Buck Showalter or Dan Duquette: Who's Really in Charge of the Orioles?
It's about a month into Dan Duquette's regime as the Executive VP of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles, and the team has made quite a lot of moves (although most have been very small). When the Orioles were originally searching for their new man, many cited that Buck Showalter may be a factor in the search because he has played a big part in the front office side of the game in most of his previous organizations.
The roles of the GM and manager in Baltimore are fairly formalized. The role of the GM is specifically to run the construction of the team and manage the affiliates, while the manager is in charge of the big league club and winning games with the players provided. That doesn't mean that the two don't work together, but there is a separation and it would seem that Dan Duquette should be in charge of things.
So far, it has been a bit of a mix in terms of who is calling the shots in the player acquisition process and building of the front office and coaching staff.
Dan Duquette has made his presence felt by signing Tsuyoshi Wada and trading for Dana Eveland and Taylor Teagarden. Tsuyoshi Wada is a classic example of Dan Duquette's efforts internationally, so Wada and the almost signing of Chong Tae-Hyon scream Dan Duquette.
His other big deal was adding Fred Ferreiera and Lee Thomas to the front office staff. Ferreiera looks like step one in adding an academy overseas to scout new talent and get a leg up on the competition. Thomas will be huge in the development of players in the future.
While many of the moves are clearly Duquette moves, Showalter has had his fingerprints on a lot of the smaller moves. Showalter made it clear that he would pounce on the sixth-year minor league free-agent market, and he got right to it by signing Matt Antonelli, Scott Beerer, Miguel Socolovich and Steve Tolleson. Save for Antonelli, these players won't contribute significantly in 2012, but could be the minor league depth that changes the landscape of the Orioles' farm system.
Showalter also made two coaching hires that were all him, landing Bill Castro as bullpen coach and DeMarlo Hale as the third base coach.
In my opinion, Showalter's moves come as no surprise because he has been here longer. His crossover in duties with Dan Duquette will be short-lived while Duquette evaluates the current club and adjusts to the changes in the game. Duquette has never been in the Orioles' organization, and he has been out of the league for almost a decade. This transition is to be expected.
Even now, Dan Duquette is in charge of the Orioles. Showalter will always be there for advice, but Dan Duquette is a grown man, and he knows what he is doing. He doesn't need anyone holding his hand or stepping in on his turf. The Orioles are Dan Duquette's team.
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