This time next week Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter, and the entire Baltimore Orioles’ contingent will settle upon Nashville, TN for the 2012 baseball winter meetings. If you flash back to 2011, Duquette attended the winter meetings about two weeks after being named the Orioles’ GM. This time around he has one year under his belt, and a very successful one at that. (Although after not even receiving a vote in the Executive of the Year race, I have to wonder if rival GM’s and baseball people might not ask “who’s that again?” amongst themselves when he walks into the room.) So the question is what’s on Duquette’s agenda going into the meetings?
Duquette would probably be vague and speak in riddles if you asked him what he planned on having for dinner tonight, which frustrates media and fans alike. However I have news for Orioles fans: give thanks for that! Would you prefer to have a GM that spills his guts and tells everyone exactly what he’s going to do? This is a totally different scenario, however I’m reminded of former Washington Redskins head coach (and later the QB coach of the Ravens) Jim Zorn. The media would ask him if he’d scripted the first 10-15 plays of any given game, and he’d say yes. Little by little they’d push and prod, and in some cases Zorn would come close to saying exactly what their game plan would be that coming Sunday. Pretty easy for opponents to figure out, isn’t it?
Speaking for myself, I’d be surprised if Duquette pulls of any major signings or trades at the winter meetings this year. However I would expect that he’ll make it clear that the Orioles might be wiling to use certain guys as trade chips. We’ve heard the likes of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, et al, mentioned in that breath before. This is not to say that the Orioles can’t use those guys moving forward or that they want them out of the organization. In fact, in order to get something back of value you have to be willing to give up something of value. If Duquette didn’t value those guys, he’d be looking at getting some low to mid-level prospects back in return.
This is not to say that the O’s won’t do anything during the winter meetings, because I’m not sure that’s the case. Last year they traded for Dana Eveland and Taylor Teagarden surrounding the days of the meetings in Dallas. Neither player was a major performer for the Orioles in 2012, however Teagarden did have some clutch RBI/HR’s late in games to provide dramatic wins. My point is that I’m saying I’d be surprised if they signed someone like Zach Greinke or traded for the likes of Chase Headley during the winter meetings. That’s just a gut feeling, however Duquette seems like the type of guy that’s going to see what options he has, weigh those options, and then very carefully act in a pin-pointed manner. So perhaps if the Orioles are going to make a big splash someplace, right after the winter meetings is when we should be looking. But who knows; this is all part of the hot stove period in baseball.