The 2015 Orioles season has long come and gone. A few words come to mind when thinking back on the season: Frustrating, unsettling, unfulfilling. Many national reports throughout the season stated that tensions have increased between Duquette and Orioles manager, Buck Showalter. As the Orioles head towards the offseason, the spotlight is put on VP of baseball operations, Dan Duquette.
As uncertainty lingers throughout the Baltimore Orioles organization, it may be time for Orioles fans to panic as prime players head towards the free agent market. Even though sources are reporting that Duquette’s top priority this offseason is to keep Davis, past offseasons have resulted in disappointment in the eyes of many. The quotes “We made an effort” or “We like the players we have now” are the typical explanations Duquette employ when explaining why the team didn’t sign a top free agent. Duquette always appears to approach offseasons with caution, perhaps a bit too much caution.
As Oriole nation awaits Duquette’s offseason moves, let’s assess the moves Duquette has made in past offseason with the Orioles.
Key Signings & Acquisitions:
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (Three-year contract)
RHP Darren O’Day (One-year contract)
OF Endy Chavez (One-year contract)
INF Wilson Betemit (Two-year contract)
LHP Luis Ayala (One-year contract)
RHP Matt Lindstrom (Acquired in trade from Rockies)
RHP Jason Hammel (Acquired in trade from Rockies)
LHP Dana Eveland (Acquired in trade from Dodgers)
INF Ryan Flaherty (Acquired in Rule 5 draft from Cubs)
OF Vladimir Guerrero (Retired)
OF Felix Pie (Signed with Pirates)
INF Cesar Izturis (Signed with Brewers)
RHP Jeremy Guthrie (Traded to Rockies)
OF Luke Scott (Signed with Rays)
After former executive, Andy MacPhail resigned from the Orioles, Dan Duquette was named Vice President of baseball operations. Duquette made it clear that his top priority was to improve the Orioles pitching staff that finished last in ERA (5.39), quality starts (881), and (60) innings. That being said, Duquette didn’t waste any time and acquired starting pitchers Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, and relievers Matt Lindstrom and Luis Ayala.
After an active offseason for Duquette in his first year with the Orioles, the team earned their first playoff berth since 1997. The Orioles beat the Texas Rangers in the league’s one-game wild-card game. The Orioles went on to lose to the New York Yankees in 5 games as they headed into the 2012-2013 offseason. During the season, Duquette established his biggest contract deal to date by signing Oriole OF Adam Jones to an $85.5 million dollar contract extension through 2018. The Orioles also claimed OF Steve Pearce off waivers from the Yankees in September 2012.
Key Signings & Acquisitions:
LHP Luis Ayala (One-year contract; Club option exercised)
OF Nate McLouth (Re-signed to one-year contract)
3B Danny Valencia (Acquired in trade from Red Sox)
INF Alexi Casilla (Claimed off waivers)
RHP Freddy Garcia (Minor League contract)
INF Mark Reynolds (Signed with Indians)
LHP Joe Saunders (Signed with Mariners)
INF Robert Andino (Traded to Mariners)
INF Endy Chavez (Signed with Mariners)
INF Omar Quintanilla (Signed with Mets)
Coming off their first postseason debut since 1997, Oriole fans were eager for Duquette to land a big name free agent to help the organization contend for the World Series in 2013. Surprisingly, Duquette did the complete opposite and used caution by only acquiring players to enhance the Orioles bench. As a result, the Orioles failed to appear in the playoffs in 2013.
Duquette and the Orioles expressed interest in adding power hitters such as Josh Hamilton and Nick Swisher, but nothing advanced more than rumors. Duquette didn’t express much desire to acquire pitchers outside of the organization and remained confident with the likes of Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, and the upcoming MLB debut of Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy.
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Key Signings & Acquisitions:
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (Four-year contract)
OF/DH Nelson Cruz (One-year contract)
RHP Ryan Webb (Two-year contract)
LHP Johan Santana (Minor League contract)
OF Delmon Young (Minor League contract)
OF David Lough (Acquired in trade with Royals)
RHP Brad Brach (Acquired in trade with Padres)
2B Jemile Weeks (Acquired in trade with Athletics)
RHP Jim Johnson (Traded to Athletics)
RHP Jason Hammel (Signed with Cubs)
2B Brian Roberts (Signed with Yankees)
RHP Francisco Rodriguez (Signed with Brewers )
RHP Scott Feldman (Signed with Astros)
OF Nate McLouth (Signed with Nationals)
3B Danny Valencia (Traded to Royals)
After missing the postseason, it was known throughout the league that the Orioles needed to land a couple notable acquisitions at the very least. The offseason started out rough with the team losing long time Orioles, Jim Johnson and Brian Roberts. To make things worse, both expected signees, Tyler Covin, and Grant Balfour failed their physicals. The pending deals of Covin and Balfour were declined, causing them to sign elsewhere. Once again, O’s fans started to become anxious as it appeared to be another lackluster offseason.
With the end of the offseason near, Duquette delivered some notable last-minute signings. As the team scrambled to sign a quality starting pitcher, Duquette inked a four-year deal to Ubaldo Jimenez. This signing comes after the team was rumored to have interest Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, and Ervin Santana. Soon after, the Orioles made their biggest move of the offseason by signing the power bat of Nelson Cruz to a one-year deal. This came as a sigh of relief to Oriole fans after a rocky start to the offseason.
Key Signings & Acquisitions
OF Travis Snider (Acquired in trade from Pirates)
LHP Wei-Yin Chen (club option exercised)
RHP Darren O’Day (club option exercised)
OF Nelson Cruz (Signed with Mariners)
OF Nick Markakis (Signed with Braves)
LHP Andrew Miller (Signed with Yankees)
After the Orioles enjoyed their first division title since 1997, Duquette followed up with a miserable offseason. Pivotal players such as Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis, and Andrew Miller signed with other teams. Duquette did very little, if any, to try and replace the team’s star players. This ultimately resulted in the Orioles missing the 2015 playoffs after such high expectations coming into the season. Only time will tell what Duquette will do for the Orioles this offseason.