The idea of Orioles fans being held hostage may soon be over. If Dan Duquette gets the general manager’s job, the club will have its new top executive and you can get on with your lives, not to mention the rest of the offseason.
Personally, I was and remain a big fan of De Jon Watson of the Dodgers. I think this guy is going to be a top GM for someone soon and hope the Orioles didn’t miss out on a guy that shows leadership, the ability to produce a solid player development system and excellent contacts on the international market.
When Watson finished his interview recently at the warehouse, manager Buck Showalter joined him at his hotel for two more hours. Those close to Watson said he felt he aced the interview and was going to get this job. Then for a day or two, he didn’t hear from the club and soon read the Orioles wanted to reopen the search. Not at all thrilled to hear that, he withdrew his name from consideration. One source told me someone with the Orioles tried to talk him out of that decision.
For whatever reason, it was not to be with Watson.
Now it appears Duquette, the former Expos and Red Sox GM, will get this job.
As for Duquette, yes, he has been out of the game at this level - as a top front office executive - since 2002. Some fans will see that as a big negative. Time will tell to some degree if that turns out to be true. You would have to guess he proved during his interview that being out the game doesn’t mean you can’t be up on everything in the game.
I also would suspect that some of the basics and key components about talent evaluation, making trades, signing players and and building a solid farm system are the same today as they were when he turned Montreal and Boston into winning teams.
He didn’t show up for his interview and say, “Oh, look, the Yankees have someone named Cano at second base. Didn’t Horace Clark play there many years ago?” (The younger fans can look him up).
No doubt Duquette has kept up with the game, its key brass, and the latest trends and happenings. I will be very curious to see his hires for the front office and for the minor league staff.
How will he work with Showalter and will that relationship be as smooth as it likely needs to be for this team to have future success?
Duquette can present a resume that has a lot of wins on it. In his two full seasons running the Expos, Montreal went 87-75 and 94-68, finishing second both times, with a winning percentage of .559.
His combined record over eight years in Boston, from 1994 through 2002, was 656-574 for a winning percent of .533. Of his 10 full seasons running those two clubs, he had eight winning records to include a first-place finish (Boston in 1995), six second-place finishes and three playoff berths.
He gets some of the credit for the building the 2004 Red Sox, a team that won the World Series.
He moved pretty fast in the game. He got his start with Milwaukee in 1980 as a scouting assistant, and by 1987, he became Montreal’s farm director. Four years later, Duquette was Montreal’s GM and he became Boston’s GM in1994.
He has been there and done that twice already. Can he make it a threepeat in Baltimore?
Updated: MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reported a few moments ago that the Orioles and Duquette have agreed to terms.