DALLAS — As Dan Duquette prepared to leave the Hilton Anatole on Tuesday evening for a staff dinner at manager Buck Showalter's Dallas-area home, he had yet to land the pitchers and outfielder he is seeking at the annual winter meetings.
But the club's new executive vice president of baseball operations apparently is trying, confirming Tuesday that he has made several trade and free-agent offers in attempt to acquire pitchers and hitters.
Two players the Orioles are interested in, according to multiple sources, are Chicago White Sox: right-handed pitcher Gavin Floyd, who grew up in Severna Park and attended Mount St. Joseph, and outfielder Carlos Quentin, who three years ago was an American League Most Valuable Player candidate.
Duquette would not confirm his interest, but said, "The White Sox were one of the teams we met with several times."
Quentin batted .254 with a .340 on-base percentage and 24 homers in 2011, but might be expendable with the emergence of rookie Dayan Viciedo. Asked about the 29-year-old slugger, Duquette said, "That's an interesting name. I really can't comment on specific players on other teams' rosters."
Quentin has played left field and right field and is considered a premium talent when healthy, as evidenced by a 2008 season in which he hit 36 homers, drove in 100 runs and posted a tremendous on-base-plus-slugging average of .965. But he played in just 118 games last season, primarily because of a strained shoulder, and has never played more than 131 games in a season in his big league career.
The White Sox appear to be in a rebuilding mode after sending closer Sergio Santos to the Toronto Blue Jays for a minor leaguer, but White Sox general manager Kenny Williams told Chicago reporters that he does not "like what is currently being offered for any of our valuable veteran pieces" and so he is of the mindset not to trade those pieces, specifically pitching.
Floyd and left-hander John Danks have long been rumored to be available via trade, and Floyd undoubtedly interests the Orioles. Besides his local roots, Floyd fits the profile Duquette is looking for: an experienced innings eater who can help buoy a young rotation.
Floyd, 28, was 12-13 with a 4.37 ERA in 31 games (30 starts) in 2011. He has recorded 187 or more innings, won 10 or more games and made 30 or more starts in each of the past four seasons. He is due $7 million this season and has a team option for $9.5 million in 2013, so he, conceivably, wouldn't be a one-year rental.
The problem is that the White Sox most likely would be looking for young pitching in return. And though the Orioles have candidates — Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton, specifically — Duquette has said he doesn't want to deal away his young arms.
Right-handers Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman could be expendable — Bergesen's name has been floated around the Hilton Anatole this week as being readily available — but neither is likely the centerpiece to a deal for a coveted veteran.
Frankly, the Orioles have very few attractive trade chips to deal, yet Duquette seems undeterred.
"I think we have the wherewithal to make a couple of deals," Duquette said. "We'll keep working on it."
He was hoping he would have at least one deal consummated by Tuesday but pointed out that very few moves have been made throughout baseball during the first two days of the winter meetings.
"I guess it has taken a while for the market to develop," Duquette said. "Some of these deals, some of these signings will extend beyond this week, but I thought there would be a few more things that would fall into place today, frankly."
Duquette has said previously that he would expect the majority of Orioles additions to come through trades and not signings this offseason, though he is prepared for both.
"We've had several meetings with clubs, we have had second meetings with clubs, three or four different clubs, but they are meeting with different clubs, too," he said. "It's really hard for me to handicap it, but we've got a couple of viable transactions we hope to be able to make."
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