Duquette said the Orioles had discussions with a few teams Dec. 13, the Winter Meetings’ third day, and said they had talked trade with a few teams the night before, too.
“We’ve made trades with the Yankees. We’ve made trades with the Red Sox,” Duquette said. “It’s in the club’s interest to see what the market is, and canvas the entire market to see what the opportunities are and what the options are.”
Machado, who has long expressed a desire to play shortstop, could move there from third if no deal is completed by the Orioles. He’s eligible for free agency after the 2018 season, and MLBTradeRumors.com estimates his salary for next season as $17.3 million.
Duquette realizes that if Machado was traded within the division, the Orioles would face him 19 times in 2018.
“Right now we control that,” Duquette said. “A year from now, we’re not going to control that.”
Duquette was asked if there were a handful of clubs interested. He wouldn’t be specific, but did say: “It’s more than that. The clubs we talked to are the ones that we think might have a fit.”
The Orioles’ goal if Machado is dealt would be to add major league-ready starting pitchers. Now, right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman are the Orioles’ only probable starters.
“We’d like to try to staff our club to be as strong as it can be this year,” Duquette said. “That would be our first choice.”
The team will continue to gauge Machado’s worth.
“We’re making good progress on that,” Duquette said about the Orioles’ assessing Machado’s market. “We’ve got an idea of what their interest is, if we match up.”
Duquette said that there wasn’t necessarily a rush on making a deal. “I think that’s taking its natural course,” he said. “You need to find out what the teams are interested in, if you match up with certain teams. There’s a little more time to do that.”
Overall, these Winter Meetings have been one of the quietest, and Duquette said he was surprised by the contracts teams have been doling out to middle relievers.
“I’ve seen some stunning deals recently, absolutely stunning, a couple of those relief pitcher deals,” Duquette said.
Former Orioles right-hander Tommy Hunter, who pitched for the Tampa Bay Rays this past season, has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $18 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
“We have good relievers, and I think they’re signed to cost-effective contracts,” Duquette said. “Some of these contracts I’m seeing, I don’t know how they’re cost-effective. They certainly wouldn’t be cost-effective in Baltimore.”
Duquette also said the Orioles would continue to pursue a utility infielder. Steve Wilkerson, who hit a combined .305 for Double-A Bowie and Class-A Frederick in 2017 and had been a candidate for the job, has been suspended 50 games for a positive test for amphetamines.
As the Winter Meetings conclude Dec. 14, the Orioles have the 11th selection in the Rule 5 draft, and they may take a pitcher. They’ve made a pick in each Rule 5 draft since 2006, the longest run in the major leagues.