BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette wanted to make one thing clear at Saturday's FanFest: Baltimore has unfinished business this winter.
"I want to say this: We have some more work to do this offseason," said Duquette, who has been talking with several free-agent starters and is hoping to add at least one pitcher to the staff. "We are going to see what we can do between now and when the season starts. If we can get the work done that we've been trying to get done, I think we will have a very competitive team."
That work is almost exclusively to the pitching staff. While the Orioles are still kicking around some names in the designated-hitter market, particularly with Kendrys Morales still available, the team has been heavily rumored in talks with starters A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez. So far, the O's have made no significant additions and have only traded away closer Jim Johnson and lost starters Jason Hammel and Scott Feldman to free agency.
"We are going to see what we can do to add a veteran pitcher between now and when Spring Training starts," said Duquette, who wouldn't name names and shied away from a report earlier in the week that stated the club was "all in" on Burnett.
"We think we have the core of a good staff; a veteran starter would help stabilize the staff and help us get off to a good start. And then some of these young pitchers who we really like should be able to help us later on in the season. But if we can sign a veteran starter, I think that would help us fill out our ballclub."
Signing Burnett or Arroyo would allow the club to not forfeit a Draft pick, while Jimenez and Santana would cost a pick since they received qualifying offers from their former clubs. Given how close it is to Spring Training, Duquette said he expected all of those pitchers to sign within the next week and hoped the organization's patience in allowing the market to develop will ultimately pay off.
However, he did caution reporters -- and fans -- once again that Baltimore will never be a club that builds primarily through free agency. Instead, the Orioles will be a competitive club "by having a good pitching staff," Duquette said. "And really, the crux and core of that is going to come from the Minor League system and trades."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli.