Orioles baseball writers Eduardo A. Encina and Jon Meoli talk about how the Orioles are focused on slugger Mark Trumbo heading into this week's baseball winter meetings.
NATIONAL HARBOR — The Orioles have made "several offers" to free-agent outfielder-designated hitter Mark Trumbo this offseason, executive vice president Dan Duquette said Sunday at baseball's winter meetings.
"We had several conversations with Mark Trumbo, but we haven't been able to cinch a deal," Duquette said after an appearance on MLB Network Radio. "We had several conversations with him. … In the past, we made a couple offers to him."
Duquette added that they've "had a dialogue going for several weeks," but he's "not sure" about the market for the reigning home run champion.
"He has the qualifying offer, so that's certainly a consideration," Duquette said. "It's a consideration for the club, too, because we would get a draft pick and be able to add to our prospect value. That's a consideration. It'll be interesting to see how the free-agent market plays out for the qualifying-offer players.
"In the new basic agreement, you can't be offered the qualifying offer consecutively. I'm not sure if that means you get the qualifying offer this year, you can't have it next year, or if you have to play it out for two years. It'll be interesting to see what impact that has on the free-agent market for the players who get the qualifying offer this year.
"We'll have to see how it plays out; it's a little tweak on the system. It's a new system. That should have some impact on free agency, the values that players sign for and how clubs evaluate the value of the picks. Compensation has been diluted since the new basic agreement."
Outside of Trumbo, the Orioles' shopping list remains largely the same as winter meetings opened Sunday at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. He said the team is looking for a catcher to pair with Caleb Joseph and an outfielder to replace Trumbo in right field. Duquette said the Orioles expect to platoon Joey Rickard and Hyun Soo Kim in left field, meaning the team is searching for a right fielder.
Chris Davis, who has been deputized in right field in the past, isn't a candidate of Duquette's to play there more. One of the club's other first basemen, rookie Trey Mancini, is someone the team believes can be a full-time designated hitter.
With outfield defense a priority this offseason, Trumbo might slide into a designated hitter role.
As usual, Duquette said the Orioles are doing their homework on the Rule 5 draft, which is held Thursday. Despite the new collective bargaining agreement doubling the price for drafting such players from $50,000 to $100,000, Duquette said they could take more than one player, given the openings on the 40-man roster.