Conclusion of the Orioles GM Saga: Dan Duquette
Orioles fans all over were impatiently awaiting the naming of the new general manager of the team. After a long and exhaustive interview process, spanning over a few weeks, the Orioles found their man. Dan Duquette, cousin of former Orioles executive, Jim Duquette, was officially announced as Andy MacPhail’s successor. Duquette signed a three year deal to try and rebuild a franchise going through some turbulent times. There is a thought most of you may be familiar with, that the past is a great indicator of the future. If that proves to be the case, Baltimore may be in line for a great future.
The story of Dan Duquette is simple. He was the former GM of Montreal (from 1991-1994) and the division rival Boston Red Sox (from 1994-2002). He has been out of baseball since 2002, after being dismissed by new Red Sox owner (at the time), John Henry. Like any other GM, Duquette has his detractors. Many people will simply say that since he is so out of touch with the sense of the game, it may be impossible for him to run a franchise in these times. Duquette is said to be well-connected in Latin America and has a talent for uncovering stars through scouting.
The process of his hiring seemed to come together rather quickly. After candidate Tony LaCava turned down the job, the Orioles scrambled to get permission to interview other options. Duquette, who was not even on the second list of candidates originally, interviewed on Friday. From there, the rest must have gone extremely well because an announcement came Saturday morning that he was coming back to Baltimore to sign the deal. While it was not officially announced until days following, there was a general consensus that he was “our guy”.
What some of you may not know about Dan Duquette, is that the two franchises that he presided over, were heavily loaded with current and future star players; not just through drafting, but via free agency and trades as well. In the strike-shortened season of 1994, the Montreal Expos team (that he built), had the best record in all of Major League Baseball. As Duquette started 1987, as the director of player development, the Expos drafted and signed great players, like Vladimir Guerrero, Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd, Javier Vasquez, Orlando Cabrera, and Rondell White. Once Duquette became GM, he acquired John Wetteland and Pedro Martinez, a relative unknown at the time.
Dan Duquette ended up leaving Montreal for his hometown Red Sox before the 1994 season began. Once he was entrenched in Boston, he drafted Nomar Garciaparra, a Red Sox icon, David Eckstein, Hanley Ramirez, Freddy Sanchez, and Kevin Youkilis. Duquette took heat for letting stars Roger “The Rocket” Clemens and Mo Vaughn depart through free agency. Boston fans may not have been thrilled, but they had no idea what awaited them. Dan Duquette acquired Tim Wakefield, Derek Lowe, Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez (AGAIN) through trades, signed Manny Ramirez (to a then record setting deal), and also signed free agent Johnny Damon. Even after Duquette was out of the organization, players he drafted were used in traded to gain more stars, such as Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett. Needless to say, Duquette had a HUGE part in engineering that 2004 World Series winning, curse ending, Boston Red Sox team.
Not to be repetitive, but if the past is the best indicator of the future, Orioles fans have a whole hell of a lot to look forward to. Duquette’s resume widely outweighs the fact that he’s been out of baseball for nine years. After the way 2011 ended, I am REALLY excited for this offeason, and the start of 2012. I have faith in Dan Duquette so let’s so what he can do O’s fans!! If anyone can turn this around, maybe it’s Duquette, version 2.0.