Photo: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
It’s a shame that the offseason after the Orioles won their first divisional championship in 17 years has been dominated by storylines about the G.M. leaving. It’s also a shame that the architect of last season’s roster could soon be working for the team’s biggest rival in the following season. It’s a shame, but that’s where we are right now. How we got here is hard to figure out.
However, now that this is the position the Orioles have found themselves in it’s time to pull the trigger and move Duquette, and give the Orioles a decent chance to save the last remaining days of the offseason. From the various reports, it looks as though the deal is inevitable. The only holdup now seems to be what compensation the Orioles should get in return for sending Duquette to Toronto.
Many reports have stated that the Orioles are seeking a top prospect or two for compensation. Any prospect considered among the elite in baseball would be a welcome addition to any farm system, and in return for a G.M. would be a spectacular return. Adding for the future could be good move specifically for the Orioles given their roster uncertainties after this season.
However, if the Orioles wanted to go with a more “win now” attitude they could try to get more creative. Apart from the fury of Duquette updates, the other news out of Orioles camp is their desire to sign a corner outfielder to replace the recently departed production of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. The Orioles could use the Duquette deal with the Blue Jays to fill that need.
Because it’s unlikely Toronto would be willing to give up one of their established bats within the division, an ideal situation for the Orioles could be able to work in a third team. For example, the Orioles could bring the Cincinnati Reds into the discussion and work out a deal that would send the Jays would receive Duquette, a package of prospects could be sent to Cincinnati, and the Orioles could receive slugger Jay Bruce. In this scenario the Orioles would get an established former all-star without having to weaken their farm system.
The perfect scenario, however, would be if a similar move could be made while also unloading Ubaldo Jimenez to Toronto. That scenario is highly unlikely, but what poetic justice would it be to force Dan Duquette to carry his worst roster decision as an Orioles to his new job with a division rival. Again, it’s probably as unlikely as the Patriots being disqualified from the Super Bowl and the Ravens somehow finding their way in, but it won’t stop people around Baltimore from keeping their fingers crossed.
Whatever happens needs to happen this week. The Orioles cannot get another week closer to spring training with this much uncertainty surrounding its management. It’s impossible for the organization to move forward with potential moves and roster decisions when it’s unclear to everyone who’s supposed to be making those decisions.