Are the Orioles in the Twilight of their Basement-Dwelling Years?
By Bob Owens
The Baltimore Orioles wanted a General Manager with experience in the American League East.
But after seeing Tony LaCava reject them, Brain Cashman stay in New York, and Theo Epstein head to Cook Country, it appared they would have to switch directions. But they had a surprise up their sleeve, hiring former Red Sox GM Dan Duquette to a 3-year deal – and it was the media and fans that did a U-Turn at the news.
Duquette has over 10 years of experience as a GM for both the Expos (2.5 years) and the Red Sox (8 years) but has also been inactive from Major League Baseball for the past 8 years. This absence, however, has not deterred his motivation as evidenced by his willingness to interview for this job.
What can the Orioles fan-base expect from him? Well, considering his famous remark about Roger Clemens being in the “twilight of his career,” we can expect him from giving pitchers older than 35 deals for three and four years – a wise policy. The unfortunate part about that statement is that this is the entire quote: “We had hoped to keep him in Boston during the twilight of his career.”
When read in its entirety, it makes it clear that he has some degree of loyalty, does it not?
The public should also expect him for be very active in Latin America, another sage policy.
As far as this specific off-season? I do not think the Orioles should go after Albert Pujols, who I expect to stay in St. Louis. I do expect them, however, to go hard after Prince Fielder and look forward to seeing what kind of offers they submit. Clearly, Fielder will have many suitors, but a few years ago, there were heavy rumors that Baltimore was the least serious bidder in the Mark Teixeira sweepstakes. They cannot replicate that performance.
I do not expect them to bid heavily for Jose Reyes, given that they might have the best shortstop prospect in the minors with Manny Machado.
I assume they will bid on Yu Darvish if the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters post him. CJ Wilson is also a possibility, although I suspect that Duquette will not be terribly aggressive in this pursuit.
I also saw what Peter Gammons tweeted about Duquette: “The O’s organization has decayed from the time Angelos ran off Pat Gillick. Is Duke going to have the contracts to find undervalued talent?”
While the first sentence is true, I’m not sure what he means by “undervalued talent.” Is he referencing pitchers or staff? And honestly, does it matter? Everyone says Duquette is smart or brilliant, so I assume he stated clearly what sort of parameters he needed to have. And if the Orioles give free agents legitimate contracts, players will come. And if they are willing to absorb some contracts from smaller-market teams, other GM’s will deal with him. And if he does not lead them to the promised land, he can always blame the owner.
But I do not expect Dan Duquette to do that. I expect him to work his butt off for the Orioles so that he will no longer be known for one statement that has been taken out of context.