Baltimore Orioles: 7 Reasons Dan Duquette Is the Right Choice
Andy MacPhail is now gone and the search process for his replacement is now over. The Orioles have now left the future of the franchise in the capable hands of Dan Duquette.
Duquette is no stranger to leading the baseball operations side of a franchise. Duquette was a GM twice in his career, with the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, although he has not been in the game since 2002. That's nine years, which is pretty significant.
It is clearly too early to call, but it seems that the Orioles emerged from being rejected multiple times to find a great man for the job. Here are seven reasons why Dan Duquette will be the right fit for the Orioles.
Keeping It in the Family
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If you think the name Duquette sounds familiar, you're right because Dan's cousin Jim Duquette was a key part of the Orioles front office with Mike Flanagan before Andy MacPhail took over.
This seems like it's just a fact that I'm bringing up, but I think that some families just have the right qualities in common with each other and that could be a strength since Jim was a pretty good part of the Orioles' history.
The Orioles have hired like this in the past with the MacPhails and this time with the Duquettes may end even better.
Partner to Buck Showalter
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Buck Showalter has a very strong personality and the intelligence to be the GM of a team if he wanted, so many people thought that the new GM would feel like Buck's puppet and would cave to his will.
Duquette seems to me like he will work with Buck to find the right people, but in the end have the say in what happens because he is the guy in charge. Experience will take over and respect will be shown.
One thing that I think hurt the Orioles was the tension between Buck and Andy MacPhail. Buck seemed displeased with the way that things were run upstairs. It's always seemed like Buck may not have been MacPhail's manager, but more the Orioles' manager.
Duquette selected into Buck's camp, so the two should respect each other to do the work.
Background in Player Development
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It's pretty clear that the Orioles aren't developing players like they should from the horrible minor league ranks that expose the Orioles' depth past the current crop.
The current crop of pitchers and young players headed up by Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman have had varying levels of success, which is a knock on how they were progressed and groomed.
Duquette's career began in scouting, but he led the Expos player development department in the late 1980s, when they began to produce some seriously talented players (most of whom made their impact elsewhere).
Duquette's leadership in developing players will only be the first step in building a better team in Baltimore from the ground up.
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The Orioles have done an alright job drafting over the past few years, but obviously the results have been mixed. Dan Duquette could legitimately make a big difference in the scouting of players in the future.
Duquette's track record speaks for itself. In his time with the Expos and Red Sox, the teams saw the drafting of Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Youkilis, David Eckstein and Freddy Sanchez.
If built right from within, the Orioles could compete for the division each year like Tampa does.
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An international presence is one of the biggest things keeping most of the majors at a disadvantage to the Red Sox and Yankees and it's because most teams don't allocate the right resources to international scouting.
Dan Duquette's history with foreign players has been spectacular. He helped to bring Vladimir Guerrero, Javier Vazquez, Orlando Cabrera and Hanley Ramirez to America.
The Orioles have had some international signings in the past few years, highlighted by Koji Uehara and Jonathan Schoop, but there needs to be more.
Duquette's Israeli Baseball League shows that he is committed to finding untapped markets and despite the league's failure, he can give the Orioles an edge.
Good Free-Agent Signings
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The Orioles have had some big time bust free agents in the past few years, including Derrek Lee, Kevin Gregg, Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada and more, so improving on finding the right players could be key.
Duquette's history in the offseason shows that he can find the right players to create a winning club. Two of the most essential pieces in the historic 2004 Boston Red Sox team came from free-agent signings by Duquette and those are Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. He also managed to find a young Tim Wakefield, who has spent 16 years on the Red Sox as a key pitcher.
Signings like those are big, not just in money, but in shaping a franchise. The right outside talent to complement the inside makes a team much stronger as a whole, which the Orioles need especially to win the division.
Making Key Trades
If there is one thing that Dan Duquette is good at, it's making trades.
Dan Duquette's trades shaped the Red Sox of 2004 and have had key implications on even the current Red Sox. Duquette's first big trade was acquiring Pedro Martinez in Montreal for Delino DeShields (who would later start at second for the Orioles). The iconic, superstar pitcher was later acquired in Boston for Carl Pavano, again by Duquette. Martinez became one of the greatest pitchers in Red Sox history.
Duquette's other famous trade is the infamous Heathcliff Slocumb trade that brought Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to Boston. Lowe was essential in 2004 and Varitek is the captain of the Red Sox.
The Orioles have made some good trades in the past, but Duquette could make some even better ones.