Duquette, Showalter sign extensions through 2018 (with Buck quotes added)

The Orioles announced contract extensions through the 2018 season for executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter on Wednesday evening.

They will hold a 10 a.m. press conference with the duo at Camden Yards on Thursday.

The pair led the Orioles to a 24-win improvement in 2012, as the team went from 69-93 to 93-69 and posted its most wins and first playoff berth since 1997. From Aug. 1 to the end of the regular season, the Orioles went 38-20 and their .655 win percentage was the best in baseball. They did this without a single player who recorded more than 85 RBIs, without a .300 hitter and with just one 10-game winner.

While a Showalter extension was expected, the news about Duquette comes as a surprise in that there had not been any reports about his deal getting extended.

But Duquette made several acquisitions that played key roles in leading the Orioles back to the playoffs, including the additions of Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Nate McLouth. The Orioles advanced to the American League Division Series, where they lost in five games to the Yankees in October.

Three of Duquette’s eight Boston teams made the playoffs when he was the Red Sox’s GM. He helped lay the foundation for their 2004 world championship team.

Duquette spent six seasons with the Montreal Expos, including a two-year stint as general manager from 1992-93. Duquette was instrumental in assembling Expos teams that compiled a 255-183 record, best in baseball, from 1992-94 despite one of the lowest payrolls in the game.

Showalter became the 17th full-time manager of the Orioles on Aug. 2, 2010, and has led the club to a 196-185 record in 381 regular season games. On May 1, 2012, he became the 58th manager in major league history to win 1,000 games when the Orioles defeated the Yankees. He enters the 2013 season ranked 49th all-time with 1,078 wins, sixth among active managers.

While the Orioles made a 24-win improvement in his second full season, Showalter previously led Texas to an 18-win gain in 2004, Arizona to a 35-win improvement in 1999 and the Yankees to a gain of 12 wins in 1993.

This was quite an announcement for the franchise, as the two men that led them back to the playoffs for the first time since 1997 will be together leading this club for at least the next six seasons.

Update: Showalter was a guest tonight on MASN’s “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” and made a few comments about today’s news.

“Obviously I’m very honored in the confidence,” Showalter said. “It’s something you don’t take very lightly and we’ve got a lot of bridges to cross. I’m excited for Dan. I hope our fans can look back on this positively, but that’s up to us and the players.

“Mr. Angelos approached me about this and initiated it. I told him I have a contract and I’m perfectly happy with it. I let him know I wasn’t going anywhere else and that I was happy here. The actual contract and years and whatever was pretty easy. It was just a matter of us getting together (to discuss it).”

Showalter was asked about the extensions coming for both him and Duquette.

“I think if you look at one common denominator in baseball, there is a direct correlation between the manager and general manager. It’s a team,” he said. “It’s something I’m comfortable with, Dan is comfortable with. Dan has strengths that I don’t have and I like to think I bring some things. It’s a good complement. I like the idea there will be some continuity and consistency. Everyone is going to know who to blame and I’m OK with that.”

Showalter told co-host Roch Kubatko it wasn’t hard to commit to the team and the city.

“I kind of grew up in this (type) environment,” Showalter said. “The people are smart, they are very sincere about their sports and have a real sincere love for the Orioles and Ravens. I like the looks in our fans’ faces. The hunger not just to be good for one year. Let’s do something in a fashion everyone can be proud of. I really feel comfortable here and as I get older in my life, those things are important to me.”

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