12 January 2018

After 2018, Duquette Will Likely Be the Third Winningest GM in Orioles History

Effectively, the Orioles have installed thirteen different "General Managers". That number pops up to fourteen if we so choose to count the Mike Flanagan/Jim Bettie design as its own separate entity.  Below is the ranking of General Managers by total wins.

Years Wins Losses Pct
Hank Peters 1976-1987 1036 845 .551
Lee MacPhail 1959-1965 612 506 .547
Roland Hemond 1988-1995 592 634 .483
Harry Dalton 1966-1971 582 383 .603
Dan Duquette 2012-2017 519 453 .534
Frank Cashen 1972-1975 358 279 .562
Mike Flanagan 2003-2007 293 355 .452
Paul Richards 1955-1958 276 337 .450
Andy MacPhail 2008-2011 267 380 .413
Pat Gillick 1996-1998 265 221 .545
Syd Thrift 2000-2002 204 281 .421
Frank Wren 1999 78 84 .481
Art Ehlers 1954 54 100 .351

Currently, Duquette sits fifth all time for total wins (6th if you wish to look at winning percentage, 4th as games played as general manager).  He is 63 wins behind Harry Dalton and 73 behind Roland Hemond.  It would take a pretty catastrophic season for him to remain in fifth and it is like that 2018 will end with him sitting in third.  With a playoff season or an extension, Duquette would pass MacPhail for second place in the next year to year and a half.  As it is he is about four to five to seven years away from Hank Peters.

Needless to say, Duquette has overseen one of the more successful periods in the history of the Orioles franchise.  He has succeeded under the ownership of Peter Angelos where other respectable executives like Roland Hemond, Frank Wren, Jim Beattie, and Andy Macphail have failed.  Maybe he is not the answer long term, but it is remarkable how successful he has been in a job that few people thought it was possible to be successful in.

As Duquette enters his final contract year, many have called for him to be sent off into the sunset.  This is a rather common thought even though we know he is a wanted commodity as evidenced by the Blue Jays' interest a few years back.  Areas in which he is dinged include a lack of international amateur spending, which is something that no Orioles GM has done since Pat Gillick.  That makes it seem like a franchise issue instead of a GM issue.  He is hit for diddly daddling in the free agent market, but studies have indicated how waited out the market gets you a better price point.  While the Orioles have spent lavishly, much of that spend has been caught up in arbitration contracts and the owner's contract proclivities (see: Chris Davis).

The main area of weakness for Duquette has been him gutting the minors.  He was willing to get rid of fringe prospects, which has put the club in a starting pitching depth crunch the past couple years as a few of their starters fell apart.  The minors in general came in from being buoyed by several high draft picks and little depth to one of simply little depth as the club became more competitive and Duquette felt free to sign free agents that resulted in the loss of draft picks.  However, the club, even though restricted predominantly to the domestic market, has done well to find talent deeper in the draft on the position side.  It has made what was a glaring issue into something that is now more or less sub-par.

As it stands, I still think Duquette has not shown a talent at rebuilding a franchise and it feels like the franchise is on the threshold of a rebuild.  That said, he has had lots of success here and elsewhere under a wide range of limitations.  He has also shown to be successful with the Orioles, which is something no one had been able to do in the 15 years before his tenure.

With all of that in mind, I think the wisest move for this franchise would be to extend Duquette for another five years and see how well he can restock the cabinet.


Unknown said...

I may be mis-remembering, but I believe that when Dan Duquette was the Red Sox GM he declared his belief that the draft and Latin American amateur markets were overpriced and inefficient. He acted on this belief by increasingly signing Asian, mainly Korean, amateurs, with no significant success. I think it likely that the Orioles' lack of interest in Latin America is at least reinforced by Duquette's personal beliefs.

Jon Shepherd said...

And in Montreal he was a champion of it. I think market inefficiencies change with time and he thought the Asian market could be better exploited. He failed in that. It may well be a reason why Angelos liked him. But to somehow put it on Duquette for 20 years of ignoring the Latin American market seems off to me. Duquette's beliefs probably do not matter at all.

Unknown said...

I think saying "Duquette's beliefs probably do not matter at all" is an overstatement. Duquette certainly hasn't been an enthusiastic, public advocate for increased efforts in Latin America. I also agree that there's a lot of interaction - the Orioles probably wouldn't have hired a GM who was an enthusiastic advocate of LATAM investment.

I confess that I am generally not favorably disposed to Dan Duquette and would prefer to not see him extended.

Pip said...

Jon, I love reading your articles, but I have never disagreed with you more, and I have never read an article of yours with less supporting commentary.
It is completely accurate that Dan shows neither direction nor philosophy, he makes wildly unwise personnel decisions, and he has shown no ability to evaluate pitching. One need only look at his major moves over the last several years.
It is significant that he was out of baseball for so long. Many have said that no one would work for PA except Dan, and whether that is true or not, it is certainly true that no one wanted Dan except PA.
There is no justification to extend him.

Jon Shepherd said...

MacPhail did nothing with Baltimore.
His group is active in Philly.

Intent matters little if you simply are not allowed to do much.

Jon Shepherd said...

I can provide counter examples for each point. You are protesting too much.

Unknown said...

"mis-remembering"? That's what Roidger Clemons said!

Jon Shepherd said...

Let me be more exact.

What I want in a GM is someone who is familiar with all metrics, is comfortable with all metrics, and is able to utilize his resources to reasonably consider those metrics. Second, I want him to be able to deal with communication issues within the organization. Finally, I want him to consider talent from all potential sources.

Duquette has not done all of these. He has a mixed record for most of it. However, the main issue is being able to work within the constraints that Angelos has placed on the organization. Only one GM besides Duquette has had success and that was Gillick when Angelos supported the highest payroll in all of baseball.

That ability to work within such a system should not be ignored. MacPhail was a good baseball man. So was Beattie. So was Wren. These guys were established and ready and they all did not put decent teams together working under the constraints of the current ownership.

Is Duquette my ideal choice? Absolutely not. But, I would say ignoring the reality of the situation is more likely to bring back a terrible front office when currently the one the club has functions and does some things kind of well. Team have emulated aspects of the Duquette operation. We are talking about a team that led the way (slightly behind the Pirates) in shifting. A team that led the way with launch angles. A team that led the way in delaying FA signings. These things have to be acknowledged and these things should be considered when trying to figure out if the next GM can do things this well under the constraints placed on the franchise by the owner.

Pip said...

Delaying FA signings is BAD.
It merely ensures that the desirable players are gone. What can possibly be the point of "waiting out the market" if the market doesn't wait?
If a player is worth X, he's going to sign for pretty close to X. It makes no sense, as we have repeatedly seen, to wait for the cost of a desirable player to go down, because somebody will pay the higher price.
Then, rather than do nothing because all the desirable players are gone, we repeatedly sign players, who are not worth even a fraction of their contract. That cannot possibly be a good idea, because the evidence is far too strong to the contrary.
Dan's actions are so contradictory that it is unlikely that they reflect any parameters set by ownership. If you're going to build through the draft, you don't trade away draft picks, if money is an issue, you don't give out $55 or $22 million contracts to bad pitchers. There are tons of examples. If management were cheap, everything would reflect that, and if management were profligate, everything would reflect that as well.
Dan appears to have no sabermetrics skill at all.
The success that the team has enjoyed could have been greater if not for Dan's bad moves. The average season Gonzalez gave the White Sox instead of the Gallardo fiasco might have been the difference in winning the division.
Dan has no sense of defense. He signed Alvarez and willingly forced Trumbo into the outfield. No one with the slightest interest in defense or knowledge of stats would have done that. Was Dan directed to sign Alvarez? I can't imagine that he was.
I largely reject the constraints argument simply because Dans moves are so contradictory.
And the bulk of the success is almost certainly due to Buck working well with the players he is given rather than Dan wisely choosing those players.
Dan has hung around several years, but it certainly seems that his moves have largely hindered rather than helped the win total.

Jon Shepherd said...

You are arguing against the actions of every GM in delaying signings. You are willfully ignoring Duquette's use of analytics and that he was actually one of the first to try to implement them decades ago.

You are engaging in hyperbole here.

Pip said...

Jon I respect you greatly but I respectfully doubt that. I don't know every single one of Dans moves, but I know most of them, and most of those are illogical, contradictory and badly thought out.
He has not demonstrated at any time any consistent plan either long term or short term.
He has had some good moves and I don't deny that at all, but in toto, he doesn't seem to know what he is doing.

Pip said...

No hyperbole. I've given concrete examples.

Jon Shepherd said...

I am not sure what to say other than the record is mixed and I think you refuse to accept that Angelos puts constraints on GMs. That Duquette has somehow experienced success while others have not should say something. Duquette has overseen several solid years after taking a job refused by many and thought to be a hopeless case.

Do you see how strange your absolute case is in light of that?

vilnius b. said...

I usually agree with most of what Jon writes, but if it were my decision to make, I wouldn't extend Duquette's contract.
There are plenty of young, energetic and highly informed assistant GMs with other organizations that would take the job.
I'll concede---as Jon has already said---that Duquette has worked within the constraints imposed upon him by Peter Angelos.
But Angelos most likely doesn't have much time left to live and the Orioles have to start thinking about the inevitable rebuild.
And as Jon said: there's no indication he's the man for the task, having given away young talent for rentals. He's not young either.
Unless we end up with somebody like the aptly named Thrift, IMHO the O's should give some young gun a chance to see if he can restock the team and make it competitive again in 3-4 years. Hopefully, this person can work well with Showalter.
If his tenure ends after 2018, I'll thank Dan for the great moves he's made---such as signing Nelson Cruz on the cheap---and curse him for the bad ones (e.g., signing Gallardo).

Pip said...

Be like Luhnow.
HE is a guy to extend.
Dan, not so much...

Jon Shepherd said...

Luhnow gave up MLB depth to acquire a mid to backend arm. Pirates got a high median outcome return which sets them up well for future post season runs.

I think it worked out well for everyone. It won't if Cole's straight fastball loses velocity or if he remains a 2016/7 Cole. Or if the Astros see injuries. Pirates get hurt if Cole's 2015 season was real or if all their guys crap out.

Unknown said...

Do you need me to write something for tomorrow?

Jon Shepherd said...

I am uncertain of any time we will need you to write anything. Thanks for the offer though.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

Elisabeth, what does this mean: "Do you need me to write something for tomorrow?"

Everything you see written on this site is done for free. We do this for fun. Please don't make this not fun.

Unknown said...

We can't know for sure what is going on with PA. Yet, we know the core of the 2012-17 team came mainly through Andy MacPhail's trades. We know that DD has annually waited for the FA market to develop, then say he was "shocked" at how the market developed. His job is to at least occasionally know where the market is likely to go. (rule of thumb: Make your highest estimates, then increase those by at least 50%) He's overpaid for many of his moves (Ubaldo), largely because he's competing with a few other teams who are also desperate to sign someone. He's brought in pitchers with poor mechanics based on a half-season of success. The farm system has been atrocious. Even his best move (signing N Cruz) backfired into one of his worst moves (not re-signing Nelson Cruz). My primary complaint against PA is that DD hasn't been shown the door already.

Jon Shepherd said...

Let us also remember, Duquette brought in Wei Yin Chen, Nate McLouth, extended Adam Jones to a friendly contract, turn Guthrie in Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom who was turned into a pivotal September and October by Joe Saunders, who turned Britton into a reliever, who signed Miguel Gonzalez out of the Mexican Leagues, who struck some gold with Steve Pearce, some silver with Danny Valencia and Pedro Alvarez, who got a year and a half of solid performance out of Bud Norris, who signed Nelson Cruz, got crazy performance out of David Lough / Alejandro de Aza / Delmon Young, dealt for Andrew Miller, found Brad Brach, a good year of Hyun Soo Kim, a good year of Mark Trumbo, stellar Michael Bourn play, converted Mychal Givens back to the mound, Welington Castillo, Trey Mancini, Austin Hays, Chance Sisco, Tim Beckham, and some players I have forgotten in this moment.

If you are going to give MacPhail credit for what he did and ignore what he did not do, it seems you have to really consider what Duquette did with the core MacPhail wound up creating. It also seems incredibly bizarre not to acknowledge how much of a failure the grow the arms philosophy was and how terrible Joe Jordan did in the draft. That left Duquette with a terrible situation.