Orioles will remain in good hands

What I am about to write is in no way intended to diminish Dan Duquette’s impact on the Orioles since they hired him in November 2011 as executive vice president of baseball operations.

Duquette has played a significant role in the club’s three consecutive winning seasons and two playoff berths. He’s become the master of the depth move and has a knack for plugging holes. His commitment to the international market, though tamed by the franchise’s reluctance to spend on big-ticket items, is admirable. And let’s not overlook the contract extensions given to center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy.

The man suddenly has become a hot commodity, with the Blue Jays putting on the full-court press to hire him as president and CEO.

The expectation was that Duquette would fulfill the last four years of his contract and soak up more champagne in his Orioles hoodie, but circumstances have changed. So has fan opinion, with many of them tweeting that he shouldn’t let the door hit him on the way out.

It’s unfortunate that the perception of Duquette is changing along with those circumstances.

If compensation can be agreed upon, and it appears more likely now, the Orioles will remain in good hands. No need to panic.

Buck-Showalter-dugout-railing.jpgManager Buck Showalter didn’t just stand around and watch the reversal of a losing culture in Baltimore. He brought instant credibility to the franchise and he’s still here.

Showalter does more than direct traffic in the dugout. No one in baseball outworks him. No one commands more respect inside the clubhouse. No one is more plugged in to every aspect of the operation.

Showalter already has a voice in personnel moves. It would just grow louder if Duquette is gone.

Again, I’m not rooting for Duquette’s departure, just a resolution to this mess. And fans need to understand that the Orioles won’t collapse if there’s a change in the front office.

Vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson wears more hats than anyone in the organization. As an example, he flew to Dallas for Scott Coolbaugh’s interview for the hitting coach position, ran the California portion of the minicamp and is giving final approval for the last hitting coach hire in the minors - whether it’s at Double-A Bowie or Single-A Frederick.

Director of baseball administration Tripp Norton and director of major league administration Ned Rice are behind-the-scenes guys who may not be recognizable to many fans, but they play integral roles in the success of the franchise. They were especially busy at the arbitration deadline and their plates could hold more if Duquette goes to Toronto.

The draft seems to be in good hands with director of scouting Gary Rajsich. Director of player development Brian Graham is so highly regarded that he also could take on greater responsibilities if Duquette leaves. Showalter has a tremendous amount of respect for Graham and views him as worthy of a GM title. Director of player personnel John Stockstill contributes to the depth moves by handling some of the minor league free agent negotiations and signings.

That’s just part of the roll call.

I’m wondering how Duquette’s departure would impact the people he brought into the organization. They must be wondering, as well.

I’m including special assistant Lee Thomas, executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira, director of minor league operations Kent Qualls, director of pitching development Rick Peterson, national crosschecker Matt Haas, national supervisor Danny Haas and director of Dominican baseball operations Nelson Norman.

That’s part of another roll call.

Shameless plug alert: I’m back in studio today for “Wall to Wall Baseball” from noon-2 p.m. on MASN.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate. We don’t do the show at my neighbor’s house. I actually have to drive all the way to Hunt Valley.

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