Duquette on staffing, free agency and the minors

After his press conference today, new Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was asked about staffing and the makeup of his front office.

“I staff my office or my team from strength. I try to put the people that are strong in one area, in that area. I try to pair up the person’s passion with their strength. Once I decide what people are good at and passionate about, then I assign titles. It’s not really about the titles to me. It’s about pairing up skills with passion. That is what I am trying to do here,” Duquette said.

Along those lines, there are plenty of people that have already inquired about joining him here.

“I got about 150 emails on Saturday and another 130 yesterday,” Duquette said. “Whenever there is change, people know there is opportunity, right? There are some good baseball people that I worked with along the way that are interested in joining the team. I’ll have to filter through that the next couple of days.

“But we do have a number of spots open both scouting and minor league and I am working with (manager) Buck (Showalter) to fill spots on the major league club and also international scouting. I’m impressed by the group of people that have expressed an interest in coming here.”

Duquette said he felt like he would add a number of staff by the winter meetings. By the way, he said Matt Klentak from the front office would join him at next week’s general manager’s meetings.

Duquette was asked about his strategy in approaching free agents.

“I can’t tell you what our strategy is going to be for the major league free agent market,” he said. “I can tell you that I like to build up my inventory in the minor leagues so you have some core players in your operation. I think that gives you a much stronger operation if you build it from the ground up. That gives you a better opportunity to mitigate the risk that is out there in the major league free agent market.

“A lot of teams spent a lot of money on those major league acquisitions and didn’t get the kind of production they are looking for. Here in Baltimore we have to work smarter to invest our money, so that we getter better bang for our buck. We have to work smarter. But I’ve got the people I can surround myself with to give us a chance to do that.”

Duquette said he had several conversations with team officials last week and then came in for a seven-hour interview on Friday.

“I made a presentation on how I could differentiate myself from the other candidates,” Duquette said. “Really that came down to successfully building a small-market and a major market baseball operation.”

He was asked his opinion on the Orioles minor leagues.

“As far as the depth of the organization, I know we need to upgrade and improve our pitching depth. You could say that about any team, but you’ll hear me say that a lot about this ballclub. It’s about the pitching and pitching and that is where we will focus a lot of our time and energy,” Duquette said.

“I believe you have to be active in several talent markets to field a competitive and winning team and we will be active in several of those markets.”

When asked how his style might be different here than it was in Boston, Duquette said, “I’m going to be kinder and friendlier.”

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