Duquette's radical makeover rocks Orioles' house - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Duquette’s radical makeover rocks Orioles’ house

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK—In 13 days, Dan Duquette has remade the Orioles. Gone are six of the most recognizable players of the last seven seasons: Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day.

Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president, traded all of them, even though they were largely responsible for the Orioles’ three postseason appearances from 2012-16.

He also released Chris Tillman, the team’s most accomplished pitcher for those teams.

Duquette’s moves have saved the Orioles nearly $29 million in payroll obligations for this season and next. He promised a rebuild, and he’s starting from the ground up.

He’s brought in 15 players, two of whom, relief pitcher Cody Carroll and infielder Breyvic Valera, were added to the roster on Tuesday, and another, Jonathan Villar, who is likely to join the team in Texas Thursday.

Duquette also has brought in $2.75 million in international bonus slot money in the Brach and Gausman deals with Atlanta, giving the team $8,273,500 to spend.

The Orioles’ makeover could have been even more radical if Duquette had been able to convince Adam Jones to accept a trade to Philadelphia.

Many thought the Orioles’ teardown for 2018 was complete after the Brach deal last Sunday. Duquette conceded Jones wasn’t likely to move on to the Phillies. Machado, Britton, Brach and Jones are all eligible for free agency this fall.

However, Tuesday saw a dizzying final hours before the 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline, and the Orioles were convinced that Schoop, who couldn’t be a free agent until 2019, and Gausman, who has two more seasons beyond this year before he hits the market, were highly marketable commodities.


“When you start out on a direction to rebuild, I think it’s easier if you do a lot of the work when you get started,” Duquette said in a conference call.

“It’s a lot like building a house. I think if you demolish the house and build it with the foundation from the ground up rather than renovating it one room at a time. I think it helps in terms of the overall progress you can make.”

Unlike the trades for Machado and Britton, which centered on center fielder Yusniel Diaz and starting pitcher Dillon Tate, these deals didn’t feature a top prospect.

But they did feature Villar, who pulled off a straight steal of home in 2013 in Baltimore. The 27-year-old second baseman fits one part of the Orioles’ profile. He strikes out often. In 2016 and 2017, Villar struck out more than 300 times.

Villar does add an element missing from the Orioles’ modus operandi. He has excellent speed. In 2016, he led the majors with 62 stolen bases. Last year, he swiped 23 and this year, he’s stolen 14 of 16.

Duquette defended the deal with Atlanta, saying that because the Braves’ farm system is so deep, many of its prospects aren’t as highly thought of.

“They’ll come into our farm system and they’ll be ranked high,” Duquette said.

An overlooked part of the deal was Duquette’s ability to rid the Orioles of O’Day’s onerous contract. After the 2015 season, O’Day signed a four-year, $31-million extension, but he was on the disabled list five times in the first three years. He had season-ending hamstring surgery and accepted the trade.

While O’Day acceded to the Orioles’ wishes, Jones refused.

“We talked to Adam Jones about that earlier in the week, and Adam would like to stay with the Orioles,” Duquette said. He made his choice to stay with the Orioles. He’s going to be with the club.”

Duquette refused to speculate on whether Jones could continue his Orioles career in 2019.

“I don’t know the answer to that question, but what I do know is that the club is going to start auditioning some young players for full-time jobs for the future. We’ll have to address those questions in the offseason.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. noto44

    July 31, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    The O’s have made the move
    to rebuild with their recent transactions. However, Danny D. will be watching the O’s from afar once the season ends.
    Now, will the O’s play above .300 ball?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 31, 2018 at 11:58 pm

      It will be interesting to see how many games they win with this club, noto.

  2. Mlretiree

    July 31, 2018 at 11:07 pm

    Looking at tonight’s Milwaukee lineup, I note that every starter came from another organization. This is what a good GM can accomplish!

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm

      There are many ways to build a club, MIretiree, and aggressive trading with Milwaukee and Seattle are a way.

    • Steve Cockey

      August 1, 2018 at 12:07 am

      And let’s not forget how many core players from the O’s recent run of success were originally acquired via trade: Jones, Tillman, Hardy, Davis, Brach, Hunter, Trumbo.

  3. Churchton

    August 1, 2018 at 2:36 am

    All they have to do is find some sucker team to take davis and it will be a success

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 1, 2018 at 7:47 am

      A trade of Chris Davis would be an interesting story to cover.

      • JCO

        August 1, 2018 at 9:03 am

        How much experience do you have writing about hypnosis and Jedi mind tricks, because that’s what a Davis trade would require.

  4. Churchton

    August 1, 2018 at 2:46 am

    Dandy dan did do a good job when he is allowed to select the personel. He should be the one to have the final say on people. Anderson should stay right where he belongs next to brook and Eddie talking to fans and never make another decision involving players

  5. boss61

    August 1, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Me thinks this will be like going to a Frederick Keys game. Needing a program. Once in awhile, an “I think I heard of this guy.” Or an “he’s wearing black and orange, so he must be one of ours, but who the heck is he and where did he come from?” Scorecard sales will increase.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 1, 2018 at 7:51 am

      It will be fun to watch the rest of the season, 61. They may set a team record for most players used in a season.

    • Ekim

      August 1, 2018 at 10:15 am

      To me… just more of what we already have in the minors… a bunch of ‘wannabe’s’ and ‘never will be’s’.

  6. Krabman

    August 1, 2018 at 7:07 am

    I’ve lost a lot of respect for AJ.. Notwithstanding any personal considerations, he could’ve helped the team greatly by accepting the Philly trade and maintained his community contacts. Instead he likely spoiled the relationship and killed any chance he may have had of signing here next year. Selfish and short sighted.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 1, 2018 at 7:50 am

      I’m not sure about the second part. If the Orioles would like him to return and he’d like to, there might be a way, Krabman. An interesting few months awaits us.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 1, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Calling Adam Jones “selfish and short sighted” is … well .. it’s short sighted.

    • OsfansinWV

      August 1, 2018 at 9:05 am

      Says the man that probably abandons the team regardless of how they’re playing and what their record is come Sept just to watch the team in the stadium nest door!! As a die-hard lifelong FAN of the O’s I’ve noticed most of our fans don’t even know that the O’s play after August……..

    • bigdaddydk

      August 1, 2018 at 9:38 am

      I think you miss the point that AJ has a family too. He had to make a decision based on his personal best interest, just as the team was trying to operate based on its own best interest. AJ has certain rights based on his 10-5 status. Deciding not to uproot his family for two months, only to possibly uproot them again over the winter, isn’t how I’d define selfish or short-sighted. I’d describe it as having priorities beyond baseball. Frankly, I respect a man who places his family above other things.

      Some would say that he could have gone to Philadelphia, played two months with his family in Baltimore, and then come back as a free agent. But I don’t see why he’d opt for separation from his family for that long with the hopes of a return when that’s anything but guaranteed. In fact, I’d bet the team won’t pursue him too hard this off-season based on the youth movement.

    • Ekim

      August 1, 2018 at 10:18 am

      To OsfaninWV… who cares if they play after August with what they’ll put out on the field?

      • OsfansinWV

        August 1, 2018 at 10:48 am

        Exactly my point…. Fair weather fans!! When the birds in the other stadium start losing you’ll be itching for spring training!

  7. Ekim

    August 1, 2018 at 10:11 am

    One word… UNDERWHELMING!

  8. BunkerFan

    August 3, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Hi Rich, It seems like the Manny and Zach trades brought back the best batches of potential major leaguers. But the Schoop and Gaus trades: well they are more difficult to evaluate. Right now they look weak by comparison. MiLB rates Ortiz from the Brewers as no.7 in the O’s system; but he has a weight problem (like Sir Sidney did). Let’s see what he does with Bowie. Carmona a SS from the Brewers and Encarnacion, a 3B from the Braves, are too far down in Single-A to get a read on. Though MiLB has them at 14 and 15 in the O’s system. Seems like the Gaus and O’Day deal was also about saving $$, especially Darren’s albatross contract.
    I am sad to Zach and Jon go. Especially because Zach was SUCH an Oriole (12 years in system) and Jon was born and bred in our system and still could have been signed to build around.

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