Could the Baltimore Orioles really squeeze Toronto?


Yesterday I re-broached the topic of Toronto being interetsed in Dan Duquette. I also teased what I wanted to write about today; and I always try to deliver when I can. First off, it’s telling that there were very few people who came out against the Baltimore Orioles and owner Peter Angelos when he (Angelos) said he wouldn’t let Toronto talk to Duquette.

Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I bring this up because right or not, Angelos isn’t the most popular guy in the world – in and/or out of Baltimore. Often times the invokation of his name is enough to cause an uproar somewhere. (Heck, even the NFL tried to capitalize on his unpopularity by trying to back him into a corner on a scheduling quirk,) Personally I supported Angelos saying that Toronto couldn’t talk to Duquette. However I also thought that it would have caused soe folks to say that the Orioles were being unreasonable – simply because it’s Angelos.

The fact that we didn’t hear anything of that sort should tell us a lot. My read is that most people in the baseball community felt that Toronto was out of line in doing what they did. The media (national and local) and fans have rarely passed up an opportunity to throw Angelos under the bus. Even in cases in which he’s in the right (such as the MASN dispute with the Washington Nationals), people tend to voice their opinions against him. So if people are siding with Angelos, it would stand to reason that Toronto might have been using some seedy methods.

That said, yesterday I also made reference to the posting fee that teams have to pay to the Japanese League in order to negotiate a deal with one of their playeres. Let’s say that at some point while Duquette is under contract, Toronto asks to speak with him. It could be now, or even after next season. It goes without saying that the Orioles would require compensation from Toronto for Duquette to go to Toronto. But could the O’s take a page out of the Japanese League’s page as well?

If I’m Angelos, I would see no reason to even allow Toronto to speak to Duquette for free. In the spirit of the posting fee, I’d tell Toronto that they’d be welcome to interview Duquette in exchange for a low-level prospect. Mind you, this would only be for the right to interview him. The Orioles would still have to release Duquette from his contract in order for Toronto to sign him. And for that they would still require compesation.

This sounds like a petty business practice. However keep in mind that Toronto never appeared to have any urge to abide by the system that’s in place for this type of thing. If you want to interview someone’s GM, it’s widely accepted that it should be done immediately following the season. This, as opposed to throwing a firebomb into the front office of a rival by leaking to the media that you’re interested in their GM the day before the winter meetings.

Again, this sounds fairly petty; especially considering that the league views the owners as partners. But first off I think that people who don’t play by the rules should be taught a lesson – and in a very public manner at that. However the results that Duquette has had in Baltimore speak for themselves. He’s pretty good at his job; so if someone else wants the services of a guy who’s under contract in Baltimore, they should have to pay a king’s ransom.

And that folks, is business. If you read Toronto message boards their fans claim that they don’t want Duquette if it means giving up a top level prospect. But the point here is that it shouldn’t come to that – yet. First you should have to give the O’s a low level prosect just for the priviledge of talking to Duquette. Then if the interview goes well, by the way you’re going to have to compensate them for taking their GM. An that should mean a higher level prospect.

People will point to the Theo Epstein deal and say that there weren’t any top level prospects exchanged. However the idea is that it should be on the Orioles’ terms, not Toronto’s. Remember Andy McPhail’s attitude?…how bad do you want Erik Bedard? The price is Adam Jones. That should be Angelos’ stance as well. Do you really want Duquette? Fine, pay us. People are free to say that’s mean or unfair, but in my view it’s good negotiating.