Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette had a productive meeting with Nick Markakis' agent and held several other meetings Wednesday at the general managers' meetings in Phoenix.
It was the first dialogue between the the club and its longest-tenured player in more than a week, but Duquette said he believes he made progress toward re-signing Markakis.
"We're just trying to move it along," Duquette said. "I think we moved it along today."
Asked if he believed the sides are close to an agreement, Duquette said: "We have more work to do."
Both sides have said repeatedly that they would like to keep Markakis in an Orioles uniform. But with talks stalled, Markakis' agent, Jamie Murphy, traveled to Phoenix to meet with other teams for the first time.
The sense was that the sides were nearing an agreement on a four-year deal for around $10 million to $12 million annually before Markakis became a free agent at the beginning of last week.
The Orioles didn't make Markakis a qualifying offer, an indication they were confident they could re-sign him. It is believed that the Orioles are trying to work out details on deferred money.
Duquette also met with Nelson Cruz's new agent Tuesday in Phoenix, the first in-person dialogue between those sides since the season ended. Cruz is at the general managers' meetings with his agent, Diego Bentz, to meet with other teams.
Cruz was seeking a five-year deal when the sides began discussing an extension during the season. It is believed that the Orioles made Cruz a three-year offer shortly after the All-Star break when Cruz was represented by a different agent.
Asked if he believes the Orioles can retain both Markakis and Cruz, Duquette said: "We have the resources to put together a contending team."
Duquette also said he met with the representative of left-handed reliever Andrew Miller on Wednesday. Duquette knows that Miller, who was dominant after the Orioles acquired him in a trade with the Boston Red Sox, will attract a lot of suitors. Miller is reportedly seeking a four-year deal, according to a MassLive.com report.
While it appears that Duquette's immediate focus is on retaining Markakis and then Cruz, he said finding possible trade partners this week is important.
"We met with several teams about some trade possibilities and we just have a couple more to meet with," Duquette said. "We've been able to meet with a number of free agents in the past couple days. We just have a couple left. ... We're going to sign some players and we're going to look at some trade options. We'll have decent [pitching] depth, but we'll be looking for more pitching."