On MLB Network, Dan Duquette talks about Nick Markakis, Nelson Cruz, more

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, left, and outfielder Nelson Cruz after the club clinched the American League East title in September.

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette appeared on MLB Network's "High Heat" with Christopher Russo on Wednesday afternoon from the general managers' meetings in Phoenix and addressed the club's hopes to retain free agents Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.

Duquette confirmed that he did speak with Cruz -- who is in Phoenix with his new agent, Diego Bentz, speaking to teams -- on Tuesday.


"We've been talking to Nick for a while, and we're hopeful that we'll be able to sign him," Duquette said. "Yesterday we met with Nelson Cruz. He's down here in Phoenix, and he looks great, and I had a nice chat with him.

"We're hopeful that we're going to be able to do something, but you never know with this free-agent market. Things happen fast and shifting of economics happens quickly, but we're trying. Both of those guys had good years for us last year, and we'd like to continue our relationship with them."


Asked if he believes Cruz would give the Orioles a discount to remain with the club, Duquette emphasized that the slugger enjoyed playing in Baltimore.

"Nelson did a great job for us," Duquette said. "He had a great year. He enjoys playing for Buck [Showalter]. He likes the ballpark. He likes everything about the city, so we'll see if we can work a deal with him. Nick Markakis, of course, has been there his whole career, and I know he likes Baltimore. His family is established there, and we're hopeful to sign him, too."

Duquette said he's hoping to keep left-handed reliever Andrew Miller, but he said "there's an awful lot of interest in him I'm hearing down here."

"We're going to try on that one as well," Duquette said of Miller.

Other tidbits from Duquette's interview on MLB Network:

-- Asked about what went wrong in the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals, Duquette said he believed the pitching cost the team in the first two games of the series.

"I think [pitching] cost us the series because we thought we had a chance at home to win both of those games, and we lost them in the ninth and in extra innings," he said. "I think that was the result of not having good solid pitching. … You have to play a complete game to win in the playoffs. … The whole game plan against the Royals was to score early and get the lead because they had the best bullpen in the league, and we weren't able to do that."

--Two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, who signed a minor league deal with the Orioles last season and was expected to help the major league team before suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury, is a possibility to be re-signed, Duquette said. Duquette said Santana is still rehabbing the injury under the Orioles' supervision, and the club will keep an eye on his progress.


-- Duquette said top prospect Dylan Bundy likely needs more time in the minor leagues next season as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery. In the same breath, he lauded right-hander Kevin Gausman. "He could be one of the top pitchers in the league," Duquette said. "I think this could be a real breakout season for Kevin."