Duquette can’t and won’t leave O’s


Aug 27, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Baltimore Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette prior to a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette cannot leave Baltimore. For the Orioles’ sake, and for the sake of MLB.

Reports surfaced late Sunday afternoon that the Toronto Blue Jays will be searching for a replacement for longtime CEO Paul Beeston, and that Duquette is on a shortlist of potential replacements.

Duquette is under contract through 2018 and cannot, by rule, negotiate for positions outside of the Orioles organization without the consent of owner Peter Angelos.

The rumor is the latest dagger to Orioles fans this winter, as they have already lost key components from their 2014 Division Champion roster in Nick Markakis (Atlanta Braves), Nelson Cruz (Seattle Mariners), and Andrew Miller (New York Yankees).

Sources have reported interest on both sides regarding the position, as it would be a promotion for Duquette from his current position. However, the only way it could happen is if the Orioles give him permission, which Angelos already said he will not.

The development of this story ultimately stops at the feet of Angelos. He decides the fate of Orioles personnel under contract. Despite his control over the situation, the news may still be bothersome for Orioles fans.

The reports that Duquette is intrigued by the opportunity  paints a picture of a prized Orioles executive who would rather be somewhere else (let alone a division rival). After leading the Orioles to three straight winning seasons after 15 straight losing seasons, it would be hard to watch the 2014 Executive of the Year bolt to a rival.

Aside from the fan perspective, it also would paint a very gloomy picture about the business of baseball.

What is a contract if it is only as binding as the opportunities available? The Orioles gave a former MLB executive the chance to prove he still had what it took to build a winner, locked him up, and should not have to worry about other opportunities on the market.

Executives and the players they sign are no different in their contractual obligations. If another team is interested in Adam Jones’ services, can they get him to jump ship while under contract and sign with them?

Additionally, the fact that Duquette allowed Cruz, Markakis, and Miller to walk would raise suspicion of collusion. A GM who allows three of his team’s best players to leave the organization, and then signs with that team’s direct competition (regardless if that was his intent, which is unlikely).

It is for those reasons that I do not see this scenario playing out. Duquette may be enticed by the opportunity to be the CEO of the Blue Jays (many executives in his shoes would be), but the contract he signed with the Orioles stops that dream dead in its tracks.