SHOULD the Baltimore Orioles let Dan Duquette go to Toronto?


With all the talk in the latter part of the week about Toronto trying to take Dan Duquette as their President and CEO, let’s look at it from the opposite perspective for just a moment. When I say that, I mean…are the Baltimore Orioles “in the wrong?” Let me preface this by saying that my personal opinion is that they are not. But as we know, there are always two sides to every story.

Courtesy of Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE

Readers love it when I talk in print or on twitter about baseball’s unwritten codes. And in this case that’s partially what we’re dealing with. The rule of thumb in baseball and in most sports is that if another team approaches you about interviewing one of your people, you’re supposed to say yes – IF in fact the position is a promotion. Duquette’s title in Baltimore is Vice-President of Baseball Operations. His title in Toronto would be President and CEO. Now while the duties in fact are different, I would submit that their front office is simply structured differently than that of the Orioles. However on paper at the very least, it fulfills the description of a promotion.

So on this basis, one could very well argue that the Orioles are wrong, or at the very least in violation of an unwritten rule of the game so to speak in denying them the right to speak with Duquette. Now having said that, I want to go back to the Orioles’ perspective once more. One thing that frosts me about society these days is that context seems to be more and more removed from any situation. It seems to either have to be black or white. In some cases that’s how things should be. But in this particular case there’s also some context that needs to be applied.

First off, it’s seemingly rare that a team would be this hot on the trail of the GM of a division rival. The most high-profile trade involving a GM of late has been Theo Epstein going from Boston to the Cubs in exchange for Chris Carpenter. But again…context needs to be applied. Boston was done with Epstein, and had they fired him he would have been paid out for one year on his contract. The Orioles still very much want Duquette, and he currently has four years remaining on his deal.

But let’s take the context a step further; another little tidbit that resembles an unwritten code is that most teams seem to make their front office changes in the immediate aftermath of the season – meaning October. News of this first leaked in December just prior to the winter meetings. That’s of course a sensitive time for MLB teams, and it came off as chippy to say the least (on the part of Toronto). At the time, Orioles owner Peter Angelos said that Duquette was expected to fulfill the end of his contract, and that furthermore he hadn’t been contacted by Toronto to inquire about Duquette.

Angelos said the same thing this week, however he did admit that now he’s received a formal request to speak with Duquette. If the winter meetings are a sensitive time for MLB teams, January is even more so. Thus from the Orioles’ perspective, for Toronto to hide behind the unwritten rule on promotions and so forth while they’re in turn making the Orioles’ lives miserable comes off as pretty chippy. However the fact remains that Toronto’s job description does fulfill the requirement of a promotion.

Don’t think that I personally believe that or take that side. My personal opinion is that the Orioles should deny the request by Toronto on business principles. Toronto has seemingly gone out of their way to create a fiasco that previously didn’t exist within the Orioles’ front office. Part of that is the timing, and again for that reason alone I think that the O’s should turn them down. That is UNLESS Toronto’s willing to part with a top prospect and/or some quality big league talent. People might look at that comment and suggest that the O’s would be squeezing Toronto by doing that. However as I’ve said before, the Orioles hold the cards in this case.