BALTIMORE—In the midst of an announced rebuild and just three days before the non-waiver trade deadline, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette told a group of season-ticket holders that the Orioles will redirect resources from the major league team to scouting, the international market and player development.
Duquette and manager Buck Showalter answered questions for a half-hour. Although no one asked if they planned to trade Adam Jones, Jonathan Schoop or Kevin Gausman, there was plenty of interest in the rebuilding program Duquette described after the July 18 trade of Manny Machado.
‘The last couple of years we took a lot of resources from the company and put them into the major league team,” Duquette said. “That was an ownership decision to try to extend the competitive window of the current group of players.
“What we learned … is that you have to invest significantly in all your talent areas.”
The Orioles enter Saturday with a 30-74 record, the worst in the major leagues. Duquette said that as the team rebuilds, the team’s payroll — which was about $148 million on Opening Day, according to Cot’s Contracts — will be reduced even more. Last year, the Orioles ended the season with a payroll of nearly $180 million.
“We’re going to invest enough to develop a competitive major league team, and I would expect the club will take the payroll down next year and the year after and reinvest those resources,” Duquette said.
One fan asked why the team had neglected international scouting.
“Ownership understands that we’ve been putting a lot of resources into the major league payroll, and probably more resource than the market will sustain,” Duquette said. “We did that to keep the core of the team together … now, things are different. They’ll invest heavily in the foreign market … we’ve got some ground to make up.”
On prospects, Duquette said that Triple-A Norfolk outfielder Cedric Mullins has done well this season.
“He looks like he’s about ready for a trial here,” Duquette said.
Mullins could be added to the major league roster if Jones is traded before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Duquette and Showalter are in the final seasons of their contracts. When a fan asked if they’d be back, neither answered the question directly.