Duquette makes a flurry of minor moves, but did his club get better for the stretch run? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Duquette makes a flurry of minor moves, but did his club get better for the stretch run?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Dan Duquette does this type of thing. We’ve seen it for years.

The Orioles executive vice president searches high and low for undervalued assets, guys he can pick up cheaply that might be able to serve a bigger purpose for his team than they did for someone else.

Some fans criticize it as baseball’s version of Dumpster diving. Sometimes that’s fair. Sometimes Duquette skirts the trash in the bin and strikes paydirt.

This is how he operates. So that’s why August is a perfect time for Duquette to unearth discarded treasure. The players that are available to acquire after the non-waiver trade deadline are usually fringy pieces. They either have bloated contracts or limited skill sets.

Otherwise, teams would have blocked trades by claiming potential difference-makers on revocable waivers. If those players get claimed once, they almost always remain with their current club.

So that’s why you didn’t see any moderately interesting starting pitchers change hands after this year’s Aug. 1 deadline.

We all know that the Orioles’ primary weakness is a lack of quality and consistent starting pitching – but that’s a weakness for most every team. And, in August, that inventory isn’t readily available, as Duquette would say.

Certainly not pitching of a quality that would be a true upgrade over the collection of back-end starters the Orioles currently have. (Surely, some of you will beat the drum that Duquette should have paid for better pitching in the offseason or in July, so that the club isn’t in this predicament now, and that’s true. But, to be fair, the pickings were slim and the significant upgrades demanded astronomical price tags that often become hindrances down the road).

So, aside from non-existent rotation help, these Orioles also needed a competent left-handed reliever and some outfield depth.


Technically, Duquette found both Wednesday, trading for lefty reliever Kyle Lobstein and veteran outfielder Michael Bourn in separate deals, and claiming veteran outfielder Drew Stubbs off waivers from the Texas Rangers.

These are scrap heap guys who could fill holes – Stubbs and Bourn were once upper-tier players who are on the downside of their careers and Lobstein hasn’t been able to consistently stick in the majors. Really, no major risk was taken.

Still, Duquette’s transaction flurry turned counterproductive at some point Wednesday.

Getting Lobstein, who has allowed just two hits to lefties in 24 at-bats for the Pirates, in exchange for minor league lefty Zach Phillips seemed sensible.

Hours later, though, Lobstein was designated for assignment to make room for the claimed Stubbs. And then Duquette added another speedy fourth outfielder with strong defense in Bourn.

Unless there is something majorly wrong with Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, which the hobbled Jones (hamstring) and the team deny, getting Stubbs and Bourn appears to be overkill.

Especially since it meant that Lobstein may go elsewhere. It’s possible Lobstein and lefty Ashur Tolliver, who was taken off the 40-man roster to make room for Lobstein, will clear waivers and remain in the organization. Then, it’s no harm, no foul.

But if Lobstein doesn’t clear waivers, I’m not on board with Duquette’s last stand Wednesday.

Because of all the minor additions the Orioles needed, the one I felt was most crucial was a lefty specialist that could compete for a roster spot with rookie Donnie Hart and a healthy Brian Duensing if the Orioles make the playoffs.

The cynical among you may say, after these recent stumbles on the field, that the Orioles aren’t making the playoffs anyway. That’s a fair point.

Duquette doesn’t think that way, though. And he shouldn’t. I respect that.

I just think he may have belly-flopped into the Dumpster one too many times Wednesday.



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 1, 2016 at 8:09 am

    I just wish Duquette had made trades for Max Scherzer and Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard. Yeah … those would have been awesome additions ‘eh? At least that’s what I would have done if I were the O’s GM!

    • Dan Connolly

      September 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      And signed Greinke and Price this offseason.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 1, 2016 at 3:18 pm

        How could I have forgotten those two? Long term kazillion dollar contracts for pitchers on the wrong side of 30, just what Mr. Angelos has been pushing for I’m sure.

  2. Bancells Moustache

    September 1, 2016 at 10:26 am

    You nailed it Boog. Duquette has been raked over the coals for not ‘addressing the pitching” at both deadlines, but who was he supposed to get? Everyone acts like Peter Angelos can whip out his checkbook and Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and the ghost of Christy Matthewson will jump on the first flight to BWI. It ain’t happening, people. DD has been flayed for his FA pitching signings, and rightfully so, as Gallardo and Jimenez have been trainwrecks, but saying they don’t need to shore up the outfield? They just started Nolan Reimold in CF in the biggest series of the last two years. Any team that does that DESPERATELY needs outfield help.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Nothing to argue with here.

  3. DauerPower

    September 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Dan, do the outfield signings say more about Rickard not being available anytime soon vs Jones’ injury?
    We would be in much better shape with Joey healthy.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Says a lot. They moved him to the 60-day meaning the earliest he can be activated is Sept 19 or so. That’s more than 2 weeks away with 2 to play after that. Need reinforcements before then — especially if Adam is less than Adam.

  4. DauerPower

    September 1, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    This team is looking more and more like a 4th place team. Too many injuries to overcome. I love their grit and know they are not going to roll over but what a tough haul to make the playoffs with this roster.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      Given August play, you’d appear to be right. But the offense is mostly healthy and Showalter is dangerous with an expanded bullpen. So, what does that leave? Yup. Starting pitching needs to do its part.

  5. writerjmk44

    September 1, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    It looks like less playing time for the .225-ish hitting Nolan Reimold. Takes his walks but Ks too often and hasn’t hit for much power. I hoped he’d click in a healthy body, but his ABs are sure to go down now.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 1, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Yep. If there is a playing-time loser in these transactions, it is definitely Reimold. He’s not a natural CFer; the other 2 are.

  6. claudecat

    September 1, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    First of all, I agree that this latest round of moves is puzzling at best. Not that Bourn and/or Stubbs can’t possibly help, but how often will they play? And the Lobstein move was just plain weird. .083 against lefties seems like something we could use.

    But here’s where I take issue with some of the defenses of Dan Duquette. Yet again we waited until the last possible scrap was on the table this past winter, which was Gallardo. Hasn’t worked out too well. Nor did Ubaldo, acquired in a similar scenario. The counter-argument “well, we weren’t going to get the big name big dollar guys” is valid, however there were some guys that would have proven (granted, in retrospect) to be better. Much better. Doug Fister. J.A. Happ! Drew Smyly. Probably others I’m forgetting. All reasonably priced, all stronger performers than the two into whom we’ve sunk multiple years and mucho dinero.

    An then there’s the corollary: pitchers we’ve lost to (in 20/20 hindsight) terrible fleecings. Zach Davies, Stephen Brault, Andrew Triggs.

    Dan’s made some good deals, and don’t get me wrong, I do think he’s been instrumental in getting the O’s over the hump of ignominy. But man… he does the same not so great things over and over again, and we do suffer for it.

    • Steve Cockey

      September 1, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      Agreed here on the pitching moves, Claudecat. I was frustrated when Duq repeated the Ubaldo scenario (spring training guy tied to a draft pick) with Gallardo, and it hasn’t worked again.

  7. ubetonit

    September 2, 2016 at 10:03 am

    Rearranging the deck chairs … Why after 5 yrs doesn’t the farm system have more quality & more depth?

  8. JimBobHev

    September 3, 2016 at 11:37 am

    Double D only does what Pete allows him to do. With the limited access to funds he is allowed to use…DD does his best. Face it fans… Upper management only wants the team to remain “competitive”. They are not interested in doing (paying) what it takes to win a championship. Top 10 in payroll isn’t going to do it. Every now and then you’ll get a fluke team like KC to win it all but the MLB is built for the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and Giants. Teams that can and will spend over the long haul to purchase a championship.

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