06 November 2011

Come on down, Dan Duquette!

Duquette at a Sabermetrics Seminar in 2011
Dan Duquette will be named the Orioles successor to Andy MacPhail as the head of all baseball operations for the team.  It has been a rough bumpy road.  Jerry DiPoto interviewed and quickly signed on to be the Angels General Manager.  Tony Lacava was offered a position and then declined.  DeJon Watson removed his named from consideration, which probably was not all that important as the Orioles appeared not to like what he had to say in his interview anyway.  Next, several potential candidates turned down interviews ranging from Andrew Freidman to Allard Baird.  It was not a good month for the team who essentially knew back in July that MacPhail was not returning.

Duquette has a tough assignment ahead of him.  He certainly knows a lot of folks, but he is dealing with a rather public shunning of Peter Angelos by many baseball professionals and that many teams have settled the market for scouts and managers.  That leaves the team in a bit of a lurch and may translate into a rather rough off season and, potentially, 2012 draft.  Even though I think the public piling on of professionals and media was a bit much, it is not like it was not deserved.  To some extent, maybe almost completely, it was a justified response to what has seemed like one of the worst episodes in hiring a GM.  Mind you, the worst episode was back in 2005 when Theo Epstein escaped Fenway Park in a Gorilla costume and the Red Sox interviewed five people (including Jim Beattie) before giving Epstein what he wanted.

Duquette has a rather uneven past.  As a director of player development and as a GM for the Montreal Expos, he oversaw that franchise turning into a power house through international signings and player development.  He took the rudderless Red Sox and rearranged them to consistently make the playoffs as well as create the foundation for Theo Epstein to succeed in 2004 with a World Series win.  He also had a rather unfortunate public spat with Roger Clemens and was known for being a bit too blunt at times when giving interviews with the media.  As far as he took the Red Sox, his teams were often a bit limited as well.  He signed players like Jose Canseco and dealt for players like Carl Everett.  The teams had awful clubhouse chemistry (as was reported) and that was associated with the team's collapses.

After being fired, Duquette has not had a lot of interaction with Major League baseball.  He quickly began to work in collegiate player development.  He was involved in owning the Dukes, a summer collegiate team from 2003 to 2009.  He also worked to establish the Israel Baseball League in 2007, which folded due to financial reasons after the season ended.  Also in 2007, he was a finalist to be the Pittsburgh Pirates CEO/President (it eventually went to Frank Coonally).  He is also a frequent guest during seminars about sabermetrics.

What does it all mean?

I am not sure.  Duquette is known to understand the value of international signings and player development.  He was big on that during his Montreal years.  With the Red Sox, he spent more time working on the free agent market.  He also showed during his time there an understanding of sabermetrics that was at most a step or two behind Billy Beane, but a good five to seven years in front of him in understanding the value of foreign players.


Jacob said...

I found out this morning when a buddy of mine (a Yankees fan) walked into the office and said "Jeeze, Duquette??" This is what the Orioles are reduced to. Not even retreads - retreads who are ten years out of the league. The only way it could be worse is if we hired a retread who just last week was the Bingo caller down at the old folks' home....

PA in TX said...

A friend on mine played for the Berkshire Dukes when they were owned by Dan Duquette. Instead of the normal arrangement of housing players with host families that is the norm for summer collegiate league teams, the Dan Duquette set up the Dukes players in tents, hobo style. Orioles fans, this is the guy that was picked to call the shots. Good night and good luck.

Anonymous said...

It's not like the O's can suck any worse than they do now. All the polish in the world will only make this team a shiny stinker.