Now that Dan Duquette has joined the Orioles’ front office as executive vice president of baseball operations, he needs to decide how many changes will accompany his arrival.
It’s pretty clear that Duquette values the information coming from director of baseball operations Matt Klentak. Duquette made reference yesterday to some of the impressive young executives in the front office, and Klentak will join him in Milwaukee next week for the GM meetings.
“Matt is a bright kid,” Duquette said. “He’s got a good baseball background at Dartmouth and he’s got good experience here and the other clubs he was with, so I’m looking forward to working with Matt.”
In other words, Klentak is a nugget.
Duquette can get reacquainted with his baseball peers at the GM meetings. He’s been gone for a while, but he hasn’t been forgotten.
“The other clubs’ GMs, I’ve maintained a relationship with some and I’ll be able to reunite with others I haven’t seen,” he said. “It’s actually a great opportunity. Good timing.”
Duquette and manager Buck Showalter met a long time ago, but they hadn’t interacted much until recently.
“I met Buck in the Florida State League when I was farm director of the Expos and he was managing against Felipe (Alou). So, we reconnected heavily the last couple weeks,” Duquette said.
“The caliber of your manager is something that really attracted me. Buck has great interest and skill in building an organization. He did it in Arizona. And I’m looking forward to working with him. I love it. I love it that our major league manager is interested in what’s going on, not only in the minor leagues but international scouting. Believe me, there’s plenty of work for two guys to do here. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”
Duquette needs a scouting director, and he’ll look internally before venturing outside the organization.
Wayne Britton was the Red Sox’s scouting director from 1993-2000. He was named vice president of scouting in 2001 before being fired right after Duquette. He currently serves as a national crosschecker for the Reds.
I don’t think he’d be a consideration here. His work wasn’t graded favorably in Boston.
The Orioles actually contacted Britton in March 2002, right after he was fired, to gauge his interest in joining the organization as a special assistant to general manager Syd Thrift. The Yankees hired him later that month as their international and domestic scouting cross checker.
A few things jumped out of me from yesterday’s press conference, including Duquette’s frequent use of the word “your.”
He mentioned “your manager” and “your catcher” and “your center fielder.” He’s still making the adjustment to “our.” It won’t take long.
Duquette made frequent references to international scouting and alluded to upcoming hires. That’s music to the ears.
It’s another area where Duquette and Showalter are on the same page.
Duquette figures to have everyone in place by the start of the winter meetings.
“Your general hiring cycle, you try to get a lot of that done by November 1,” he said. “We missed that, so your next deadline really is the Winter Meetings. So between now and then you’ill see a number of people added to the Orioles organization.”
Duquette stood at the podium yesterday with a yellow notepad, flipping the pages during his speech. He came prepared. He wasn’t going to just wing it.
His comment about being “kinder and friendlier” since his days in Boston was met with a collective sigh of relief. He was viewed as quite the opposite while running the Red Sox, but that was a long time ago.
Duquette noted how much faster the media reacts to news since he left Boston. We joked that his statement already had been posted.
By the way, you can follow Duquette on Twitter (@danduquette). He tweeted the following last night:
“Thank you Orioles fans for your great reception Go O’s”