Duquette admits it's time for Orioles to rebuild - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Duquette admits it’s time for Orioles to rebuild

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Early in Wednesday night’s conference call to discuss the Orioles’ biggest trade in his seven years as the team’s top baseball decision-maker, Dan Duquette signaled that dealing Manny Machado was just the beginning of a sea change in Baltimore.

“Today is the start of the rebuilding process,” Duquette said. “We aim to retool our roster and get our organization back to the competitive stature that we’ve been used to.”

Trading Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers for outfielder Yusniel Diaz, infielders Breyvick Valera, Rylan Bannon and pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop is the first step for the Orioles as they try and restock their farm system.

Duquette identified Diaz, a 21-year-old Cuban, as the top player offered the Orioles in talks that most seriously included the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies.

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Coincidentally, Machado will begin play with the Dodgers Friday in Milwaukee and move on to Philadelphia next week.

Diaz, Bannon, Kremer and Pop have all been assigned to Bowie while Valera has been optioned to Norfolk.

As the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Duquette has come under attack for the team’s lack of involvement in the international market, and that will change, Duquette said.

He also said the Orioles will spend more on technology and analytics.

“That’s part of a plan we have to have to get the Orioles back to competitiveness,” Duquette said.

In his first five years, Duquette saw the Orioles qualify for the postseason three times, topping out with a trip to the American League Championship Series in 2014.

After their elimination by Toronto in the wild-card game in 2016, it’s been downhill for the Orioles. Last year, they finished with their first sub-.500 record (75-87) since 2011. This year, their 28-69 record is the second worst in baseball and could threaten their worst year, 1988, when they went 54-107 after an 0-21 start.

With the non-waiver trading deadline of July 31 fast approaching, Duquette indicated that reliever Zach Britton would be the next piece to be shopped.

Britton returned last month after rehabbing a surgically repaired torn Achilles’ tendon and recently has begun pitching to the form that saw him convert 60 consecutive save opportunities for an American League record.

“Clubs were waiting to see how Zach was throwing,” Duquette said.

Several teams, including Cleveland, Houston and Philadelphia, have aggressively scouted Britton in recent weeks.

The Orioles also could consider trading Adam Jones, but with 10 years of service time and five with the Orioles, he could veto any trade. Another possibility is reliever Brad Brach.

Brach, Britton and Jones will be free agents this fall. Duquette said the focus would likely be on moving them instead of considering trades for starting pitchers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

“We’re going to take a look at trading the veteran players…the ones that are nearing free agency,” Duquette said. “We’re going to look to maximize that opportunity on the market and try to find as many young players as we can to deepen our farm system.”

It’s unclear how fans will react to the trade of Machado. Orioles attendance is averaging 20,990 a game, which puts the team on a pace to draw 1.658 million, which would be the lowest since 1982.

Machado and Jones were arguably the most popular players in recent franchise history.

“Obviously, this is a bittersweet day for our organization,” Duquette said. “We watched Manny grow up with our franchise over the last eight years. We know what an exceptional talent he is.”

While the team is rebuilding, it still has last year’s only All-Star, Jonathan Schoop, and Trey Mancini, who had a strong rookie season but is struggling this season.

Duquette didn’t mention any of the team’s current players, other than Britton, and didn’t discuss Chris Davis, whose 2018 season has been abysmal. He knows major action is warranted.

“That’s a tough decision,” Duquette said of the rebuild. “Clubs have to make the right decision, the hard decisions. When you do that, you can be rewarded in the future. It became clear to us it was time to turn our attention to the future…Trading veteran players for younger players, that will be up to us to develop that talent.

“We want to acquire as many young players as we can.”

Machado had moved to shortstop this year while Tim Beckham, acquired at last year’s trade deadline, moved to third. Manager Buck Showalter said that he had a plan for who would play shortstop after Machado, and it presumably means Beckham will go back to short.

For now, Danny Valencia and Jace Peterson could platoon at third, as they did when Beckham missed two months after core muscle surgery. Steve Wilkerson would probably be the Orioles’ choice to play third base for now, but he’s on the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle.

The Orioles have an open roster spot, and could bring up Cedric Mullins to get some time in the outfield if Valencia is moving back to third base.

Duquette and Showalter are in the final year of their contracts. When asked about his future, Duquette made it clear he’d like to shepherd the rebuilding process.

“My heart is in Baltimore, and I’d like to make the Orioles into a top contending organization again,” he said.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. jimcarter

    July 19, 2018 at 7:47 am

    An Orioles rebuild is not the same as an Astros or White Sox rebuild. They have to be different and do it half assed.

    • Mau

      July 19, 2018 at 9:17 pm

      It’s the first move. They absolutely need to beef up the farm. Britton is regaining value. They got 5 nice prospects for Manny. I don’t imagine Britton gets that kind of quantity, but maybe a little more immediate and controlled quality. Your move, Dan.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 19, 2018 at 7:58 am

    I understand shopping everybody, but some players are meant to retire wearing the black and orange. Adam Jones is one of those players.

    I’m also delighted to hear that Dan Duquette’s heart is in Bal’more. I know I’m in the minority around these parts when I say I’d love to see this man given a new contract and the reins to our future. (i’d also love to see a certain fitness guru taken out of the picture)

    So Mr. Dubroff, my 1st question to you at BB.com is this: “As far as you know, who was the architect of the trade? “. I’m assuming it was Dan Duquette, but I have to wonder how much input, if any, did Brady Anderson have on this decision?

    • Devereauxisunderit

      July 19, 2018 at 8:35 am

      Long time reader, first time logged in. So first let me say welcome to Rich, and especially thank you to Dan for sucking me in. But truly, I continue reading this site because of the insightful posts by the readers like BRR here and the active interaction all writers have with the readers.

      I’m not one who can quote stats or even get my own stories straight most times, but Boog’s question makes me consider Brady’s effectiveness as a somewhat newly minted influencer in the organization. If I remember correctly, he was heavily involved in the signing of some of this season’s struggling additions. Was it not too long ago that he was noted as a strangely awkward and unnecesary voice between Buck, Dan and the Angelos clan? What are the tangible results he has brought to the club to warrant his rise within that crowd?

      And since I’m new, I guess I should explain my username. As a former Westminster HS varsity golfer, this is what we would say every time one of us popped up a tee shot. (We weren’t all that good.)

      • Rich Dubroff

        July 19, 2018 at 11:05 am

        Thank you for commenting. I have a fond feeling for former Westminster HS varsity golfers. The longtime sports editor of The Carroll County Times, Bob Blubaugh, for whom I worked for many years, was a golfer at Westminster High.

        All last winter whenever I was asked who I thought was the ideal Orioles free agent signing , I instantly responded Alex Cobb, thinking the club had little chance to sign him.

        Though Cobb has disappointed, I’m still thinking he’s going to be a good sign in the end.

        While Andrew Cashner has been somewhat of a disappointment, too, I think that with some better offense, both Cobb and Cashner would have better records.

        Since I supported those signings at the time, I can’t be critical of them. Chris Tillman was projected to be a fifth starter, and I thought that was a decent gamble.

        We don’t know the shape of the front office for 2019, and I’ll withhold further comment until I see that.

    • Paul Folkemer

      July 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

      The Orioles could try trading Jones and then re-signing him as a free agent (if Jones is amenable). I wouldn’t rule out him retiring in orange and black. But if they can get a prospect or two for him first, they need to take that deal.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 19, 2018 at 9:23 am

        Understandably stated from an analytical mind and point of view. As a lifelong Strat-O-Matic player, I really can and do appreciate that. My only problem with that thinking, is that so much of the beauty of this pasttime of our’s stems from the romantic and historical side of the game. I’d hate to lose site of that.
        Mr. Jones is one of the all time greats in this franchise’ history, and iMO, he needs to be respected as such. Now if he initiated/stated his desire to be elsewhere, that’s a different story…..

      • Bancells Moustache

        July 19, 2018 at 9:25 am

        Honestly Paul, if Adam Jones is as committed to this organization as he says, that’s exactly what he should do. Go to Cleveland or wherever, take a shot at a ring, then come back knowing the future has better odds of success than it did when you left.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 19, 2018 at 10:58 am

      BBR–I think you’re correct. My feeling is that Dan Duquette was the primary deal maker with some input from Brady Anderson.

  3. Borg

    July 19, 2018 at 8:03 am

    NOW is the time for a rebuild? The rebuild should have begun last summer. The O’s weren’t good last year; only a hot August got them sort of back into the wild card race, but the total collapse in September should have been the red flag demanding a thourough re-tooling of the roster. Machado should have been traded over the winter (I can’t believe there weren’t better offers out there then than now), Brach and O’Day should have at least been offered up to see if there was any interest. But that is water under the bridge. Britton and Brach should both go. Davis? The Orioles are stuck with about $95 million on his contract no matter what he does. They might as well just release him to free up a roster spot and eat the money. Mullins should see some major league time, and they shouldn’t wait too long on players like Mountcastle and Stewart-give them five or six weeks at the end of the season and let’s see what they’ve got. Are they going to extend Schoop? Considering the collapse this year they could get him cheaper than they might have anticipated, but I expect they’ll do the same thing they did with Manny and trade him at the deadline next year when his value will be much less.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 19, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Borg, my guess is that Schoop will bet on himself–just as Machado did–after an uninspiring season and go for free agency in 2019 no matter what is offered. I would be surprised if the Orioles offered him an extension, but I’m not opposed to it.

  4. Dblack2508

    July 19, 2018 at 8:04 am

    The need to move any player whose going to be a free agent in 2020. As a season ticket holder, I will support a rebuild if there is a plan.

  5. DoobieHouserMD

    July 19, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Getting into the international market and focusing more on data tells me they’re serious. Sucks Manny’s gone without a ring, but you can’t change the past. The future looks bright.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 19, 2018 at 9:25 am

      The future looks bright? Me thinks you’re smoking your name ….

  6. Orial

    July 19, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Very encouraging comments by Duquette. He actually took a step forward in his message. Sounds aggressive. I know the fans would not be too thrilled by I wouldn’t be surprised if Duquette is re-signed. As far as attendence–only winning will remedy that. This organization took a serious hit when the Nats came to DC. Having Jones stay as an Oriole sounds sentimental and romantic. I know a lot of O’s fans get over attached to certain players(Markakis,Rickard,Kim) but where would Jones play during a rebuild? A real rebuild has to consist of a true house cleaning(except Davis-OUCH). So fans,city,player crushes are gonna have to be ignored as they move ahead.

  7. GSISDANNO

    July 19, 2018 at 9:28 am

    Well, congratulations to Dan Duquette, who may be the last person in the Baltimore area to realize it is time to rebuild. Since winning the A.L. East in 2014, this team has been in a freefall. After the 2014 season, the Orioles let Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis leave, mostly because they didn’t want to give them a 4th year.
    Four years later, Cruz and Markakis are All Stars and the Orioles still haven’t replaced either of them.
    Meanwhile, the Orioles have added busts like Wade Miley, Gallardo, Hellickson and other guys I can’t recall.
    Trying to replace Markakis has led to signings like Snider, Parra, Seth Smith, Kim, the immortal Colby Rasmus.
    To me, it is embarrassing that the Orioles made a lame effort to sign Machado. They threw up their hands and said, let’s see what we can get for them.
    We are becoming the Florida Marlins.

  8. JParsley

    July 19, 2018 at 10:04 am

    I am interested in if Jones will be traded. If so I could definitely see the O’s resigning him in the off season.

    I know this would never happen, but it would be a really good idea if the MLB could let a team “rent” a player and get him back the next year. For example if AJ wasn’t a free agent at the end of the year, and we traded him to a contender for the rest of the year for a prospect, then get him back after the season and keep the prospect. That would be a great way to rebuild and keep the core of the team. Also, I think it could be limited to one or two rental players per contender

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 19, 2018 at 11:12 am

      There’s nothing stopping the Orioles from trading Jones now and then re-signing him after the season. My guess is that with Diaz, Mullins and Stewart on hand with Hays in reserve, they’ll pass on Jones and play the kids in 2019.

      • Rmiller8

        July 19, 2018 at 11:33 am

        Rich,

        What is the plan with all of the positional overlap that seems to be in play with these young guys? Mullins, Hays, Diaz, Stewart, Mancini, Santandar, Mckenna, possibly Mountcastle if he cant handle 3rd? Not to mention Davis, Trumbo, Rickard who are on the major league roster? I mean it just seems like there may be a log jam at some point… Thoughts?

  9. Bancells Moustache

    July 19, 2018 at 10:18 am

    I’m actually kinda enthusiastic about this whole thing. We haven’t really had the opportunity to see a rebuild come to fruition, and it’s not as if there is another option. Even the 2012 team didn’t feel like the result of a rebuild process, it felt more like they caught lightning in a bottle. The Machado deal seems like they played it well, five prospects including a top 100 for a rental. Blow it up. Ship out Jones, Britton, Brach, Trumbo and Givens. We now march headlong into a few years of horrendous baseball. Good luck gentlemen, Hope to see you on the other side.

  10. OsfansinWV

    July 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm

    So is this gonna be a 3-4 year rebuild like the Astros did or is it gonna be another classic B-more rebuild that takes 10-15?

  11. cedar

    July 19, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    I feel Dan Duquette said all the right things, and hopefully this is an indication of how the franchise may pivot with the Angelos sons in charge.

    My question is how well positioned/prepared are they to move forward on these fronts, especially the international scouting?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 19, 2018 at 8:12 pm

      Dan Duquette said the Orioles will beef up their international scouting department. They have the smallest international scouting department in baseball, Cedar.

  12. PA Bird Lover

    July 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    For reasons that I know many of you have had similar thoughts, the piece of paper on DD’s desk holds still for almost anything. In my humble opinion, a rebuild of the success of say Houston, I feel is practically impossible while PA is still signing checks. Even with his two sons more involve, the three of them are not baseball inclined. They’ve missed the boat on so many baseball decisions it’s almost a crime. Of course they’ve had success with the business end of it like moving ST to Sarasota and rebuilding a beautiful functional setting. PA was also instrumental in Camden Yards. To bring my point into context I’ll say that our greatest team success came when ST was in Miami and Lauderdale. Our greatest on field years happened on 33rd Street. These couple of examples are what I consider cosmetic. On the other hand they left a 26 year old leave while never offering a cent. They decided the same route with Cruz and left a Cy Young winner escape town. On top

  13. PA Bird Lover

    July 19, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    On top of that they shelled out a franchise amount on a strike out artist. One can only wonder what the shape of a rebuild will be like under PA and sons.

  14. JerseyOsFan

    July 19, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    How does that country song go… oh yeah.. It’s a little too late to do the right thing now. (at least for this year). IMHO, DD sounds like a man who is paying lip service to the fans and is scared he won’t have a job next season. Let’s see how the Britton trade goes. That along with identifiable improvements in scouting/international/minor league prospects will keep his job. He needs to make sure we see these since they may be “behind the scenes” things also… or small pieces of the puzzle that could be overlooked. Otherwise, if no visible improvements say by roster expansion… let’s relieve DD of his fears… and his job. I know you can do it, DD.

  15. Big Mike

    July 19, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    Let me start by saying I’m one of the naive ones. IMO we are now seeing the reins being handed from PA to John Angelos. Who did Brooks credit with bringing him back into the fold, after years of being held at arms length by PA? The same guy that sat with him in the box ar OPACY when they made the announcement – John Angelos. Now Dan lays out the new direction of the organization. Does an 89 year old attorney with a reputation for stubborn micromanagement suddenly have an epiphany on the error of his ways? The sons are clearly in charge and I think Dan is coming back. Brady is the wild card. I’ll be very interested to see what the new hierarchy looks like, assuming they let us in on it.

    • Steve Cockey

      July 21, 2018 at 10:36 pm

      It’s definitely been interesting seeing some of these changes (Kids Cheer Free, Brooks, an increased interest in international) coincide with Angelos’ sons assuming more control. I agree that it’s hard to believe there’s not some correlation.

  16. Osfan73

    July 19, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Now DD says it’s time to rebuild yet I think it was last season he said that you don’t rebuild in the A.L. East. Which is it DD??

  17. OsfansinWV

    July 20, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Buck for GM and Dempsey for skipper! Build the farm system with draft and trading the few valuable pieces we have and should be back in a few years!!!

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