Orioles FanFest 2011 is officially under way at the Baltimore Convention Center, and the Orioles got things started with manager Buck Showalter and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail addressing the large crowd and answering questions from fans.
MacPhail said the club is having discussions with about five players who are potential offseason additions, and he and Showalter had some other interesting things to say.
On acquiring free-agent designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero:
Showalter, in response to a fan's shouting for the Orioles to sign Guerrero: "We're trying. We're taking donations right over there."
MacPhail: "In the event we were fortunate enough to acquire" him, it's likely Luke Scott would move to left field on a full-time basis.
MacPhail on what the Orioles can promise fans after the organization raises single-game ticket prices for the coming season: "I can tell you this: We've already boosted our [player] payroll up significantly higher than it was last year."
MacPhail on bringing back starting pitcher Kevin Millwood, who pitched at the top of the Orioles' rotation last season: "I'm a big Kevin Millwood fan." MacPhail went on to say he certainly hasn't ruled out signing Millwood, but that there's no guarantee the club will add another starting pitcher.
On the Orioles' rotation:
MacPhail: "The key differential when Buck came on board is our starting pitching went from well below average to the second-best in the American League."
Showalter: "When someone tells you it's not about pitching, it is about pitching."
Showalter on pitcher Jim Johnson: "We think J.J. Is a guy who can lock down some innings for us. It's about shortening games in the American League East." Showalter added that in the division, the key is grabbing early leads and holding them. The New York Yankees seem like they "play six innings" a lot of the time, the manager said. Showalter would not commit one way or the other to potentially using Johnson in the starting rotation.
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