In his first few days on the job as Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations, Dan Duquette made the Baltimore media rounds. He was on many talk shows and was interviewed often.
While he was polite to all, there seemingly was not too much to be learned from his comments. We didn’t get any major insight into his plan to revamp the Orioles. We didn’t get many specifics.
While fans and reporters are still trying to get a handle on what kind of job Duquette will do and how he will do it, he did recently grant an interview to Boston radio station WEEI where he was a little more expansive in some of his comments.
Maybe he was just more comfortable with the hosts that he has obviously known for a long time.
Here is a partial transcript of the interview:
Q: Why have the Orioles been so bad for so long?
Duquette: “Well, you know, the thing that got me about it is they’ve been in the top 10 teams for drafting for like 11 years and they’ve only hit on one player. So the first thing I look at is the scouting and player development and, let’s face it, the Orioles haven’t done what they needed to do to be competitive.
“They do have a great catcher, this kid Wieters. He’s developing as a field general and has power from both sides of the plate. They’ve got a building block there. The shortstop is good, Hardy’s good. Then Adam Jones is good in center field. They have a couple guys on the mound and Markakis. But beyond that, the team really needs a lot of work on the pitching staff and we’re dying for a pitching program.
“I told the fans, ‘Look I’m going to use the same fundamentals your great GM Harry Dalton showed me when he was in Baltimore and in Milwaukee, he let me work with all his guys to learn how to build a team.’ We really need pitching and pitching and pitching.”
Q: Has your personality and approach changed in the nine years since you were a GM in Boston?
Duquette: “That’s what people tell me. The Boston job is a tough job, a pressure-cooker job. Frankly, I needed a rest. There are some things I can do better this time around and being more attentive to the media and friendlier to people, I know, is one of them. I’m making an effort to do that.”
Q: Could you use a 36-year-old left handed DH (reference to David Ortiz)?
Duquette: “I could use a lot of things on my ballclub. It’s just a question of affordability and value now. I don’t know, that seems to be a luxury item right now given all the other work we need to do in other areas of the team.
“We did have Vlad Guerrero last year. I’d much rather sign those Dominicans for contracts when they are coming out of the amateur market rather than pay them a lot of money in the big leagues. We have to sign a few more of those before we look to a high-priced DH, I think.”
Q: The Orioles had an $87 million dollar payroll last year. Is that going up or down?
Duquette: “Well, you know the team had a history of drawing over three million people in their heyday, back in the 90s. Last year, they drew like a million-seven. They do have similarities to the Red Sox in that they have the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, so we have our own regional sports network. That gives us another revenue generator.
“But I think it will probably be flat this year to the extent that we build the team, make it interesting and exciting and more people will come out. Then we’ll have more resources to invest in the team.
“Mr. Angelos wants to have a winning team. I believe he’s committed to a winning team and I’m going to do everything I can to help him get that team.”
I found it interesting that Duquette used “they” and “we” in referring to the Orioles, as in “they have a good catcher” but “we have MASN.”
What is your take on some of these comments from Duquette?
By the way, you can hear the WEEI interview with Duquette by clicking here.