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Duquette: Orioles haven't made offer to Balfour

Club not close to any deals; reliever Webb's two-year contract becomes official

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- For the Orioles on Tuesday there was plenty of smoke, but no fire. Despite the frenzy of rumors in the morning involving the Orioles adding closer Grant Balfour, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed there has been no formal offer extended to the free agent.

"A lot of speculation has been way beyond the activity," Duquette said of the rumblings involving his club.

"We did make some progress [in regards to free-agent pitchers] in that we have a pretty good idea what the market is there, but we have a lot more work to do. We have a lot more work to do to actually build our pitching staff."

Duquette said the Orioles do have an offer out -- but it's not to a closer -- and any speculation that the club has or is close to a deal is "not accurate."

The Orioles, who spent a good chunk of the day going over preparations for the Rule 5 Draft, also ramped up efforts to secure a left-handed hitter on Tuesday. Duquette said they are looking at trade scenarios and free agents, and the Marlins' Logan Morrison -- along with a few other Miami outfielders -- and free agent Jason Kubel are two names that they've been tied to.

The O's have also been linked to numerous free-agent starters, including Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, and Duquette said he'd be willing to go beyond two years in the right situation.

"I guess it depends on the pitcher, what the price is and what the risk is," he said. "I think you have to look at each one closely and see if it works for your team."

The Orioles did officially add a pitcher Tuesday, with reliever Ryan Webb passing his physical and agreeing to a two-year pact. Besides the Rule 5 Draft, the Orioles remain optimistic they will leave with another player before departing the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

"We are working on a couple pitching options," Duquette said. "Hopefully, we will be able to do some good there."

In addition to Balfour, the Orioles remain interested in Chris Perez and John Axford for their closer opening.

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

Baltimore Orioles, Grant Balfour, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Kubel, Logan Morrison, Ervin Santana