Orioles GM Dan Duquette on M&M: Keeping Francisco Rodriguez from Red Sox ‘a secondary benefit’

July 26, 2013 - 10:31 am
Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president, joined Mut & Merloni on Friday afternoon, and after making two acquisitions well ahead of the trade deadline '€” for right-handed starter Scott Feldman and right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez '€” he did not sound too interested in Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a righty the Red Sox have interest in. Baltimore reportedly has scouted but is not too heavily invested in the free agent hurler. '€œSome teams see him as a ready-made major league pitcher who can come up and help, and I would think you have to see him that way to invest the kind of money that it'€™s going to take to sign him,'€ said Duquette, a former Red Sox general manager. '€œI don'€™t know enough about him to tell you if he can come up here and pitch, but we'€™ve seen a lot of these other Cuban players come in and play effectively. '€œA lot of these Cubans are showing that they have terrific ability and they can make an immediate impact, so it wouldn'€™t surprise me if Gonzalez can do the same thing.'€ One factor that makes Gonzalez an attractive option is that he costs money -- not prospects, as most trade acquisitions would this time of year. Duquette, however, was OK with trading one of his top prospects, Nick Delmonico, for Rodriguez earlier this week. '€œI understand the value of young prospects,'€ Duquette said. '€œBut one of those important values is to be able to trade them in a pennant race to help club get over the top. '€¦ We'€™re just trying to keep pace in the American League East, and getting a veteran pitcher is always helpful.'€ Rodriguez was considered one of the top relievers available on the trade market, and with just about every contender, including the Red Sox, looking for help to shore up their respective bullpens, the O'€™s acquisition came with the side benefit of keeping him from competitors. Duquette acknowledged that it was indeed '€œa secondary consideration.'€ '€œBut really, for us, we were looking for an experienced pitcher and somebody to bolster our bullpen,'€ said Duquette. '€œK-Rod has the experience '€” over 300 saves, plus he'€™s got over 35 innings in the postseason with a good record, so he'€™s got a proven track record. '€œThe American League East is so competitive, any game you win at any time of the year could be a deciding factor in getting into the playoffs and eventually playing for the pennant. I thought if the price was decent, we'€™d go and get some pitching as soon as we could.'€ Following are more highlights from the conversation. To listen to the interview, visit the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox. On the 2013 success of Chris Davis: '€œI think the big thing with Chris Davis is earlier this year he [consolidated] his strike zone. He didn'€™t expand his strike zone swinging at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone. He was waiting for his pitch in the strike zone, and when he got his pitch, he was able to use his power to all parts of the ballpark here to left field. '€œRecently, he'€™s been expanding the strike zone. The jump in his production is really related to his discipline at the plate early in the year, and then of course he has that great power and gets to employ that more regularly.'€ On the idea of lifetime bans as punishment for using performance-enhancing drugs: '€œIt'€™s kind of hard when you'€™re trying to help players perform at the top of their abilities '€” it'€™s kind of hard to see them eliminated because they took an extra step outside the rules. So I think that'€™s a little bit drastic, frankly. There'€™s a lot more work to be done on this topic, and I would like to see stiffer penalties, but I don'€™t know about a lifetime ban. I don'€™t see this as being the same issue as betting against your own ball club, for example. '€œWhile they'€™re both related to the integrity, there'€™s a lot more discussion that has to go on [about] this performance-enhancing topic.'€
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