This has been a good place over the last few months to take the pulse of the fans on the Orioles. On the moves they made and the ones they didn't. On O's fans' expectations for this team and on the predictions of others.
Today, I want your opinions on the man heading it all up - Dan Duquette. Have O's fans become Duquette fans after his first season produced 93 wins and a playoff berth? What did you think when he was first hired? What do you think of him after an offseason that has been widely criticized for its lack of major activity?
I would think it is safe to say Duquette gained plenty of props from the fans with last season's performances by him and the team. He was aggressive in constantly pursuing upgrades for the team with a constant stream of roster moves. It seemed to cement a sense of urgency and accountability by the players that was already being fostered by manager Buck Showalter.
But whatever goodwill Duquette has earned from the fans probably has a shelf life and won't last forever pending what the 2013 Orioles do. If the club gets off to a slow start, you know the chorus of fans saying, "See, I knew they didn't do enough this winter" will grow louder and louder.
It seems a lot of factions - from media, other clubs and fans - are ready to pounce. They can't wait to say last year was a fluke and the Orioles are not ready for prime time. We've certainly heard the "things really broke right last year" theories, although there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.
Some fans have asked about the relationship between Duquette and Showalter. While there was never any indication of any issues there, when they both signed contract extensions through 2018, it assured they would continue to be the dual leaders of the franchise for the foreseeable future. Can't imagine either would have signed on to work together with the other for such a long time if there were any issues there.
Meanwhile, when it comes down to how much money the Orioles didn't spend this winter, the fans' sentiment seems to fall into one of two categories. One thought is that they missed a chance to improve the team and build on last year's momentum. Another thought is from a group that felt the club would have had to overpay for the top free agents and the price just wasn't worth it this year.
There seem to be a variety of opinions from a variety of fans. I look forward to hearing from many of you today. What is your take on the job Duquette has done and did he do the right thing with his approach this winter?