In the first of his nightly winter meetings info dumps to Orioles reporters, Dan Duquette said that he is committed to the Orioles and improving the team for 2015. That obligatory reference to the weekend's Blue Jays rumors out of the way, Duquette could get back to what he does best: Vaguely talking about things that might happen but probably never will.
One rumor that floated around through the day was one that had the Orioles linked to the Braves' Justin Upton to fill one of their outfield holes. Upton is under contract only for 2015. He is an exciting player who would be fun to see in Camden Yards, but at what cost? Wherever the rumors came from, it doesn't seem like they came from the Orioles actually discussing Upton with the Braves. Duquette said that has not occurred.
In general, Duquette told the gathered reporters, it is more likely that the Orioles will sign a free agent than make a trade. That is probably one way of saying that the Orioles will do nothing. Duquette said he doesn't want to trade any of his starters. Teams are certainly asking about the O's starters, as we discovered last week when we heard about a proposed Wei-Yin Chen-Howie Kendrick swap that was rejected by the Orioles.
On the free agent front, two names who came up in front of the assembled scribes were Delmon Young and Craig Breslow. Duquette said that he expects to have a meeting with Young's agent some time this week. Breslow could be the left-handed reliever Duquette has said he wants to get. With Boston before he was a free agent, the Yale product swung from an excellent 1.81 ERA in 2013 to a horrendous 5.96 in 2014. That's probably why he is a free agent.
The Sun's Eduardo Encina described Duquette as having "a sheepish grin" when asked about Breslow. Well, that conjures a different idea than chasing a free agent, doesn't it? No word on who else might be interested in Breslow or what kind of price tag he'd carry. I'd guess it will take a major league deal to land a player with that kind of recent success.
Although he said the O's maintain some interest in Nick Hundley as a just in case policy, Duquette said that he has been told there is "a good chance" Matt Wieters will be ready to play on Opening Day. That's nearly four months out and a lot can happen in that time. Being prepared for a setback would make sense.
The Orioles also extended agreements with all of their minor league affiliates, ensuring that O's prospects will stay close to the nest.
Winter meetings being what they are, people will probably go drink now. Perhaps that will cause more rumors to flow. Duquette will again meet with the O's media at about 6pm Eastern tomorrow. Buck Showalter is also scheduled to address the O's media at 7:30pm Eastern tomorrow.