2/20/2014 3:20 P.M. ET
Duquette: Orioles making push to contend now
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles are in it to win it this season, with Thursday's four-year, $50 million signing of Ubaldo Jimenez, forfeiting a Draft pick and part of what executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette called a "conscious choice" to put significant resources into the 2014 team.
"That's what we felt we had to do to stabilize our team and be competitive in the AL East," said Duquette, who signed two pitchers this week in Jimenez and Suk-min Yoon.
"We want to contend every year, but we made some conscious choices to put the resources into our pitching staff for this year. We like the core of our team. We like our core players. They are at the stage in their careers where they should continue to have good, solid years, and we hope we built our pitching staff properly."
Now that the Orioles have forfeited one Draft pick, would it make it any easier to give up their next pick, at 55, and add another qualified free agent? Baltimore has rumored interest in sluggers Nelson Cruz and Kendrys Morales.
"Every Draft pick has a specific value, and we take into consideration that specific value before we part with the Draft pick," Duquette said. "We did that in this case, and we would do that on a case-by-case basis."
Duquette wouldn't handicap the chances of the Orioles holding another news conference before they break camp, only saying that they would "continue to look at" players who might be a fit, as well the club's internal options. Baltimore is in need of a designated hitter, and it's clear there's a window of success in keeping some of their players together, with most people agreeing it will be near impossible to extend both Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. The club is also looking to extend shortstop J.J. Hardy before Opening Day.
"We want to have a competitive team year in and year out. And we are going to do whatever we have to do to accomplish that," Duquette said. "As far as the core players, we've made it clear that we want to sign the core players, the good dependable players to stay with the club. With that being said, we have to stay within the resources of the team and the market."
Ubaldo, Yoon throw first 'pen sessions for O's
SARASOTA, Fla. -- New Orioles pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Suk-min Yoon each threw their first bullpen sessions in a Baltimore uniform on Thursday morning at the Ed Smith Stadium complex.
"Ubaldo, especially, was anxious to get out there," manager Buck Showalter said of Jimenez, who spent the early part of his day being introduced at a news conference. "He handled himself well, didn't he? Impressive."
Showalter wasn't sure what the next step was for either player, and he would confer with pitching coach Dave Wallace before publicly announcing that. However, he seemed pretty sure that both Jimenez and Yoon wouldn't just jump right in and throw to hitters the next time out.
Showalter also noted that Thursday's practice went particularly crisp and said it was one of the better ones he's had as the Orioles manager. Could there be a little different vibe in the locker room with the recent additions of Yoon and Jimenez?
"Yeah, a little bit," he said. "It's something that you've been in locker rooms for a long time, you know. … You walk through locker rooms many times during a season, you know sometimes you got it going on. There's just a feeling in there. I can't [describe it]."
'Two Minutes with ...' focuses on Lough
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The "Two Minutes with…" series continues with new Orioles left fielder David Lough, who was acquired in a trade this winter from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for Danny Valencia. The 28-year-old outfielder, expected to take the left-field spot vacated by Nate McLouth, batted .286/.311/.413 with five home runs and 33 RBIs in 96 games last season.
Lough was drafted in the 11th round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and is from Akron, Ohio.
Favorite food: Steak and sweet potatoes. I like the filet, a nice filet.
Favorite movie: Dumb and Dumber. I can't wait for [the sequel] to come out. [But] I can't see it being better.
Hidden talent: I thought I was good at ping-pong until I saw some of these other guys playing in here. [Laughs]. I don't have anything else cool, I'm boring.
If I wasn't a baseball player I'd be … a personal trainer. I'm into the whole workout stuff. I actually have a certification in personal training already. I got it just from playing. I picked up a book about it, studied for a year and took the test. I did it during the season a couple years ago.
Favorite offseason place: My aunt's woods for hunting. It's in Akron. I hunt for deer, I've got a bow that I use.
Prized possession: Probably my computer, it's got a lot of important stuff on it.
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.