What do we make of the news that Baltimore Orioles’ VP Dan Duquette has drawn interest from Washington’s MLB franchise?
Here we go again…the Baltimore Orioles might find themselves in a position where they need to fight for Vice-President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette once again. We all remember the situation some time back with Toronto, in which they tried to gerrymander Duquette away from the Orioles. But this time it could be a team a bit closer to home – make that a lot closer to home.
Yesterday the St. Paul Pioneer Press cited a source which said that the Washington Nationals were interested in hiring Duquette as their Team President. Let me be up front about something, and I say this with all due respect to the St. Paul Pioneer Press; citing a source isn’t exactly the most responsible journalism. Of all people, I get how the reporting industry works (sometimes conversations are on the record, and sometimes off). However when you’re dealing with something that’s potentially as poisonous as this could in theory be, put up or shut up.
As was reported by Roch Kubatko of MASNsports, a Washington Nationals’ spokesman emphatically denied these rumors:
"We are not in discussions with Dan Duquette, nor are we in the market for a team president."
For the record, Duquette has also denied any rumors, saying that he hasn’t been contacted by Washington to speak to them. Incidentally, the Orioles haven’t been contacted for permission to speak to Duquette either. And that’s the big step that would need to occur.
We all know the process; if you’re interested in hiring someone else’s guy, you have to ask permission first. Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos is a stickler for those types of details and regulations, and justifiably so. As was covered ad hoc when Toronto tried to pick Duquette off, Angelos stepped up to the plate and gave Duquette a contract extension and a raise after the 2012 season. He also famously expects people to honor their commitments. Again, justifiably so.
And for the record, Duquette seems intent on completing his contract. Am I saying that there’s no truth to this “rumor?” Not necessarily. I have no way of knowing whether there is or not, especially when the story originated with a small mid-western newspaper. And especially considering that there’s no meat whatsoever behind the story.
Incidentally, Washington has a fine GM/President of Baseball Operations in Mike Rizzo. And that’s part of why these types of rumors (especially when they come from a source) can be so poisonous. If I’m Mike Rizzo what exactly am I supposed to think about this?
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Granted, that’s part of the industry. As was famously said in Godfather Part II, this is the business we have chosen. These types of rumors fly around all the time. But as an employee, I would submit that anyone has the right to hear about their own job security from their boss. In Mike Rizzo’s case, that’s the Lerner Family.
I’m not going to get into how this potentially affects the dynamic between the two teams given the MASN dispute which exists, however the fact is that the situation is out there. Some folks will point out that Duquette denied the Toronto rumors as well. And he did – eventually. In this case he came out almost immediately and said there was no substance to this. Furthermore the Washington Nationals did as well.
But for the record, the Orioles won’t grant permission to anyone to speak to Duquette unless they’re sent a formal request. And if that were to occur, the unwritten code in baseball is that you grant that permission if it’s a higher position (which in this case it is in theory). But for the time being, I wouldn’t expect this to go any further. That’s not to say that the Angelos family might not want to consider finding a way to give Duquette some sort of promotion this off-season.