Dan Duquette: 'We're still in competition for this year'

With Friday's nonwaiver trade deadline looming, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said he has not changed his mind after his club's uneven road trip. He still expects to make deals to improve this team for 2015.

And there really isn't a scenario in the next few days that could change that mindset.


"We're still in competition for this year. We want to get to the playoffs and we are going to do what we can to add to the ballclub," Duquette said. "We may make some trades, but anything that we do we're gonna try and improve our ballclub for this year."

Heading into play Monday, the Orioles (48-49) were seven games behind the division-leading New York Yankees in the American League East and 3 ½ games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second wild-card spot. Get into the playoffs, Duquette said, and anything can happen.

"We're looking to add to this club, OK? If we go through the end of the season and we add to the team and we are successful making the playoffs, then you can roll the dice, right?" Duquette said. "And we are still in the position to do that."

Duquette said he is still in search of pitching depth and a left fielder to boost offensive production in that spot. He mentioned that Triple-A outfielder Dariel Alvarez also could be an answer if Duquette can't find the right fit to fill left field in a trade. He also hopes some of the current Orioles play up to their capabilities, which some didn't in the first half.

"Hopefully, we can get something done. In 2012, we didn't get anything done [on July 31] and then we brought up Manny Machado," Duquette said. "I don't know we have any Manny Machados there [in the minors], but last year we ended up picking up Jimmy Paredes in July and he ended up making an impact on the team. You never know where these players are going to come from."

Potentially complicating matters is that the Orioles have seven pending free agents at season's end including pitcher Wei-Yin Chen, slugger Chris Davis, catcher Matt Wieters and All-Star reliever Darren O'Day, all of whom could yield solid return if traded during the season. However, it's likely the Orioles will make qualifying offers to Chen, Davis and Wieters, so if they go elsewhere at the end of the year, the Orioles would get compensatory draft picks in the No. 30-to-40 slots next June.

And Duquette appears OK with the draft-pick scenario, given his belief that this club still has a chance at the postseason.

"If this club doesn't make the playoffs, this team still has other options. We get first-round talent for a lot of the free agents," Duquette said.

Duquette's ability to make an impact deal appears limited due to the lack of quality -- and healthy -- prospects in the system. He said he's been getting plenty of inquiries from other teams about young right-handers Kevin Gausman, Mychal Givens and Mike Wright, but he sees them all as assisting the Orioles in their pennant push.

"We like them to help our club," he said. "But my point is they could come up and make a contribution to this year's team -- after the trade deadline, too."

In the past few years, Duquette has been particularly active in August when players have to pass through waivers before they can be dealt. That, he said, is always a possibility, as well.

Duquette, as usual, won't reveal what tricks he has up his sleeve, but in a lighter moment he did reveal something from his tie. Duquette was wearing a baseball-themed tie on Monday and it had depictions of several old-time teams and players. He was asked whether he had talked trade with any of the teams on his tie -- a group that included the St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We are talking to some of the teams on this tie," Duquette said laughing. "That's true."

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