With Orioles’ FanFest just minutes away, Orioles fans are preparing for their chance to talk to the man making the front-office decisions for a team that has come under scrutiny from its slow off-season thus far. Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette will address fans in two special sessions today — once in a special Q&A session for season ticket holders only from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. with manager Buck Showalter, and again in a general public session on player development and scouting with Dean Albany, Brian Graham, and Calvin Maduro.
I am not a season ticket holder, and only a few of my questions for Duquette are in relation to player development, so I probably won’t get an opportunity to ask most of them, however, here are 11 questions I have for the Orioles’ GM. Why 11? Well, I was going to post 10, but wound up with a couple extra, and as the old mantra goes, why be less when you can Bmore. For those going to FanFest, feel free to use the questions below or post answers if you hear Duquette provide an answer during today’s events. I’m aware that Duquette would likely sidestep many of these questions, I just hope someone has truth serum handy.
1) How did you feel about the state of the Orioles when you took the job, and how has that changed to this point?
2) When searching for minor league free agents and fringe major leaguers, is your main objective to create depth within the organization, or finding a potential breakout player that could emerge or re-emerge the way that Chris Davis or Nate McLouth did, respectively?
4) Do you feel Matt Wieters needs to improve on his 2013 season, especially at the plate, for the Orioles to include him in the team’s future plans?
5) What type of offensive production does Nick Markakis have to contribute this season for the Orioles to consider picking up his $17 million option this season?
6) Machado has stated publicly that he would prefer to play shortstop instead of third base. How does that sentiment affect the Orioles’ future plan on the left side of the infield?
7) Most of the Orioles prospects appearing on various rankings lists are pitchers. Will the next Orioles drafts place more of an emphasis on position playing prospects, or will the team look to fill those positions from other sources, such as through free agency or the international market?
9) Do you agree with the Orioles’ policy of signing pitchers no longer than three years? Do you feel the Orioles will need to change that policy to be competitive on the free agent market in the future?
10) Do you believe baseball should have a salary cap? How would that affect the Orioles and do you feel it would make the team more competitive?
11) When national reporters say that the Orioles are “in on” or “interested in” free agents on the market, what percentage of the time are they right?
Bonus: When can we expect AJ Burnett in Baltimore?
Be sure to follow me on Twitter @thebigcahoonah as I post pictures and commentary throughout today’s festivities.