SARASOTA, Fla. – Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette gave few clues Sunday morning on how involved the club is in acquiring free-agent starting pitcher Ervin Santana, but indicated that the team’s priority now is looking at its existing staff.
“I would say that we’re going to weed through the guys we have and see where that takes us,” Duquette said. “We’re going to continue to evaluate the pitchers we have in camp.
“We do have a little more pitching depth with our starting pitching going into the season, and some of the young pitchers we have high hopes for are continuing to develop their skills. [Kevin] Gausman looked pretty good last night. [Dylan] Bundy is on track. We still have T.J. McFarland and Zach Britton to look at."
As of Saturday evening, the Orioles were still engaged in discussions with Santana’s representatives. Both the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have made one-year offers near the $14.1 million qualifying offer that Santana declined early this offseason, according to an industry source.
“The club said all winter that we were going to try to sign some veteran starting pitchers for our team,” Duquette said. “And we went out and we got [Suk-min] Yoon and we got [Ubaldo] Jimenez and we got Johan Santana. Johan Santana is for later in the season, and then Yoon, we hope to get to see sometime next week.
“But the other thing we said over the winter was that some of our young pitching would show pretty well during spring training, and so far that’s been the case,” Duquette said. “It looks like we have some young guys on the horizon who could help us during the season. So that’s the update on our pitching.”
Asked if he believes Santana will sign with a club over the next few days, Duquette said: “I don’t really know. I really don’t. I really don’t know what’s real and what’s not real in that case.
"I think we have the starting pitchers and the veteran people in camp, and they look good and they're doing well, and we like what we've seen from our young pitching so far."
So, while Santana would be a nice addition to the rotation, the Orioles aren’t working from a position of need -- it would seem Toronto would feel more pressured to make a significant move.
But Duquette didn’t rule out making another addition if the team is unable to sign Santana.
"Our roster construction goes on all year,” Duquette said. “We have some more resources that we can invest in our team, and we'll take a look at each case as it comes up.”