Maybe we could call it an exit media interview for the 2015 season for Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.
They took questions today from reporters for about 30 minutes at Camden Yards. It was time to wrap up another season, but mostly to take a look ahead to a very important offseason for the club.
Check Roch Kubatko’s blog for some quotes from Duquette, and I’ll provide some here from Showalter.
A reporter asked the pair about national reports of friction between them and if they have any issues working together.
“I like our body of work and we’ve had some help,” Showalter said. “It’s a great honor to manage the Baltimore Orioles and I don’t plan on doing anything else. I’ve told you all, this is my last rodeo. As long as they think I can be a contributor, this is what I want to do.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do this offseason. If you think this year is good enough, you haven’t been watching. Our fans should feel very comfortable with what is going to go on between now and first pitch next year. We’ve already started. The bar has been raised here.
“Dan and I share the same passion for the same things. That is for the fans and the Orioles. That is what this is about. We better disagree about some things and kick things around.
“I disagree with my coaches and they disagree with me. We have some great ones in there. Then we go out and have a cold beverage together. That is the least of our challenges. We have a healthy draw of opinions throughout our organization. We’ve already started. It’s time to go (work on next year).”
Informed by a reporter of a MASNSports.com story today in which Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos confirmed that both men would return to their same jobs next year, Showalter was then asked if he ever doubted that.
“I can’t speak for Dan, but I think you don’t approach it like that,” he said. “If you are worrying about the status of your job or your next job, you can’t do that job you have. That is easy for me to say at 59. I get that, too. But you bring what you bring and hope that it is coveted enough to pay the bills for another year.”
Showalter was asked why the pitching staff fell off this year, posting a team ERA of 4.05 to rank ninth in the American League. The 2014 staff had an ERA of 3.43, which was third in the AL. He agreed there was fall-off but said team issues didn’t all fall on the pitchers.
“I think just to throw a blanket around something (is not accurate),” he said. “We didn’t play well on the road this year. We weren’t any less prepared but that was very frustrating.
“We’ve got some work to do in the pitching department, but that’s not just it. We didn’t do some things well offensively for an extended period of time, especially on the road. Last year what happened a lot - we offset something that was missing that night. We didn’t pitch well that day, we scored a lot of runs. We didn’t score a lot, we pitched real well. You have to have that. We didn’t do that well.”
Duquette was asked about fans voicing opinions that they want pending free agent Chris Davis back, and Showalter shared his thoughts on the fans’ passion to retain the first baseman.
“You know there were times this year when people wouldn’t have felt that way. OK? Chris finished with a flurry, and it was fun to watch. But it’s an education for all of us. There’s an ebb and flow to everything. We’d like to have him, see what happens. But what are we going to do, pull the dirt in around us? We’re going to have a good, competitive team next year. You’re going to like some things,” Showalter said.
More from the skipper:
Did some young players get on your radar who were not previously?: “Not as many as we hoped. The last two or three weeks I would have liked to play some of our younger people more. But the schedule didn’t cooperate with who we were playing and we had to, from a from an integrity competitive-wise, put our best foot foward.
“I would have liked to see Dariel Alvarez more. But I think we got to see him in this environment. At his age, not that he is old, we’re going to kind of know what we have or don’t have, very quickly. I think he is going to have a big spring. There are some you don’t have to protect and you don’t want to bring them to the roster too quickly. But there are some good things happening.
“The big thing we’ve got to get going is the pitching part of it. Mike Wright did some really good things in Norfolk and Tyler (Wilson) and a guy like (Zach) Davies was good enough we were able to acquire a sought-after guy like (Gerardo) Parra. I could talk about 30 guys I have a close eye on down in the minor leagues. I think we are a lot better off there than people may think.”
On the coaches’ contracts for 2016: “We’ve been talking about it. We’d like to have them all back and they know that. Dan has talked to them and I’ve talked to them. They understand where they are and some have decisions to make. We have a good group that are coveted by other people. As a group, this is the best coaching staff I’ve been able to have. But there are things that come into play.”
How important is team chemistry?: “As people come and go in every organization, the consistency of that comes from the young people, the new people coming up that have been exposed to what you hope the culture is about. What provides the voice, the fact you might hit 40 home runs or what you are saying?
“We feel like if you are depending on one guy to be that guy all the time, you probably have the wrong group. We have a good strong group, and we have some people coming from below that are going to be part of that group. In a perfect world, we’d be a completely self-sustaining organization.”