Lee Thomas on Duquette: “Some people missed the boat on him”

DALLAS - Dan Duquette and Lee Thomas are working together again. Thomas was hired today as a special assistant to the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations.

Most recently, Thomas worked as a pro scout for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2004-2006. Prior to that time, he worked for six seasons as special assistant to the general manager and assistant general manager for the Red Sox, working closely with Duquette the majority of those years.

Thomas was general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies from June 1988 to December 1997, leading the club to the 1993 World Series, when he was named baseball’s Executive of the Year.

“Of course, Lee built the Phillies in ‘93 and he’s from a terrific baseball town in St. Louis,” Duquette said today. “Lee is good at a lot of things I’m not so good at, so we are a real effective complement to one another. I’m absolutely thrilled he is here to help. He will particularly help us with communication with other clubs and on the trade market.”

Thomas said he has kept some tabs on the Orioles in recent years.

“I guess the last year or two I have, and especially since Buck (Showalter) came over and now even more since Dan came over. I don’t think people know how good Dan Duquette is. I really don’t. I think there is a lot of people out there that missed the boat on him. He and Buck, I think, are going to work great together and if Dan gets him the right players, I think you will see great things happen. I really do believe that,” Thomas said today at the Winter Meetings.

Just how does Thomas feel he will aid Duquette most?

“No. 1 is whatever he wants me to do. I can do a lot of things for him. I can do stuff that maybe he doesn’t have the time to do. I have no problem calling anybody to get things moving for him,” Thomas said.

The 75-year-old Thomas has been out of the game a few years and now he is back and reunited with Duquette.

“I’ve missed it,” Thomas said. “I really have. It was OK the first couple of years, I guess I’ve been out about four years. I really did miss it. I’d go to see the Cardinals once in a while, I was involved with one of their camps. I was bored and when (Duquette) called me, I told him I was bored.

“He and I always kind of kept in touch. As soon as I knew he was involved (with the Orioles), I was getting more excited. I felt like he was going to call me. I didn’t know he interviewed for the Angels job. Apparently he did pretty well there.”

Duquette pointed out that Thomas signed Johnny Damon for him when he was with Boston.

“That was one of the last contracts we did and Lee did that contract directly with Scott Boras. That scene in ‘Moneyball,’ where Boras said, ‘I just got off the phone with Dan,’ that’s not true’” Duquette said.

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