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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Diner Question: Should Dan Duquette continue as Orioles’ top baseball man? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

With the muddled set-up at the top, it’s tough to evaluate Duquette the last few years. From his track record, though, I’d be inclined to still grade him out as an above-average GM.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 02, 2018 at 09:07 AM | 22 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dan duquette, orioles

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2018 at 09:19 AM (#5719512)
no
   2. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 02, 2018 at 09:30 AM (#5719524)
I can't possibly imagine what would make anyone think he should still be the GM there. Jim is right that ownership and the organizational structure are a mess but at best if they don't trust him to be in charge he shouldn't be making decisions.

On top of that it's not like they've made much in the way of good decisions in recent years. Not only is the big league club a disaster but the farm system looks weak. If I were running the Orioles I'd clean house. Basically the entire coaching staff, Showalter and the front office would all get the boot.
   3. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 02, 2018 at 09:34 AM (#5719528)
I thought the question in 2018 was "Should Brady Anderson continue as Orioles' top baseball man?"
   4. asinwreck Posted: August 02, 2018 at 12:37 PM (#5719652)
Which person is the titular head of baseball operations isn't the question. Will ownership commit to staffing international scouting and development and analytics so the team can compete for talent on a level playing field? That's the question.
   5. Bote Man Posted: August 02, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5719730)
I'd be curious how much involvement Darth Vader a.k.a. Peter Angelos still has in the baseball operations. There is an ownership group so he's not the only one with money at stake, but he has always been the most visible of the owners since he has the largest stake in the ownership of the team. He can't be long for this world.
   6. NattyBoh Posted: August 02, 2018 at 07:52 PM (#5719983)
He constructed an Opening Day roster that featured three Rule V players and four from Norfolk. No one can field. No one will take ball four nor hit for average. They're slow. The pitching is bad.
   7. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2018 at 07:55 PM (#5719987)
and such small portions!
   8. donlock Posted: August 02, 2018 at 08:57 PM (#5720034)
Not sure how firing the entire front office helps anything. If the O's hire a new GM, he will want his own people in key jobs. Are there many well qualified scouts and baseball executives who would leave their current positions (and move their families) to come to be an under-staffer in Baltimore (when the last group was canned after only two bad years?)

Would the Angelos people agree to eat all the dead contract money? Is there really no one in Baltimore scouting or executive level jobs who is competent? Someone aided in getting the team into the playoffs and achieving winning records up to two years ago.

My recommendation: rehire DD/ get a new person. Give him some time to look at the front office and scouting and make some staffing decisions. Hand him a decent player budget, money to recruit scouts and staffers and some authority and ....stay out of the way. Reevaluate in 2-3 years. Repeat as needed.
   9. shoelesjoe Posted: August 02, 2018 at 11:48 PM (#5720118)
I doubt very much DD is responsible for the current state of the team. With Anderson, Showalter, and Duquette all being given overlapping responsibilities it was inevitable that there would be disfunction and conflicting agendas. Just reading between the lines you can see the following: Showalter wanted Chris Davis resigned, Duquette didn’t. Anderson wanted Tillman resigned, Duquette didn’t. Duquette wanted to extend Machado a while ago, Angelos didn’t. Duquette wanted money and resources put into the Latin American market, Angelos didn’t. Also, Showalter’s loyalty to “his guys” over most everything else probably reduced whatever power Duquette might have had when putting together the roster. What’s the point of promoting a genuine CF or catcher from AAA if Buck is never going to put them in the games?

I’m sure Duquette hasn’t been perfect (who is?), but it appears at this point that a lot of the decisions that caused long term damage to the organization were imposed on him by Peter Angelos, and those who had Angelos’ ear. Now that it looks like the sons have taken control we see less three-headed monster mashing and more of the focused decision making that typifies MLB front offices. The deadline trades of Machado, Britton, Schoop, and Gausman were clearly all Duquette’s doing w/o interference from the usual suspects. Unless the sons have somebody in mind who they know is better why not let him continue the rebuild?
   10. villageidiom Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:40 AM (#5720156)
I doubt very much DD is responsible for the current state of the team.
Then he shouldn't be in the job.

Showalter's a darn good manager. If Duquette as GM can't get on the same page as a good manager - either by listening when Buck has a point, or by convincing Buck that Duquette's point is right - then Duquette should go. In Boston Duquette excelled at finding good players, but that was back when many GMs were not good at it; this isn't a singular strong suit of his now. But he still sucks at what he sucked at then, which is the interpersonal stuff. He'd just decide he was right and not concern himself that his manager disagreed. Getting everyone on the same page is part of the GM job, and he sucked at it.

What you're describing here - the overlapping responsibilities, etc. - is a situation that demands teamwork. It demands everyone ultimately being on the same page. Even if people don't truly agree on something they still need to be pulling in the same direction on the metaphorical rope. This is not something to be taken for granted. And it's Duquette's fatal flaw as GM. Again.
   11. Jose is an Absurd Force of Nature Posted: August 03, 2018 at 08:50 AM (#5720160)
Showalter's a darn good manager.


While I agree with this I wonder if he has reached a point where the Orioles should move on from him. One of the many many many issues around this team this year is the number of players having bad years. I don't know how much or how little of that to assign to the manager but the manager's job IS to get players playing their best and for whatever reason the Orioles are by and large not doing that. He's been there almost a decade now and I suspect the Orioles need a change there too.


I doubt very much DD is responsible for the current state of the team.


Then he shouldn't be in the job.

I very much agree with this. Whether or not he's at fault if the club doesn't want him making decisions he shouldn't be in that position. Like I said above, I'd clear out everyone down to the coaches.
   12. shoelesjoe Posted: August 03, 2018 at 09:24 AM (#5720170)
If the owner overrules the GM in favor of the manager’s wishes, or those of a conditioning coach, who’s at fault there? If the owner refuses to stipulate who is actually running the show is that the fault of the guy who should be running the show? The criticism of DD would be valid except it assumes that over the last few years he’s had more authority than what’s really been granted to him. Ever since the Toronto debacle where they tried to poach him from the Orioles Angelos had undercut Duquette to the point where he was pretty much a figurehead on a team being run by Anderson and Showalter. You can make the argument that under those conditions DD should have resigned, and I’d probably agree with you. But he didn’t quit, and my money is that come 2019 he’ll be really running things again and Showalter and Anderson will be out to pasture. As they should be.

PS — Buck isn’t nearly the great manager a lot of you think he is.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: August 03, 2018 at 09:35 AM (#5720175)
PS — Buck isn’t nearly the great manager a lot of you think he is.


I don't know about that, but I'm positive that he's not as great as he thinks he is.

While I think in general he's good, he's worn out his welcome everywhere he's been, and he's been in Baltimore longer than anywhere else.
   14. Sweatpants Posted: August 03, 2018 at 11:51 AM (#5720234)
What happened in Arizona? They dropped from 100 wins to 85 in 2000, and I know that team spent a lot of money on free agents, but did they really think they'd assembled a roster that was pretty much a guaranteed 90 wins? Had he lost the clubhouse?
   15. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 11:58 AM (#5720235)
If Duquette as GM can't get on the same page as a good manager - either by listening when Buck has a point, or by convincing Buck that Duquette's point is right - then Duquette should go.


I have an issue with the idea that if a manager wants to give an expensive long-term deal to a guy who seems likely to age as well as an unrefrigerated gallon of milk, and the manager isn't willing to listen to the GM as to why that's not a good plan, the blame for that lies primarily with the GM rather than the manager. That seems crazy.
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:02 PM (#5720236)
What happened in Arizona?
Not enough players with inward-pointing toes and high butts. Also, I think a couple players had freckles and light eyes.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 03, 2018 at 12:27 PM (#5720249)
If the O's hire a new GM, he will want his own people in key jobs. Are there many well qualified scouts and baseball executives who would leave their current positions (and move their families) to come to be an under-staffer in Baltimore (when the last group was canned after only two bad years?)

It's been reported for quite a while that many baseball people are reluctant to work for Angelos, it's something of a job of last resort. Showalter & Duquette were pretty good hires under those circumstances, and they exceeded expectation initially. One or both probably takes the blame for the Orioles current sorry state - ownership doesn't scapegoat itself - but new faces are unlikely to do much good if the old structure and decision making process remains.
   18. villageidiom Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:53 PM (#5720315)
If the owner overrules the GM in favor of the manager’s wishes, or those of a conditioning coach, who’s at fault there?
If the manager's wishes were the right idea, then the GM is at fault for having the wrong idea. If the manager's wishes were the wrong idea, then the GM is at fault for having failed to make his case (with both the owner and the manager) that his idea was better. In a teamwork environment fault lies with everyone on the team, but since we're talking about the GM* let's just focus on the GM. If personnel decisions are being made by the owner and the manager against the GM, then the GM is failing at the basic parts of his job, whether or not the GM's ideas are better.

His role is an executive role. It's a leadership role. Telling people to fall in line is not leadership. Trusting that people will simply fall in line is not leadership. It is his job to form the strategy, to get others to buy into it, and then to execute it, motivating the whole team around that strategy and that execution. If things aren't working, it's not on him to throw up his hands and say "guess I can't do anything about this". He has to advocate for change, and to do it well enough that the needed change happens. This is not** Dan Duquette. He's a nice guy, and a darn good evaluator of baseball talent. He is not a leader. He is what a guy in his mother's basement wishes a leader to be.

* Properly the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, but "GM" is so much faster to type.

** I can't say he's incapable of being this guy. But it's way out of his comfort zone, and his results with at least two teams suggests he's not interested in embracing that part of his role and learning to do it well.

The criticism of DD would be valid except it assumes that over the last few years he’s had more authority than what’s really been granted to him.
Don't know what you're talking about here. The foundation of my criticism is that he does not have full authority, and is incapable of operating well in an environment where he does not have full authority - where he has to build consensus to get what he wants.

It turns out the level of authority he needs to succeed is not a level of authority he's going to get. He's not going to get a manager who will simply do what Duquette tells him, because managers are human beings not robots. Same for the players, the coaches, the media. Duquette needs the authority of a puppet master to succeed. And that won't happen, even if Angelos decreed that All Must Follow The Duke.

Duquette is at his best when everyone gives him the benefit of the doubt, which is early in his tenure. We're long past that, and he not only no longer gets, but no longer deserves, the benefit of the doubt.

PS — Buck isn’t nearly the great manager a lot of you think he is.
Precisely how great of a manager do we think he is?
   19. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 03, 2018 at 01:56 PM (#5720319)
If personnel decisions are being made by the owner and the manager against the GM, then the GM is failing at the basic parts of his job, whether or not the GM's ideas are better.
This is the same "logic" that brought us "It was Obama's fault that he failed to persuade the Republicans to be bipartisan."
   20. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 03, 2018 at 02:03 PM (#5720330)

This is the same "logic" that brought us "It was Obama's fault that he failed to persuade the Republicans to be bipartisan."
Or to take it out of partisan politics -- don't be Andy! -- it's Lincoln's fault that the South seceded because, as president, he should have convinced them not to.
   21. Spahn Insane Posted: August 03, 2018 at 04:09 PM (#5720460)
Not sure the analogies quite work (for one thing, Showalter and Duquette are ostensibly on the same side). No, a GM can't be held responsible for everything the field manager does, but if a GM lacks the persuasiveness/consensus-building skills/whatever to get the manager on the same page on an ongoing basis, and if that works to the detriment of the team, seems to me that's a legitimate basis for criticizing the GM (and if the manager's too hard-headed to listen to non-crappy advice from the front office, that speaks poorly of him too). I don't follow the Orioles very closely, but I wonder if Duquette's apparently weak people skills make him a particularly poor fit for a team whose manager thinks he invented the game.
   22. villageidiom Posted: August 03, 2018 at 07:43 PM (#5720624)
This is the same "logic" that brought us "It was Obama's fault that he failed to persuade the Republicans to be bipartisan."
So you're saying he's completely blameless.
it's Lincoln's fault that the South seceded because, as president, he should have convinced them not to.
So you're saying he's completely blameless.

As I said, in a teamwork environment fault lies with everyone on the team. I'm not saying Duquette is the only one at fault, though it seems you think that's my logic. But he is failing at a significant part of his job, and failed at that part of his prior GM job. Yes, he is at fault. (I think it's improper to say "it's his fault" because that implies he alone is at fault, or even that he is mostly at fault.)

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