NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette wouldn't confirm on Tuesday whether the club had taken its proposed offer to Mark Trumbo off the table. In fact, he wouldn't even comment on whether he had met with Trumbo's camp again, only offering up that it was a "fluid conversation."
But Duquette had plenty to say on the next tier of available outfielders, as the O's seek to add a left-handed-hitting outfielder and upgrade their defense regardless of what happens with Trumbo.
"Some of these contracts these players are getting, these players in bit roles to play, they are getting a lot of money," Duquette said from his Winter Meetings suite at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center.
"I wasn't ready for the prices, particularly in a couple markets. Extra outfielders, that market went up a lot."
Coming off a record-spending offseason in 2015, the Orioles will surpass last year's Opening Day payroll mark regardless of what they do on the free-agent market. They have several arbitration-eligible players, including Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman, in line for raises and -- even if the club doesn't re-sign Trumbo or catcher Matt Wieters -- it will field a very competitive payroll.
But will it be enough to field a competitive team?
The O's met with three or four teams on Tuesday to discuss trade possibilities for both of their primary targets: outfield and catching. While Duquette noted there was some "interesting" possibilities, the Orioles don't appear close on anything and could -- like in years past -- wait for the market to come down later in the offseason.
Duquette opined that the hitters market on Tuesday seemed to be slowing down as clubs are typically hesitant on players with qualifying offers (and Draft picks) attached. The aggressive early free-agent deals for mid-tier outfielders could also change the dynamic of what the O's have to do to swing a deal.
"I think that's going to have an impact on the trade market, yeah," Duquette said. "Usually there's more pitching available in the free-agent market. This year there's not a lot of pitching. So, the clubs are spending their money on other areas of their ballclub. I'm not convinced the value's there in that market."