Duquette on Chen, pitching, Poitevint and more

January 10, 2012|By Dan Connolly

Here’s Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette on various subjects:

On newly signed left-handed starter Wei-Yin Chen, who agreed to a three-year deal (with a 2015 club option) that will be worth roughly $11 million to $12 million: “He’s got good stuff. He’s got a good fastball and very good control and a good breaking ball. He’s really a pretty polished pitcher. Chen has the physical capabilities to be a front-line starter. …  I was glad to sign him, because I think he can help our team. I like his pitches. I like the structure of the contract. I hope it ends up being a good one. Could be a good one. He’s only 26. He has the stuff, the pitches to be a good major league pitcher. There’s only a few left-handers in the big leagues with his stuff.”

On concerns that Chen’s fastball velocity dropped into the 80s this year: “His velocity fluctuated some this year during the season, but I believe that was attributed to an oblique strain. At the end of the year, in the playoffs, his velocity was at 92, 94 [mph]. His velocity was down during a portion of the season, but it was back up at the end of the season.”

On the Orioles’ sudden abundance of starting pitchers: “Yes, we have signed a number of starting pitchers, but the team needed starting pitchers. The reason I say that is we had one starting pitcher that had 200 innings pitched in 2011 [Jeremy Guthrie]. One. If we are going to have a competitive team, we are going to need several of them in the area of 200 innings pitched and for them to be physically dependable for the team.”

On using starting pitching as trade bait: “We are going to continue to build our ballclub. We have had discussions, and that’s possible, but I’d like to have numbers of pitchers to review or consider in spring training with our pitching depth.”

On the hiring of veteran scout Ray Poitevint as the executive director of international baseball: “Ray is a veteran baseball man with a lot of experience. His core strength is his ability to evaluate talent, and he has terrific contacts in the Pacific Rim. Also, he will represent the club in Mexico, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and Hawaii.”

On potential trades: “We continue to talk to clubs.”

On hiring Rick Peterson, renowned pitching guru, to join the organization with responsibilities that would include some of the things handled by the minor league pitching coordinator, a slot currently vacant: Peterson met with the Orioles again Monday, the third time he has talked with the club, but Duquette said nothing is official: “I hope we get it done.”

Duquette also said roughly a dozen young players or new Orioles will be coming to Baltimore for a three-day orientation/minicamp that will focus mainly on off-field training and also be a medical checkup for some. It will be next Wednesday through Friday – before FanFest – and should include Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Chris Tillman and Ryan Flaherty, among others.

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