At Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Nashville, Orioles manager Buck Showalter talks about the challenges of working within the budget for a small-market team.

A transcript of Buck Showalter's news conference Tuesday afternoon at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn (provided by ASAP Sports):


Q. Buck, is it any more special having the winter meetings here in Nashville?  Obviously, a place you spent a lot of time.

BUCK SHOWALTER:  I spent a lot of time.  Most people don't stay in AA that long.

I didn't mean it that way.  Someone said, you're the all time career hits in Nashville.  Yeah, I was here for 20 years playing in AA.

No, it's a great city.  Met my wife here.  That's probably the greatest thing.  Spent some off¿seasons here working to make ends meet.  A lot of memories.  A lot of memories.

She's spending time with her mom and dad.  They still live here.  She made the trip with us.  Nashville's been real good to me in a lot of ways.

Q.  Did you think of the time you might be a manager and Mattingly becomes one as well?

BUCK SHOWALTER:  No, no.  I'm sure -- Johnny Oates used to talk about what a pain I was asking questions all the time, but I was very fortunate to play for some really good managers here, and I learned a lot from them.  AAA, learned a lot.  Got to play for Johnny in AAA.  Our paths seemed to cross a lot.  Johnny is probably one of the most respected managers in Baltimore history.  I wore his number on purpose.

Johnny had a big impact on my life, and it started here in Nashville.  He was one of those guys who was willing to tell you -- to find reality for you, and I'm always thankful to him and his family.

Q.  A couple of days -- buck, a couple of days into the meetings.  Are you getting antsy that the team hasn't really done anything yet?

BUCK SHOWALTER:  Not at all.  Just the opposite.  We value our players.  If someone doesn't value them the way we do, then we keep them.  I'm the field manager, and I'm about not just the 40¿man roster but everybody.  I've talked to four or five of our players since we've been here, just checking in on them, and I'm trying to stay focused on that.  I like our team.

If we don't -- I listen, talk to Dan.  We're in the same room, all of us, 10 or 12 people, and kicking a lot of things around.  Obviously.  But we value our players.  Like I said many times, the greatest thing you can do is know your own.  If someone values ours as much as the guy that we might think about acquiring, then you've got them.  If not, you hold on to them.

It's not that at all.  From what has been out there, I'm real good we didn't do it.

Q.  How much of a different vibe do you feel like this team has other than maybe a year ago?

BUCK SHOWALTER:  There's more people here.  It was quiet last year.

I think probably after Christmas you get into that what-have-you-done-for-me-lately role.  It's okay.  I'm looking forward to going to Spring Training, which will mean that the wedding's over more than anything.

I think everybody, as you can tell talking to our players, are really close to that recharge my battery season.  We've got a lot of things going on with our players.  Flaherty and Strop, just looking at what they were doing over in the Dominican.  I'm really proud with where everyone is in the off¿season.  Everyone is very attentive to maintaining the things they established last year.  A lot of hard work going on right now.

Q.  Buck, have you spoken to Chris Davis?  Is he your first baseman at this point?  Have you told him that?  Or is it a wait and see approach?

BUCK SHOWALTER:  I told him he was going to get an opportunity potentially.  You thought you was throwing me for a while too.

I talked to Chris.  I told him one of the reasons why ¿¿ we're waiting to see what happens with Mark too.  We're still hopeful we can bring Mark back and make up for our club.  But I told him that one of the reasons I got my knees done was to work with him some.

I think Chris is capable of doing an above average defender at a lot of places.  He's very athletic for a big, strong guy.  And I think the big thing is he wants to be a good defender.  He doesn't want to be in the DH spot unless that's the way it best dictates our lineup that night.

So he's got a lot of want to with the defensive part of it and not the pitching part.

Q.  Buck, you look at what Toronto did and Boston.  Do you still feel like the AL East is the toughest division, or is the AL West, with some of their changes, starting to kind of even things out a little?

BUCK SHOWALTER:  I try to stay focused on what we -- what they do, I think that everyone knows that Toronto for years, there's a lot of things at their disposal, if they choose to use it.  I also think, if they make a mistake, American League East, we have a corner on competition.  The American League West, I thought, was good.  Central Detroit came out of it.