TAMPA - The Winter Meetings last month in San Diego began with reports that the Blue Jays wanted to hire Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette as their president/CEO. The minicamp this week in Sarasota concluded today with reports that the Jays were nearing a deal to acquire Duquette.
This story needs to reach its conclusion.
The Orioles and Jays have discussed compensation, as FOXSports.com confirmed this afternooon. You can be certain that the Orioles have studied Toronto’s farm system, 40-man roster and placement in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. They’ve done the necessary homework, just in case.
You also can be certain that there’s a segment of the organization that believes the deal needs to be completed.
Duquette, whose contract runs through 2018, is putting in the necessary work as he attempts to build the 25-man roster and improve the depth at various positions. He discussed a potential trade with Showalter this week, and it didn’t involve him. However, a perception exists that Duquette’s interest in the Jays’ job, with its more prestigious title and significant pay raise, creates an awkward situation if he stays in Baltimore.
No matter how much Duquette would insist that he’s all in with the Orioles, there will always be some doubters, fair or unfair. He hasn’t left, but there may be no turning back.
When I spoke last month with managing partner Peter G. Angelos, he stated that he fully expected Duquette to remain in the organization in his present capacity and had no intention of losing him to the Jays.
“We’re not relinquishing him, period,” Angelos said. “He’s signed for four more years and we’re delighted by the team’s performance. We intend for him to remain for the next four years. We’re satisfied with him, obviously.
“We’re pleased with the performance of Dan as our GM and last season’s performance by the club illustrates that clearly. There’s no reason we’d be willing to transfer his presence to any other ballclub. He’s received two awards for the excellent job he’s performed in 2014. As far as the Orioles are concerned, he’s our GM and we expect him to remain for the four years remaining on his contract. And very likely for additional years once that contract has expired.
“It’s been a pleasure working with him.”
The fact that the teams are discussing compensation would seem to indicate that Angelos has softened that stance.
I’m curious as to which member of the Orioles organization is most involved in those negotiations. It can’t be Duquette. Talk about awkward.
As for potential in-house candidates should Duquette leave, don’t overlook director of player development Brian Graham, who served in an interim capacity in Pittsburgh.
Showalter already offers a strong voice in personnel decisions and it wouldn’t be muted after a front office shakeup.
I’m getting ready to board my flight home. I’ll check after landing whether Duquette is still the Orioles’ executive vice president.
The Orioles should be compensated if Duquette goes to a division rival. They’re not obligated to let him leave despite the promotion. But do they really have a choice?
Update: I reached Angelos on the phone and he denied that the teams are in negotiations.
“I have said previously and I will say it again, Dan is a sophisticated professional and he understands his contract has four remaining years to serve as general manager of the Orioles, and he is expected to perform under that contract,” Angelos said. “There are no negotiations. Those reports are false.”
I had to cut the conversation short because my flight is taking off, but you get the idea.