12/9/2013 10:15 P.M. ET
O's confident they'll make additions at Meetings
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Despite not making any new offers since landing in Florida on Sunday, the Orioles met with numerous free agents and discussed potential trade scenarios Monday and remain optimistic that they'll upgrade the roster before leaving the Winter Meetings.
"Yeah, absolutely," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said when asked if the club would add guys, excluding the Rule 5 Draft, before boarding a plane back north on Thursday. "We had a lot of conversations, we should be adding more players by the end of the week."
Baltimore's priorities are to add a left-handed hitter and some pitching, with the team looking at designated-hitter options who can also play the field. Duquette, who said the team hasn't ruled out rehabbing pitchers -- meaning Gavin Floyd and Joel Hanrahan are still in play -- is also open to signing a free-agent arm that would cost the club a Draft pick. Starters Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez are two pitchers who rejected qualifying offers and would require a Draft pick sacrificed, and the Orioles also spent a chunk of Monday going over potential ninth-inning options.
Duquette, who wouldn't categorize any trade talks as anything more than lukewarm, said the organization is getting "closer" to identifying what the market is for pitchers and expected some signings to start happening. He also predicted that free agent Rajai Davis would sign somewhere in the next day or two, although he wouldn't bite on if the Orioles have interest in the speedy outfielder.
The O's aren't necessarily scared off by players who have records with performance-enhancing drugs, like free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz and starter Bartolo Colon.
"I think a club has to due its due diligence on all the players, and performance-enhancing drugs is just another area that clubs have to look carefully at," Duquette said. "We have a systematic way to approach it. It's really a fact of life now."
Phelps outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk by Orioles
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Orioles made a roster move on Monday, paring down the 40-man roster by outrighting infielder Cord Phelps to Triple-A Norfolk.
The 26-year-old Phelps was claimed off waivers from the Indians on Nov. 25, and he appeared in 53 games for the Indians over the last three seasons, posting a .159/.221/.248 line with time at second base, third base and shortstop.
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said that the recent acquisition of switch-hitting Jemile Weeks -- in a trade with Oakland -- made the switch-hitting Phelps expendable, and the club thought it could get him through waivers.
With the move, the Orioles now have 37 players on their 40-man roster, although the pending addition of reliever Ryan Webb -- slated to take his physical in Baltimore on Tuesday -- will change that.
O's set to host four-day minicamp in January
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The Orioles will hold a four-day minicamp beginning Jan. 13 at the team's Spring Training facility in Sarasota, Fla., to give some of the club's pitchers a chance to work with new pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti.
Dylan Bundy, rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, and third baseman Manny Machado -- who suffered a season-ending knee injury -- are among those who will be invited by Major League Baseball, which will reach out to each player's agent. The Orioles are not allowed to directly invite players and cannot ask arbitration-eligible players, with the minicamp stipulations including 15 non-arbitration-eligible players and non-roster players.
The list, which will also include catchers, could include prospects such as Eduardo Rodriguez and Mike Wright depending on how many attendees the Orioles get. There are also plans for Wallace and Chiti to make a West Coast trip and see some of the pitchers working out with Brady Anderson, including Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz and Zach Britton.
"I've learned that there's some talent that's yet to be untapped," Wallace said of his early impressions of the Orioles' pitching staff." And by that I mean in today's world some guys have to learn at the Major League level, and that's a process that's a little bit more difficult than it sounds.
"Everybody talks about having experience. Well experience is great, but really what do you do with that experience, can you take it to the next level?"
Wallace and Chiti plan to sit down with each pitcher individually, and guys will throw once or twice and get checked out by the training staff and strength and conditioning staff as well. Chiti, who called Wallace his "antithesis," has worked closely with him in the Braves' system, and the duo compared their different styles to a slow cooker and a microwave, drawing a round of laughs from the media.
"I want Dom and Dave to come in with fresh opinions," manager Buck Showalter said. "I don't want to prejudice them any. I want all these pitchers to know they've got a fresh start. I think that creates for a pretty good mindset coming in."
Matusz and Kevin Gausman are expected to be stretched out as starters this spring, although Tommy Hunter could remain as a reliever.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.