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Orioles' offseason planning coming into focus

Deadline to accept qualifying offers is Friday at 5 p.m. ET

BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette left the General Managers Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., on Thursday morning perhaps having laid the groundwork for future offseason moves. The organization should have a clearer picture of its to-do list in the next 24 hours as catcher Matt Wieters decides whether to accept the Orioles' qualifying offer.

Wieters' agent Scott Boras, who also represents Chris Davis and Wei-Yin Chen, said Wednesday night that Wieters had not decided what to do ahead of Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline. Davis and Chen are both expected to decline the qualifying offer and test the free-agent market, though Duquette has said before that Baltimore will make an effort to re-sign Davis.

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"I think Chris' performance level there has certainly raised an interest level with the ownership, yeah," Boras said, when asked if Davis was interested in returning to Baltimore.

"The thing that makes CD so interesting is that he can play multiple positions. He can play left, he can play right, he can play first base. You usually don't find sluggers that are so versatile and so athletic. So he really, in my mind, is the top outfield candidate on the free-agent market, as well as the top infield candidate in this market for versatility and what a manager wants to do with his club. If you have a prospect coming at first base, you can use him now and then flip him to the outfield. If you have a prospect coming in the outfield, you can use him in the outfield now and put him back at first base. He really provides a lot of flexibility and rare power."

Asked whether he was still upset that Chen was sent to the Minor Leagues earlier this season, Boras said: "It's not really whether I'm upset. I'm voicing the opinion of a veteran pitcher and many other pitchers, where you have the ability to manipulate the rosters for a 10-day period at the expense of disruption for your No. 1 starter's approach and performance. I would obviously take the side that you don't do that and that the benefit is absolutely outweighed by the detriment, and that's still how Wei-Yin feels, yes."

Of the three free agents represented by Boras, Chen appears to be the least likely to stay an Oriole. In addition to being unhappy about the demotion, the lefty should head the second tier of available free-agent arms and will likely price himself out of Baltimore.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
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