Duquette adds more veteran baseball minds, discusses Manny

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Dan Duquette is continuing to staff his front office with veteran baseball men and former co-workers, announcing on Sunday that he has hired two 75-year-olds with a world of baseball experience.

In an attempt to revamp the organization's infrastructure, Duquette, the Orioles' new executive vice president for baseball operations, has hired former Philadelphia Phillies general manager Lee Thomas as a special assistant and longtime scout Fred Ferreira as the club's new executive director of international recruiting.

"I'm looking forward to having both these guys," Duquette said Sunday night in the Orioles' winter meetings' suite at the Hilton Anatole "They've got terrific track records in the industry and they will be a great resource for the all the young people in the organization."

Thomas was the Boston Red Sox special assistant for six seasons, most of which were spent working for Duquette. Ferreira was the Montreal Expos' international scouting director while Duquette was the Expos' GM.

"These guys want to go back to work. We're putting the band back together," Duquette joked.

Ferreira has directed international programs for the Expos, New York Yankees, Florida Marlins and Cincinnati Reds in a four-decade career. He is credited with signing a host of international players including Vladimir Guerrero (Dominican Republic) and Bernie Williams (Puerto Rico). Ferreira also is credited with signing current Orioles' right hander and Netherlands native Rick VandenHurk for the Marlins.

Since he took over last month, Duquette has stressed the need for improving the Orioles' international presence— the organization's Dominican operation has yielded very few major leaguers and the Orioles have never found their own Venezuelan big leaguer.

Duquette said the club would add more international scouts and that David Stockstill, the Orioles' international scouting director since switching titles with his brother in 2010, will remain in his position. Both David Stockstill and Ferreira will report directly to Duquette, but it's unclear what Stockstill's specific responsibilities will be or how they will differ from Ferreira's.

"They're both going to report to me and it's going to be a group effort to recruit players from around the world," Duquette said. "So Fred has contacts in areas, Dave has contacts in other areas. And we're going to be adding additional personnel who have contacts in other areas. It's a pretty big world, and we'll leverage the contacts we have to recruit good players for the Orioles."

David Stockstill, who was also in the Orioles' suite Sunday, didn't want to comment until he had more specifics on the delineation of duties, but said he welcomed an expansion of the club's international program.

In Thomas, Duquette is rekindling a relationship he had during the last half of his tenure with the Red Sox. Thomas hasn't held a big league position since working as a Milwaukee Brewers scout in 2006. From 1988 to 1997, he was the Phillies' GM and won the Sporting News' Executive of the Year Award in 1993 when his club made it to the World Series.

"I've missed it. I really have. It was OK the first couple of years ... but I really did miss it," Thomas said. "I'm bored and when (Duquette) called me, I told him I was bored."

Thomas and Ferreira will be part of Duquette's brain trust during this week's meetings. Duquette said he had talks with a few clubs on Sunday and expects to have a full briefing with his staff Monday. His wish list includes adding pitching, both starting and relief, and a left-handed hitting outfielder that can back up center and perhaps platoon in left.

"We know what we want to do to upgrade our ballclub and hopefully we can do some of that this week," he said.

The Orioles likely will not seek a designated hitter-only type player, but an interesting name resurfaced on Sunday, when it was reported that retired slugger Manny Ramirez is seeking MLB reinstatement. He likely would have to serve a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test before he could return. Duquette signed Ramirez for the Red Sox, and knows the player well.

He laughed when asked about another reunion, and then said about the 39-year-old Ramirez: "Manny is always interesting and he's never predictable, but I don't know too much about the mechanics of what we would have to do or if we could do it," Duquette said. "Manny is always a lot of fun to be around and he is very entertaining."