23 February 2018

Where is Dan Duquette? or Is this Brady, Year One?

Who is in Charge?
It is blurry.
There is an idea that takes all sorts of forms: Dan Duquette is not really the head of the Baltimore Orioles operations.  The arguments vary.  One is the well-tread idea that Duquette is playing out the string that Andy MacPhail spun.  The other that we have yet to really explore here is that, what one rival executive once told me, "the two-headed monster in Baltimore" is going through a process where one head is atrophying.  What was once an equal partnership has gradually faded into something quite uneven with Buck Showalter and, perhaps, Brady Anderson taking over the organization.

In years past, much of the credit for overriding Duquette was placed at the hands of Peter Angelos.  As you may remember, when Chris Davis' last team control season winded down in September, Angelos made a rare public comment about how important it was to re-sign Davis.  As the off season dragged on and Davis was deep into negotiations with the Tigers, supposedly Angelos gave Duquette some wiggle room.  If they failed in signing Davis, the money could be allotted to Justin Upton.  However, baseball folks in Detroit convinced their owner to let go of Davis and sign Upton.  Davis then quickly signed a much deferred and option-less deal in Baltimore.

Much more publicized was Brady Anderson's involvement in re-signing two other major allotments over what seemed to be against Duquette's preference.  Anderson was key in the negotiations between the club and Darren O'Day, stealing him at the last moment from the Washington Nationals.  Fast forward, and Anderson was key in finally convincing Mark Trumbo to return to the club.  The Trumbo deal was rumored to have been connected to Buck Showalter's desire to beef up their designated hitter position, a role in which Trumbo has largely failed in his entire career, than to leave that to Trey Mancini who is an ill fit in left field.

That leaves us with this season where every acquisition has been more closely linked to Buck or Brady than Duquette.  Andrew Cashner, a long-time Buck Showalter favorite, was someone who Brady Anderson was in direct contact with since November.  The same is true with Chris Tillman.  Finally, the Colby Rasmus announcement appeared to be devoid of Duquette with Rasmus extolling the virtues of Buck Showalter.

As always, it is hard to tell where the Orioles leadership begins or ends.  Nothing concrete, but rumors did suggest that the Manny Machado trade discussions may have not been conducted by Duquette either.  One gets the creeping and nonsensical idea that Duquette is basically left out of the decision making that has largely taken place this off season.  It may well be that that the Machado rumor is false and that these minor deals are considered minor by the front office, so Duquette lets his competing forces in the front office and clubhouse have those responsibilities while he tries to fill a major ticket item or two.

However, players are getting signed.  Big ticket items are no longer plentiful.  Rotation slots are all locked up except for one.  If last year was a sustainable budget, the Orioles have 30-35 MM left to spend.  Maybe Duquette is targetting Lance Lynn and Mike Moustakas, but they are doing everything they can to make the press report that the club is not interested in those segments of the market.

So, what is left?  I do not know.

17 comments:

PTCello said...

Fascinating article, even though it answers no questions and creates many. However it would be an interesting exercise to play "if-then"
If Brady was indeed in charge of the O'Day, Trumbo, and Tillman deals, then we can look at those deals and try and get a sense of Brady the general manager.
At first glance it doesn't bode well.

trevise-en said...

I believe a different determination is being made...
I think the Orioles (hmmm) brain trust is limiting Dan Duquette’s imprint on the team in regard to ‘future’ seasons. Discounting the Cashner signing, every transaction that has occurred in this offseason has been focused on the 2018 season. So my thought here is that the Orioles are going to make an eventual decision on whether they want Duquette (and possibly Showalter) involved with the team for 2019 and beyond, or if they will bring in different management. Although it’s doubtful that they will even contend for a playoff spot, at seasons end the positives will need to outweigh the negatives and both DD and Buck will need to show that they can harmoniously work together going forward or both will be gone.

Anonymous said...

I don't really care who is in charge. Whoever it is - Buck, Dan, Brady, whatever - they have failed miserably in this offseason to address any of the real issues the O's have. So many opportunities at reasonably priced options have come and gone with almost no word or much attempt at competition from the O's front office. J. Garcia, C. Dickerson. Dyson, Chatwood, and several others. The O's have barely made a peep. The handling of the Machado situation has been awful. This is total non-functionality. Seems to me that leaving DD alone to do his job has worked out better than having so many cooks making the stew. Even if they do recover and make a play for Moose or Cobb, they now lose draft picks along with signing them. All of the above mentioned could have been had cheaper and without draft pick loss. Just so frustrating for fans and annoying. I guess they could still sign Jay and Cobb and declare victory.

PTCello said...

Buck has proven himself, but even if a person thinks that Dan has also been successful, why could we not keep one over the other? I don't think there's any reason we couldn't keep Dan and let Buck go or vice versa.
I think Dan's behavior during the Toronto situation certainly indicated his desire to leave, so let him.

David said...

It does seem like the transition to Anderson is already underway. Question I have is does this mean Duquette is definitely gone after this year or do the Orioles give him the bigger picture team president role that he wanted in Toronto? This could also explain Brady's increased role in personnel moves as he would probably be "VP of Baseball Operations" or something like that in this scenario.

Doug said...

This off season has the look of a team being held back by ownership that is preparing to sell. It’s typical in those scenarios to strip the team of debt and obligations. The Orioles are spending less and are committed to only 3 players for 2019, Davis, Trumbo and Cashner. Peter Angelos ain’t getting younger.

Jon Shepherd said...

Kind of like 2015.

Hals Yankees and MLB's Monopoly said...

Supposedly the Orioles missed out on Flaherty and Goins on minor league deals because they could not get approval by ownership in time. I would say Duquette is finished if he cant sign guys to minor league deals without approval.

TheLeadSled said...

No matter who comes in with the same owners in place it will not matter. The Orioles should have resigned Manny and now are doing the same with Schoop, I do not understand the total ineptitude of this organization, unless 4th place is fine?

Jon Shepherd said...

Goins was a MLB deal.

Anonymous said...

The Orioles can still salvage this offseason by signing Jay and Lynn or Cobb. A Colby Rasmus resurgence could make room for a Trumbo trade. At least Colby can play a passable OF in all three positions as can Jay. Trading Trumbo also makes room for Hays (if Jay is signed). Mancini at DH and Rasmus/Jay/Gentry/Hays in the OF with Adam will make a really good rotation. The O's could even sign Hardy as a UTIL (how much would Neil Walker cost?). The IF and C could be championship quality (with a Davis resurgence). With Lynn/Cobb, the rotation will be passable and the bullpen should be strong. Maybe I'm a cockeyed optimist but the FO can make this work.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Hays to be brought up after Santander passes from Rule 5 and can be optioned.

Elisabeth Hill said...

Missed out on Flaherty? More like dodged a bullet. Gentry is minor league fill, only ML in an emergency.

Jacob Smith said...

Roger, why are you so obsessed with Jay? Advanced metrics have him as roughly average to below average at all 3 defensive positions and he's a league-average hitter. How is that a big enough improvement over the status quo to put money and a roster spot into? How many AL teams carry 5 outfielders, as you seem to be suggesting? And who is trading for Trumbo at this point in your mind?

I'm not entirely opposed to signing an outfield bat to improve a COF spot, but it would have to represent a bigger improvement than Jay. A few years ago he looked like he might turn into a borderline All-Star caliber player. Never happened. He's a 4th outfielder looking to get paid more like a starter. And at the end of the day, I'd still rather see that money get rolled into another arm, preferably Lynn for me because I like his history of durability. I like the outlook a lot better if Tillman is competing for the 5th spot instead of handed the 4th. I don't think Lynn + Jay is a realistic level of investment at this point. Not sure one is reasonable. But I can at least still hope for that and not feel ridiculous.

Jan Frel said...

Interesting speculation. It does make sense that a slow freeze-out would happen with Duquette, and the certainty he will leave as soon as his contract is expired. JF

Anonymous said...

Jacob, I am definitely not obsessed with Jay. If you read any of my posts, my choice all along was Dyson but he is no longer available and Jay is a poor man's Dyson. I don't see the O's having any less than 5 OFs if you include DH (as it currently stands the O's project to have Rasmus/Jones/Mancini/Trumbo/Santander). What Jay brings is speed and defense, something the O's are sorely lacking. Experts here at CD have looked for either Dyson or Jay to be signed. I never said Jay should be paid like a starter; he should be paid less than Dyson. He is younger, though. Further, looking at the above only Rasmus is LH (Santander is SW, but will be sent down after satisfying Rule 5) and Hays is also RH. The only speed/defense option is Gentry who is also RH. Jay would provide a more balance. I actually do believe the O's will ultimately make a Gallardo-like push for Lynn or Cobb - probably Lynn based upon media reports, although Cobb would be my preference. I think the O's missed out big time on Corey Dickerson who would be better than either Rasmus or Jay and probably would have saved a roster spot. I realize a Trumbo trade is not very likely but DD has pulled off several of these (like the trade getting Trumbo to begin with and the trade to get rid of Gallardo, who no one thought would be tradeable).

In my original blueprint for the offseason, I proposed buying into Dyson, Cobb, J. Garcia, Tillman, and Nunez. I'm thinking the likeliest candidate for UTIL is now Sardinas (vs Nunez) and the O's have signed Tillman (ugh). If they sign Jay and either Cobb or Lynn, that would match nearly exactly what I have thought the O's needed within their budget all along. Cashner offsets J. Garcia although that means no lefty. The only chance for a lefty is Nestor (unless you like Brett Anderson?). I suppose one could think that Rasmus offsets the need for Dyson/Jay; one can hope I guess. You know, if they can get Jay on a minor league deal, then they can call him up if Trumbo flames out or is traded.

Anonymous said...

Ah, just read about the Gentry injury. All the more reason to bring Jay in on a minors deal.