Multiple media sources have Dan Duquette, formerly the GM of the Red Sox, as the choice to replace Andy MacPhail as our next president of baseball operations (GM). Is he the right guy?
Apparently Tony LaCava turned the job down because Peter Angelos would not give him the authority to make front office personnel changes he thought necessary. Will Duquette have to work with the same handicap?
Certainly he has solid experience in scouting and player development, and previous experience as a GM. Here is a brief overview of each critical area of responsibility:
Duquette ran the Expo farm system back when they were one of the most productive in baseball. How much of this can be attributed to him is open to discussion as the quality of the prospects brought into the system as well as the quality and number of coaches and instructors working with those players have a lot to do with the final results.
Of course, Duquette chose or retained those coaches and instructors so you have to think he had a clue about doing things right. I believe this area will IMPROVE under Duquette.
Duquette has experience in Latin America and Asia. This is an area that the Orioles have woefully neglected in the past. I believe this area will IMPROVE under Duquette.
Scouting is done by a small army of dedicated and grossly underpaid professionals that have a lot more to do with the success of an organization than most fans understand. Duquette has experience here both domestic and international. He has also made some exceptional trades so he must actually listen to his scouts. The Orioles need to build a scouting network comparable to the Blue Jays. Let's hope Duquette will do that.
MacPhail presided over good drafts that could have been better if he would been allowed to invest more. I believe this area will IMPROVE under Duquette.
Duqette's record is very good. He acquired Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek for Heathcliffe Slocum as well as Pedro Martinez twice. That indicates he recognizes talent when he sees it or that he listens to his scouts. Regardless, he has improved his team with solid trades without giving up a lot in exchange.
This is the one area that most fans would have to give Andy MacPhail a solid grade in. His trades for Adam Jones, Luke Scott, Mark Reynolds, and JJ Hardy did not cost the team anything it couldn't afford to lose.
Duquette had a much bigger budget to work with in Boston. That may account for his ability to sign Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Regardless, he chose players that could make a difference and got the deals done. Perhaps Duquette's reputation will give the Orioles enough additional credibility to add a Mark Buerlhe this winter.
Even with the budget limitations that MacPhail had to work with his signings did not go well. I believe this area will IMPROVE under Duquette.
Working With Peter Angelos
Sigh! This should not be an issue in predicting how successful a GM will be but it is in Baltimore. Andy MacPhail was able to get Angelos to modestly increase the draft budget and make a small investment in the off shore market. You would hope that Mr. Angelos would give Duquette broad authority to hire and fire as well as make the improvements and changes he sees fit; however, the LaCava debacle of just a week ago brings into question how much of a hindrance Peter Angelos will be.
Orioles' fans will have to hope that Dan Duquette was clear to Peter Angelos that he would have to trust Duqette to run the team as he saw fit during the contract negotiations, and Angelos agreed, or this could be another disappointing three year period.
This is a "no lose" proposition for Dan Duqette. If he is successful he'll be a genius. If he fails most of baseball will give him a pass because of Angelos. I believe he will improve the team if Angelos gives him a reasonable budget and gets out of his way.