BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette knows he still has a lot of work to do before the O's open the regular season. A catcher, a left-handed bat and -- the top priority -- some veteran starters to add to the rotation are still on
BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette knows he still has a lot of work to do before the O's open the regular season. A catcher, a left-handed bat and -- the top priority -- some veteran starters to add to the rotation are still on the list.
But despite the improvements by other clubs, and most notably by the American League East-rival Yankees, Duquette said he feels good about where the Orioles are headed.
"Obviously, we have work to do to address some of the deficiencies on our ballclub," Duquette said at FanFest over the weekend. "We're going to continue to build our pitching staff, notably the starting pitching. Even though [closer Zach Britton] will be out for a period of time, I still like the strength of our bullpen. I like our infield. [A] very talented group of infielders we have. I like our outfield, some of the young guys who emerged last year. Notably [Trey Mancini] and [Austin Hays]. They should be able to help us. And we've got a couple young guys on the horizon, too, in DJ Stewart and Cedric Mullins that could help us internally.
"The key will be addressing the starting pitching. And if we can do that, and I'm confident we can -- don't ask me how exactly -- but if we can do that, we can have another good season."
Beyond outside acquisitions, the Orioles will need Dylan Bundy to continue to develop as a Major League starter and Kevin Gausman to be more consistent if they're truly going to compete.
"Gausman needs to put together a full season like he did in 2016, and the second half of last year," Duquette said, "and we are going to have to find some veteran pitching to sustain it."
While most of the Hot Stove headlines regarding the Orioles were dominated by the potential to trade superstar third baseman Manny Machado, Duquette said on Saturday that he expects Machado to be in an O's uniform on Opening Day.
"We explored all those options and we think the strongest option is for Manny to be on the ballclub," Duquette said.
Asked about Machado's absence from FanFest -- along with infielder Jonathan Schoop -- Duquette said it was disappointing.
"Obviously, we'd like to have all our players here," Duquette said. "We've had communication with our guys and we tell them the importance of being here. The fans would like to see them. And Jon in particular. He was our Player of the Year. So, we encourage our guys to be here and we'd like for them to be here. I'm encouraged we have a number of our guys here to represent our club. Manny and Schoop are among the best players on our club and we're looking forward to having them on our ballclub.
"I know our fans are disappointed and the club is disappointed that all the players aren't here, but like I said, we've been in communication with them and we stressed the importance of it."
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.