04 November 2016

Hey, Look: The Orioles Are Being Weird Again

Did you want the Orioles to keep the coaching staff intact? Well, too bad.

You can't really fault them for losing pitching coach Dave Wallace, who "retire[d] from active major league coaching" and recently joined the Atlanta Braves as a pitching instructor and adviser. That role comes with a much more flexible schedule, which Wallace was seeking. Wallace occasionally had to be away from the team during the season, and it's a priority for him to be able to spend more time at home.

The case of bullpen coach Dom Chiti is, however, more peculiar. Buck Showalter wanted Chiti to stay. Chiti not only wanted to stay, but also was "at least a candidate for the pitching coach job."And yet, Chiti said he didn't hear anything from Dan Duquette or the Orioles, so he followed Wallace to Atlanta. Chiti will serve as the Braves' director of pitching.

Disagreements happen, and coaches move on. But for someone as popular as Chiti among players and other coaches -- and who has helped to actually get promising O's pitchers to perform well -- it seems weird, even for the Orioles, for him to be left hanging in the wind.

As Chiti told Dan Connolly, he even tried reaching out to Duquette to see what was going on:
Chiti, however, said he contacted Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette on multiple occasions to ask about the status of his employment, but never received a response.

"I called and left three messages for Dan Duquette and he never called me back. I left three messages for the man. 'This is Dominic, can I get a couple minutes of your time?'" Chiti said.

That was the most disappointing part of this process, said Chiti, who is not shy in voicing his opinions, which could have rubbed some higher-ups the wrong way.

"If you don’t think you want me (back), if you don’t like me, I'm OK with that. But just call me and tell me. 'Dominic, we're not going to have you back.' I'm a big boy. I've been in the game a long time. I know how it works."

When asked about Chiti's comments, Duquette said he was unaware of any phone messages.

"I'm not sure who he was trying to contact," Duquette said. "It wasn't me."
Who knows exactly what happened, but it does seem odd for the Orioles not to make Chiti a priority. Again, he was apparently a candidate for the vacated pitching coach spot. Maybe in Duquette's eyes, though, he wasn't. But this does seem par for the course for someone with Duquette's track record of aloofness.

Don't place all the blame on Duquette, though. Connolly reminded fans in a separate post that this is what the Orioles' front office does. Connolly added, "Getting coaches’ contracts situated never seems to be a priority, though it usually seems to get done. I’m not sure exactly whose fault it is and why the delay happens, but this isn’t new."

It does seem like an annual thing, when Orioles' coaches' contracts expire, which leads to worrying that they aren't going to be renewed. That uncertainty has to be awkward and discomforting, and no one should fault Chiti for taking the sure thing in Atlanta.

The important thing is that Showalter is still around. The Orioles now have three coaching spots to fill, but Showalter will always be the straw that stirs the drink. Still, this wouldn't be the Orioles if strange things weren't happening. Just throw this latest example on top of the pile.


Unknown said...

This isn't weird. Duquette did the same thing to Roberts/Markakis and others. In case you haven't noticed, he isn't the nicest guy or a good GM.

Anonymous said...

After the 2012 season, Duquette waited until the final ten minutes before the deadline to tell Mark Reynolds he was being non-tendered. The last ten minutes, when a guy deserved better.
Duquette is an ass.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

We can argue semantics if you'd like, but yeah, it's generally weird to have that kind of non-interaction with a dependable coach who wants to return to your organization. It doesn't make much sense, but as is stated in the post, it's something the Orioles have done with coaches, even before Duquette arrived.

I don't know if Duquette is a nice guy. He does seem distant and not overly friendly. Does that matter in a GM? He's still done a pretty decent job, whether you'd classify him as a "good GM" or not. There's been good. There's been bad. He's a middle-of-the-road GM, at worst. You can't just say someone is bad without ignoring the good. And there clearly has been good.

Anonymous said...

For Chrissakes, a bullpen coach!!!!!!! What will we do without him?!

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I never said it was a huge deal, but it's still worth discussing! Thanks for your comment!

vilnius b. said...

IMO it is a big deal! Chiti, as you said, was very popular with the pitchers. I remember reading somewhere that he had a very popular exercise in the bullpen which involved other pitchers offering their critiques/suggestions while one of the pitchers was in a throwing session. And he should've been given serious consideration for the pitching coach position that became vacant when Wallace "retired."

Duquette says he never got any of the messages? Is it really imaginable that Chiti didn't know whose number he was dialing? Doubtful.

This pattern of leaving coaches "hanging in the wind" is another reason why I'm not a big fan of DD. How are the Orioles going to find quality replacements when a vacancy occurs? This is not the kind of reputation an organization wants to establish with either potential coaches or players.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps DD is slowly weeding out the BS!

GRob78 said...

I was surprised by how Dom Chiti was treated by the organization, and it seems to have bothered Wallace who has left the Orioles for the Braves as well. That said, I'm not upset with Duquette over it.

Now, why we are holding onto a hitting coach and his assistant that have less than ideal, now that's a mystery.

I don't know what someone like Dan Duquette is really like in the office or in person. I don't care either. He's been good for the organization overall though his next couple of seasons will really tell the tale on his influence. Baseball is a business, just like football and basketball. Some decisions aren't always positive. Hopefully the Orioles can make some moves with pitching that will help develop the guys in the system so we don't have an Jake Arrietta story.