Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the franchise is not in any limbo because of the Toronto Blue Jays' ongoing interest in hiring away executive vice president Dan Duquette.
"Not at all," Showalter said Wednesday before speaking at an autism charity event organized by former Orioles outfielder B.J. Surhoff. "I talked to Dan today. I saw him. I trust and I know our club is running the way it should be in the offseason. I'm very proud to work with Dan."
The Duquette story has loomed over an Orioles offseason otherwise defined by losses of key players. The Blue Jays are looking for a new president, with Duquette the top candidate, and Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos has said he expects Duquette to honor his contract, which runs through 2018.
But Showalter shrugged off the uncertainty.
"We're fine," he said. "The way we've set it up, it kind of runs itself. We've got a lot of good people in place, including Dan, and I'm looking forward to the season."
Showalter joined other speakers, including NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Paralympic swimming star Jessica Long, for Surhoff's leadership conference at Towson University to benefit Pathfinders for Autism.
"This is the biggest event we've ever tried to take on," said Surhoff, who is president of the autism organization. "I think anyone who came today has gotten something from it."
Surhoff and his wife, Polly, helped found Pathfinders for Autism in 2000 as a resource center for families seeking service providers. They had been struck by the need for such an organization when their son, Mason, was diagnosed with autism in 1994.
Silver met Surhoff when the commissioner was an aspiring future lawyer at Rye High School in suburban New York and Surhoff was the star athlete of the class behind him. They reconnected at a party for NBA legend Michael Jordan and have maintained a friendship in recent years.
Whenever talk of a new downtown arena resurfaces — as it did last week with a Cordish Cos. proposal for a $450 million project at the Inner Harbor — there is accompanying speculation about Baltimore's prospects for attracting an NBA or NHL team.
Asked about that prospect, Silver didn't offer much hope for Baltimore or any other city without a team.
"The issue for the NBA right now is that we have no plans to expand," the commissioner said. "We're very focused on the health and competitiveness of our existing 30 teams.
"So, though we're thrilled there are communities like Baltimore, that would even consider wanting an NBA franchise … it's the same message to everybody. We're not planning to expand, and we don't have any teams at this time that are looking to relocate. That's the current status."
Silver spoke more openly about expanding to Europe down the road, though he said "it's nothing in the short-term plans or even the medium-term plans of the league." Because of travel implications, the league likely would add a division of teams rather than just one if it made the leap overseas.
"Europe presents a different opportunity, because expanding to Europe would be additive in terms of the overall business of the league," Silver said. "While there are some terrific American cities that don't have NBA franchises, they wouldn't necessarily change the national footprint of our league. We still do well, television-wise, in many of those markets."
Silver noted that he was in Baltimore just a few weeks ago to meet with Under Armour chief executive officer Kevin Plank.
"There are always projects that we're exploring together," Silver said of Plank. "He's a unique person in his ability to bring together entrepreneurial spirit, crazy hard work ethic and sort of the joy of sport."
Silver said Plank led a session for NBA marketing executives in Miami last week.
After the commissioner spoke in the morning, Showalter charmed the crowd at SECU Arena in the afternoon. He described attending Adam Jones' recent wedding in Arizona and acknowledged that losing free-agent outfielder Nick Markakis "broke my heart."
Showalter said the interest in Duquette and the team's losses in free agency are inevitable byproducts of success.
"I don't consider it an issue," Showalter said. "People wanted Nelson Cruz. People wanted Nick Markakis. People wanted Andrew Miller. So people want our people. That's a good thing, right? It hasn't always been that way."
Showalter said he met with Angelos earlier in the day, something he usually does when he visits Baltimore in the offseason.
"I saw Peter," he said. "We talked about some locker room renovations and some stuff we want to do in Sarasota."