If O’s, Jays do talk Duquette compensation, Birds should aim high

For now, Dan Duquette is the executive vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles and managing partner Peter G. Angelos told MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko last night that he will continue to be.

Duquette is under contract through 2018 and Angelos denied reports that the Orioles and Blue Jays have begun negotiating a compensation package that would allow him to leave to become president/CEO of the Blue Jays.

This is the story that doesn’t seem to go away. Duquette did not put an end to it at the Winter Meetings and has not since then. He may have several good reasons for not doing so, one of which may be that he truly wants that job.

duquette-showalter-talking-sidebar.jpgIt is the highest position under ownership with any club and there are only a few in the game who hold such a position. Who could blame Duquette for having interest? After all, it surely would come with a huge bump in pay and be very prestigious. At one time, Duquette and the Orioles were being ridiculed by some for his hiring. Now look at the opportunity that may be out there for him.

Since Duquette arrived in November 2011, the Orioles have gone 93-69, 85-77 and 96-66 with a division title and two playoff appearances.

Not bad for a franchise that had 14 straight losing seasons. By the way, this is the club’s first stretch of three straight winning seasons since 1992-94. There is plenty of praise to go around for that. Buck Showalter certainly deserves massive credit and the players do, too. All of the front office does, including the player development department as well. This has been far from a one-man operation. But Duquette should also get his fair share.

But if you have doubts that we have heard the last of this story, I am right there with you.

So for a minute let’s speculate that the Orioles and Blue Jays will at some point have discussions on compensation for Duquette. If and when that happens, I think the Orioles should aim high. Very high.

When Theo Epstein left the Red Sox and went to the Cubs as president of baseball operations in October 2011, the Red Sox got reliever Chris Carpenter, a 26-year-old right-hander with promise, but not a top prospect.

A Cubs third-round pick in 2008, Carpenter was ranked by Baseball America as the Cubs’ No. 13 prospect at the time of the deal, which later included the Sox and Cubs swapping minor leaguers.

Carpenter pitched just six innings with the Red Sox at the big league level with an ERA of 9.00 and was released on Dec. 17, 2013.

That sure doesn’t look like very fair compensation now for losing Epstein and some are using that transaction to speculate about potential compensation for Duquette.

The Orioles should be aiming much higher than that. First of all, Duquette would be going to a division rival and not switching leagues as Epstein did. Also, Duquette has four years remaining on his contract and Epstein had one year left when he went to the Cubs. I see a big difference here.

Because the Red Sox made a poor deal doesn’t mean the Orioles have to repeat history.

What would be fair potential compensation if it comes to that? I’m thinking at least two of their higher-rated pitching prospects or at least one established big leaguer. Maybe the Orioles should shoot even higher than that.

ESPN’s Buster Olney thinks the O’s should aim high as well. In this article from December (insider subscription required) he wrote:

“So Angelos would be well within his rights to ask for extraordinary compensation, and for the sake of the Orioles’ organization, he should consider all possibilities. He should at least ask the Jays’ ownership for a couple of the Jays’ best prospects in return for Duquette.”

Then Olney wrote the Orioles should pursue one or two of these players:

“Marcus Stroman, the Jays’ highly touted young pitcher who had a 3.65 ERA in 26 games last season; Aaron Sanchez, a relief pitcher who allowed just 14 hits in his first 33 innings in the big leagues last summer; Daniel Norris, a left-hander who advanced from Class A to the big leagues; Jeff Hoffman, the Jays’ first-round pick in 2014; Max Pentecost, a 21-year-old catcher; or Richard Urena, a 19-year-old shortstop.”

How do the Orioles not hold all the cards here?

They do not have to even let Duquette talk with Toronto much less let him out of his contract. So aiming high in any future negotiations should be a no-brainer. If Toronto really wants him, they’ll have to part with some talent.

Meanwhile, this situation has to be somewhat distracting for the O’s front office right now. While I see absolutely no reason to question Duquette’s professionalism and ability to work tirelessly for the club as he has since the day he got here, this is now twice in five weeks that Angelos had to come out and proclaim that Duquette is not leaving.

Maybe this story will fade away now, but I doubt it.

And if it does turn out in the end that the Orioles allow an executive with such a strong record and four years remaining on his deal go to a direct competitor, that competitor should pay a big price.

Radio interview on 105.7 The Fan: Before Angelos’ comments yesterday about Duquette, I talked about the situation on The Scott Garceau Show on the Orioles’ new flagship radio station, 105.7 The Fan. Click here to listen.

blog comments powered by Disqus