04 August 2016

The Orioles Are Still Andy MacPhail's Team

On November 6, 2011, the page was turned from the Andy MacPhail era to the Dan Duquette era.  Buck Showalter finished his first full season in Baltimore with a 69-93 record, which was good for last place in the AL East.  The team was composed of Jeremy Guthrie and a promising Zach Britton rotation that was backed up with solid setup men, Koji Uehara and Jim Johnson, and not much else.  The offense saw a resurgent J.J. Hardy turn heads with blossoming Matt Wieters and Adam Jones.  Still, it was a pretty poor team. 

With MacPhail out the door, players with MacPhail's fingerprints departed: Felix Pie, Craig Tatum, Vladimir Guerrero, Cesar Izturis, and Jake Fox.  Two weeks later, Duquette would make his first official transaction: signing Matt Antonelli to a major league contract.  It still perfectly describes his apparent strategy: find the fringe that no one else wants and maybe it will go big.  Anyway, the team began its change into Dan Duquette's team.

However, the team in the midst of its fifth season under Dan Duquette does not really look like Dan Duquette's team.  The club is dominated by MacPhail era players, such as Zach Britton, Chris Tillman, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, and Adam Jones.  Duquette's main contributions are in the pen (e.g., Brad Brach, Vance Worley), one year positional trappings (e.g., Hyun Soo Kim, Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez), and rotation desperation (e.g., Yovani Gallardo, Ubaldo Jimenez).  It is fair to say that the primary structure was developed by MacPhail's group and was then adorned by Duquette.

As you can see above, half of the primary performance of the club is tied into original deals made by MacPhail's administration.  At 21% are MacPhail players who were then re-signed by Duquette (e.g., Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones).  At 29% are players that never overlapped with MacPhail's tenure.  This does not mean to say that Duquette is simply playing out MacPhail's string.  It is unknown whether MacPhail would have been capable to bring the little pieces together to form a strong ballclub or know which pieces were important to retain or moved.  Perhaps the only thing to be said is that Duquette has been a remarkable caretaker.

That said, is a 71% connection to a regime from five years ago notable or not?  Twelve days before Duquette inked his contract, the Cubs brought on Jed Hoyer to be their General Manager.  Below is what his chart looks like.

The only players remaining from the Randy Bush era are Javier Baez, Wilson Contreras, and Matt Szczur.  The Cubs literally have been rebuilt while the Orioles were refurnished.

There certainly is more than one way to skin a baseball and the skills Dan Duquette and Jed Hoyer have shown worked for their situations.  We are hard pressed to know whether they would be as successful were the roles reversed.  With the Orioles, Duquette never tried to start from scratch.  He had an amazing structure left behind by Andy MacPhail.  However, as the MacPhail era ages or becomes too expensive, the Duquette regime will need to find long-term replacements.  Maybe Duquette can do that as well as MacPhail did.


Charles said...

A couple things that I find interesting about their respective situations. For the Orioles organizational structure, the big faces in player acquisition are primarily Duquette and Showalter. With the Cubs, you have Jed Hoyer and Joe Maddon as well as Theo Epstein. Do Jon Lester, John Lackey, and David Ross sign with the Cubs if Epstein is somewhere else?

Also, from 2012 to 2014, the Cubs drafted in the top 10. All three of those players are with the big league club--Almora, Bryant, and Schwarber (although Schwarber is injured, he is a great hitter).

The O's on the other had, haven't drafted in the top 20 since 2012, when they grabbed Gausman with the 4th pick. That was also Duquette's first draft.

So to me they are in completely different sitations. Duquette never had the opportunity to draft inside the top 20 picks, not to mention the top 5, where you should be able to get a near ML ready player or a bonafide future star.

I think of it like this: MacPhail raised the ceiling of the club. He built the potential, and Showalter helped realize that potential. Nick Markakis is no longer our best player--Manny Machado is. Duquette raised the floor of the club.

Well, outside of Ubaldo Jiminez, of course.

Roger said...

I agree with the above and would add one more thing. The Cubs have been competitive for two years. The O's have been competitive since 2012. You may think the Cubs are a better team now but the O's have the most wins of any franchise in MLB since 2012. That is one heckuva good caretaker.

Jon Shepherd said...

Is the last paragraph appearing for anyone or are you all in the chorus? :)

Roger said...

I dunno. I think Duquette will replace or re-sign as needed. At what point do the existing players belong to Duquette? I figure by signing Davis long term, he is now part of Duquette's team. Same with Manny if he re-signs. Who belongs to Duquette now? Gausman? Bundy? Joseph? Givens? Cisco? Mancini? Manny and Schoop are so young that they should be a part of the team when it's Duquette's team. Kim could be a long term piece - the first two years is a tryout. Pitching is the hardest part of the puzzle. It's too soon to judge Duquette on that score. Right now the pieces are in place to be competitive. I think the O's are one star pitcher away from being dominant (in addition to Gausman and Bundy). Maybe that's Sedlock. IF he becomes the star pitcher that puts the O's over the top then Duquette is a genius. The Braves dynasties of the 90s did not begin with Maddux, A. Jones, or C. Jones on the roster. They brought in expensive free agents - Terry Pendleton, Greg Maddux, Fred McGriff and a new closer every year (before Wohlers). Duquette has brought in more affordable free agents with generally good results - Cruz, Trumbo, Kim, Pearce, Brach, Worley, Miguel, Chen. No huge stars but solid contributors. The O's are in first place against all odds. How much better does Duquette have to be to be successful? The Cubs haven't won a WS yet. The O's came within a whisker of going to the WS.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I would think Davis should be considered more of an Angelos guy than a Duquette guy.

Jon Shepherd said...

I think you can come up with a couple statements: 1) When this team becomes sourced by Duquette's regime it will have great trouble sourcing it from the minor leagues. 2) The column above does note whether Duquette had a direct role in extending or reacquiring players. That is why I did that. 3) I explicitly noted that Duquette needs to be given credit for retaining the players he did.

I am unsure where you are going with your comment.

Also, Cubs in 2015 got just as far as the Orioles did in 2014.

Jon Shepherd said...

I figured I would just tag this here instead of replying to various people on various places where this article appeared.
1) I was not anti-MacPhail. You can actually read my progression here. On Dec 31, 2010, I said it was time for MacPhail to go and that he likely did not have the skillset to take the Orioles to the next level. Before then, I liked most of the idea of the plan. My post that day explains well why I decided to no longer endorse him as the head of the Orioles.
2) This post is not to diminish Duquette or inflate MacPhail. This post simply notes where the players originated. There are many paths to take from there and I had no interest in exploring those paths right now. This was simply a "look at how most of the major pieces come from the MacPhail era". That Duquette does not have much of a presence here, as mentioned, could be by design.
3) While this club is MacPhail's team and as I noted in the column, there is no compelling reason to assume that MacPhail could have produced the success that Duquette has had with this club.

This article is amazing in how it is a Rorschach test for readers.

Pip said...

That made me laugh. I know what you meant. Stephan Crane had a poem about that."there was a man with tongue of wood...."
I think your most telling comment was that when the team is Duquette's, he won't be restocking it from the minor leagues.
That made me laugh, too.
You've said elsewhere that Dan Disdains scouting and drafting, and his actions certainly bear that out.
I detest his getting players about whom the best thing he can say is,"he's a qualified major leaguer."