Winter Meetings wrapped up at the Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee with the Rule 5 draft Thursday. In the midst of a nearly guaranteed breakup with first baseman/outifelder/designated hitter Chris Davis, Dan Duquette, the Orioles vice president of baseball operations, shed minimal light on the situation, and talked about the club’s latest pickup.
“A lot of rumors out there, a lot of interest. But now is the time of the year to bunker down for people to make choices,” said Duquette. “What they’re going to do with their teams, and the players to choose what teams they want to play for.”
Duquette met with Davis’ agent Scott Boras on Tuesday, offering the slugger a seven-year, $150-million deal – the most lucrative contract offer in franchise history, reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney. Now, according to Olney, that offer is off the table.
Orioles didn’t increase 7-year offer to Davis. Source: “Not one nickel.” Offer off table, although O’s would pick up thread of past talks.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2015
The Duquette insurance policy took a step forward on Dec. 3 when the Orioles acquired Mark Trumbo in a trade from the Seattle Mariners. In the Rule 5, the Orioles selected Joey Rickard in the first round, an outfielder from the Tampa Bay Rays.
The 24-year-old is quick on his feet and has shown the ability to hit at the major league level.
Rickard produced a .321/.427/.447 line with two home runs and 55 RBIs in 117 games and the Single, Double, and Triple-A levels in 2015. He stole 23 bases in 29 attempts.
“We like Rickard’s skills because he’s a solid defensive player, and his on-base capability, his discipline at the plate is something we were looking for,” said Duquette. “And who knows, with more experience maybe we can do a set-up hitter in the big leagues.”
Rickard started as the lead-off man on his dominican winter league team, hitting .289/.348/.465 with 10 doubles, six homers and 29 RBI. Rickard was quickly placed in the three hole in the lineup and was projected to be the top player in the league.
“We recognized Joey Rickard’s improvement, you look at how he’s trending, he’s trending up,” said Duquette. “Very rarely do you see a player get moved up as quickly as he has moved up this year and to see him apply his skills at a higher level each step of the way.”
The team won’t reach Duquette’s goal of having a core in place before Christmas, but things are “coming together.” The team will be following up with other clubs and hope to capitalize throughout the week, including with Darren O’Day.
“We got some thing to follow up to, get our team tuned up,” Duquette said. “We’re gonna have a good ball club.”