SAN DIEGO (AP) Baltimore's Dan Duquette and Kenny Williams of the Chicago White Sox say they aren't focused on overtures from the Toronto Blue Jays, who appear to be seeking to replace Paul Beeston as team president.
Duquette is president of baseball operations for the Orioles and Williams is an executive vice president with the White Sox. The Blue Jays would need to permission from their current clubs to speak with them.
''Permission was neither denied nor granted. At this given time, it's just not the time as we're trying to put the White Sox together in the best possible way,'' Williams said Monday at baseball's winter meetings. ''It's been going on for a little while. They're obviously in a transitional phase in Toronto now. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing it. So whatever their plan is, it includes reaching out to people.''
Duquette avoided direct answers to questions about Toronto's intentions.
''We're here to put together the strongest Oriole team that we can for 2015. That's my focus,'' Duquette said. ''I'm here with the Orioles, and my focus is with the Orioles and helping the Orioles put together the strongest team that they can have in 2015.''
Duquette was hired as Baltimore's top baseball executive in November 2011. Duquette, who held similar positions in Montreal and Boston, at first was given a three-year contract but currently is signed through 2018.
Since he was hired, the Orioles have twice reached the postseason and this year won their first AL East title since 1997.
''We are very pleased with his performance, and we expect him to satisfy his contract,'' Orioles owner Peter Angelos told The Sun in Baltimore. ''We don't want him to go away, and we don't expect him to go away. And he's given no indication he wants to go away.''
The first employee hired by the Blue Jays in May 1976, Beeston became vice president of business operations in 1977, executive vice president of business in 1984 and president and chief operating officer in 1989. He was promoted to chief executive officer in 1991 and held that position until 1997, when he quit to become the COO of Major League Baseball, a role he held until 2002.
He returned to the Blue Jays in October 2008 as interim CEO, and Toronto took off the interim tag a year later.