santos
There were only two trades announced during the day Tuesday: The Toronto Blue Jays picked up closer Sergio Santos from the Chicago White Sox for minor league pitcher Nestor Molina, and the Colorado Rockies acquired starter Kevin Slowey from the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named.
Duquette confirmed that the Orioles had talked to the Twins about Slowey, a 27-year-old right-hander who was 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in 14 games (eight starts), before the Twins sent him to Colorado.
However, Duquette did not talk to the White Sox about Santos, whose trade from Chicago was a bit surprising.
"I didn't know he was on the market," Duquette said.
Around the horn
Former Oriole Miguel Tejada is working out in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and wants to play in the big leagues in 2012. The 37-year-old infielder, who has had two separate stints in Baltimore, is not on the Orioles' radar. … The Orioles also don't seem to be interested in outfielder Alfonso Soriano, whom the Chicago Cubs are shopping. … The announcement of the postseason awards selected by the Baseball Writers' Association of America will be televised in November 2012 by MLB Network. It's the first time the awards — Most Valuable Player, Cy Young Award, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year — will be aired on live TV.
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