Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said he was encouraged that third baseman Manny Machado said before Sunday's season finale he was open to a long-term extension, but added that more pressing priorities exist this offseason.
After emerging as one of the game's top all-around players this season, Machado will get a hefty raise next season in his first year of arbitration eligibility. He is under team control for the next three seasons, but would become a free agent following the 2018 season at the ripe age of 26.
During Monday's season-ending press conference, Duquette said that the club previously attempted to lock up Machado long term — as they did with pending free agents Chris Davis and Matt Wieters — but "we didn't quite get to a deal."
Duquette emphasized that the team's offseason priority is improving the club's starting pitching and attempting to retain the club's existing free agents, including first baseman Chris Davis.
"It is heartening that Manny wants to play here, we've got him for three more years and that's something we can consider in the offseason but I've got to tell you, we got a lot more work to do," Duquette said. "We've got a lot more work to do and the fact that Manny's gonna be here for the next three years under his current arrangement, doesn't mean that's a back-burner item, but we have a lot more urgent things to look at."
"We've already looked at that and we can look at that again," Duquette continued. "Manny's a great player, we'd love to have him long-term."
Surgery not recommended for Harvey
Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, who has been shelved with recurring elbow tightness, will not require surgery after visiting renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.
Harvey seemed headed for Tommy John surgery, but instead, Andrews recommended four to six weeks of rest and then he can resume throwing.
"The doctors are recommending based upon the healing they've seen, they're recommending he continue to pitch," Duquette said. "If he does throw four to six weeks from now and still has an issue, we can do the surgery then. But we've sent him to see several doctors and they're all recommending he continue to throw."
Harvey, the Orioles' first-round pick in 2013, has a history of recurring elbow problems. He was shut down prematurely in 2014 because of elbow tightness after throwing just 87 2/3 innings that season. After a strong spring training this season, he suffered a hairline fracture in his right fibula after getting hit by a comebacker.
He then experienced elbow tightness again in mid-May. He did not pitch in a minor-league game this season, but was slated to pitch in the Arizona Fall League before feeling discomfort again throwing in instructional league last month.
Update on coaches
Duquette said the team is working this week to re-sign manager Buck Showalter's coaching staff. All eight coaches' contracts are up.
"We started work on that a couple of months ago," Duquette said. "We met on that again today. We're going to get that resolved as soon as we can. We got a lot of work to do this offseason as far as staffing our team and having a good coaching staff is a good place to start."
Showalter said he'd like to have them all back.
"They know that," Showalter said. "Everybody is kind of taking a few days to get home, travel. Dan's talked to them. I've talked to them. They understand where we are. Some of them have decisions to make. … As a group, this is the best coaching staff I've been able to have, but sometimes there are things that come into play, but none of them will be from within."
Around the horn
Duquette said that a checkup MRI performed on 2B Jonathan Schoop's right knee was sound. "The swelling's down," Duquette said. "We got a good report." Schoop missed 2 ½ months with a sprained MCL and partially-torn PCL. … RHP Chaz Roe, who didn't pitch at all the final 10 days of the season, had been dealing with flexor mass discomfort in his right arm. … Funeral services for Showalter's mother, Lina, will be held at the Flomaton First Baptist Church in Flomaton, Ala., on Saturday at noon. Lina Showalter died late Saturday night at the age of 87.