After a year away, Dan Duquette looks for another chance in baseball - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

After a year away, Dan Duquette looks for another chance in baseball

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

When Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter were fired by the Orioles 13 months ago, there was doubt that either one of them would work again in baseball.

Showalter was recently interviewed for the Los Angeles Angels and Philadelphia Phillies managerial positions that went to Joe Maddon and Joe Girardi but still hopes to manage again.

He spent some of the second half of the season as a commentator on the YES Network, analyzing New York Yankees games, mostly on their pre- and postgame broadcasts.

Duquette had been quiet since the Orioles dismissed him, but last week word surfaced that he’s a candidate for the Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager’s job.

At 61, two years younger than Showalter, Duquette is older than most of today’s general managers. Like Showalter, who became Yankees manager at 35, Duquette was only 33 when he became the Montreal Expos GM in 1991.

Now, both want another shot to show that they can succeed in their 60s like they did in their 30s. Interestingly, Duquette’s background is not dissimilar to his successor with the Orioles, Mike Elias.

Duquette and Elias went to academically rigorous colleges — Duquette to Amherst and Elias to Yale. Both played college baseball and began their careers as scouts before ascending to GM jobs by their mid-30s.

When Duquette became the Orioles’ GM eight years ago this week, he’d been out of baseball for nine years. The Boston Red Sox fired him in 2002 after eight years.

Although managers are often recycled, it’s not as common for GMs. If Duquette does resurface in Pittsburgh, it will be his fourth time running a franchise.

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Besides the Yankees and Orioles, Showalter has managed Arizona and Texas. Another job would be his fifth, which isn’t unheard of, even for excellent managers. Joe Torre managed five teams.

The Pirates’ situation looks more difficult than what Duquette encountered with the Orioles. In Baltimore, Duquette took over a team on the rise, though it had just experienced its 14th straight losing season.

He inherited a solid core of J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters. An underachieving slugger, Chris Davis, had recently come over in a trade.

The Orioles had three postseason teams in Duquette’s first five years before imploding in the last two.

Duquette did many good things in his early years, extending Jones to a six-year contract, acquiring relative unknowns such as Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez to bolster a poor starting rotation.

But there were many mistakes, too. After the team won the AL East in 2014, Duquette didn’t want to sign Markakis and Nelson Cruz to four-year contracts. Both were still producing five years later.

Many blame him for a poor trade in sending Jake Arrieta to the Chicago Cubs, but others with the Orioles thought that Arrieta needed to get away from the AL East to excel.

Trying to replace Markakis in right field, Duquette sent pitchers Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley to Pittsburgh for underperforming outfielder Travis Snider. When that didn’t work, he doubled down and traded minor league starter Zach Davies to Milwaukee for Gerardo Parra, long before “Baby Shark.”

Brault, Davies and Tarpley all became useful major league pitchers.

Duquette had to work under restrictions with the Orioles. Ownership didn’t want to participate in the international market, a stance that was changed in his final months with the team, and the costly extension for Davis was negotiated over his head.

The Pirates are a team in tumult, having recently lost longtime president Frank Coonelly, GM Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle. They have a new president, Travis Williams, who ran the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, and are searching for a GM and manager.

Having survived in Baltimore for seven seasons, Duquette is used to uncertainty. Should he get the job in Pittsburgh, he’d be allowed to hire his own manager, which he wasn’t allowed to do with the Orioles.

He’s most proud of the young pitchers acquired in trades, drafts and signings over his last three seasons.

Michael Baumann, DL Hall, Dean Kremer, Zac Lowther, Grayson Rodriguez, Drew Rom, Cody Sedlock, Alex Wells and Bruce Zimmermann were brought into the Orioles’ organization by Duquette.

Recently, Duquette took a trip to the Arizona Fall League and was impressed by the improvement he saw from Kremer, who was included the deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that sent Manny Machado there, and Wells, whom he signed out of Australia.

Machado, who is now with San Diego will be reunited next season with two coaches he had a close relationship with in Baltimore. Bobby Dickerson, who tutored Machado on playing third base in 2012, will be the Padres’ bench coach. Dickerson, who was an infield coach with Philadelphia, reportedly received a three-year contract in San Diego.

Kirby, who was the first base and outfield coach with the Orioles from 2011-2018, also joins the Padres. Machado raved about Kirby’s cooking and regularly played chess with him during their Orioles days.

It will be interesting if San Diego also finds a place for Jonathan Schoop, who will be a free agent for the second straight offseason. Schoop, who badly unperformed with the Brewers after his July 2018 trade, had a decent season with Minnesota but was supplanted at second base by rookie Luis Arraez.

Machado and Schoop maintain a close friendship while Dickerson was especially close with Schoop, who often joined Kirby and Machado for chess matches.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Fareastern89

    November 4, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Good luck to Duquette, although the Pirates’ organizations really does seem to be a mess. I got the sense that many of his problems in Baltimore were caused or exacerbated by his inability to communicate effectively within the O’s organization — was that true, Rich, so far as you could tell?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 4, 2019 at 7:56 am

      The Duquette-Showalter years were fascinating and complex, Fareastern.

      • Baltimore Castaway

        November 4, 2019 at 8:12 am

        Typical Rich—dodging the tough questions to maintain an impression of impartiality.

  2. deqalt

    November 4, 2019 at 7:29 am

    I wish Dan all the best I don’t think he fully got his credit for the job he did for the Orioles. Being the GM under Angelos has to be one of the hardest jobs in baseball. You often have to take bullets for decisions ownership make behind the scenes. There are only so many GM jobs so I guess you take what you can get. The Pirates would not be one I would pick to try and prove my worth. Good Luck Dan!

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 4, 2019 at 8:28 am

    Pirates … seems like a perfect fit for Duquette. Low budget, small market town expertise needed ….

  4. Pip

    November 4, 2019 at 9:11 am

    Hahahano. The article was very kind. Dan has nothing to offer. Pass.

  5. Phil770

    November 4, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Thanks, Rich for the article. Glad that you highlighted DDs shortcomings as GM. I believe he also made a decision to sign a Korean Free Agent that drew a reprimand from MLB and the team was banned from signing any players from the league. Another thing about trading Jake A. Is that he included Pedro Strop, for a less than stellar return of Feldman. Talk about selling g low. However, we all can learn from mistakes. Wish him well with the Pirates opening.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 4, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      Phil, the Korean snafu happened early in his tensure. Thanks for the kind words.

  6. Jim-Considine

    November 4, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Great stuff, Rich!

  7. Bancells Moustache

    November 4, 2019 at 10:17 am

    Perhaps he could take another poke at that Israeli baseball league? Stop laughing, I was serious. Those of you who haven’t watched “Holy Land Hardball” should check it out. No doubt the vitriol aimed at Duquette in Baltimore will be harsh, but around the league executives know what DD was dealing with, Brady and Angelos and whatnot. And he is a former executive of the year, from the past decade. He’ll pop up in the Majors somewhere, though I don’t know that it will be in a GM role. Don’ forget, the guy got the 2016 American League Home Run Champion for a backup catcher.

  8. Orial

    November 4, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Duquette has 30 years of experience. With his financial hands and decision making overshadowed by by a stubborn ownership he was able to field a gutsy super competitive team. I’m sure he’s not immune to analytics and assuming thats the way they’ll go the Pirates would do good to hire him. Rich your comment about Arrietta ” had to get away from the AL East” has me wondering—is this how we approach ALL the pitchers or isolated individuals? There’s gonna come a time when the AL East can’t be an excuse and a powerhouse pitching staff will have to be developed at Camden Yards.

    • Bancells Moustache

      November 4, 2019 at 11:25 am

      The AL East and Ballpark stuff drives me nuts. That’s exactly why you HAVE to have dominant pitching. Playing in a hitter friendly park in the AL East doesn’t seem to have slowed Chris Sale down. Zack Britton made it work. And I just watched a guy who split his career between Camden Yards and Yankee Stadium give a speech at Cooperstown.

  9. Tony Paparella

    November 4, 2019 at 10:30 am

    All around I would have to give DD a passing grade for his duration with the Orioles.Operated on a restriction laden format from the front office both monetarily and managements overall control and over seeing.I believe Angelos,the front office, and Showalter himself stuck there nose in situations which limited DD.Yes he made mistakes also and they always stand out because the detractors make sure they do.I think the jury will have to wait a little bit longer to see how some of DD’s acquisitions pan out.On another note it seems like Manny having a lot of influence on the Padres with them bringing in the coaches etc. and you saying Johnny Schoop may go there also.I like Kirby on a personal note as I believe the fans could relate to his bubbly personality and the fact that he did a good job overall.I kind of agree though with a complete housecleaning in order to start the process with a new beginning.

  10. Lookouts400

    November 4, 2019 at 11:30 am

    The Showalter/Duquette relationship issues were way over blown. Not uncommon for the two highest profile guys in an organization, both Type As, to butt heads. No two people see everything the same way.
    But just as people around here were glad to see MacPhail leave, we know that Andy did bring in some pretty good players; as the article says, the Orioles were a team on the rise. And we know that Duquette brought in some pretty good players, Rich named a few. Those guys will likely form the core of the next Orioles contenders. And just as Dan added to what Andy brought, Mike Elias will add to what Dan Duquette brought in. Maybe not this upcoming season, but I should think the year after that, the Orioles can start to think about reaching 500. This is all based on those young pitchers, some of them, at least, developing into solid MLers, Adley Rutschman having a better career than Matt Wieters, and two years of high round draft picks starting to show dividends. The Orioles have fascinating possibilities.

  11. Ekim

    November 4, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Rich… please note the lack of a comment from me… Just saying…

  12. Frank Howard LF-1B

    November 4, 2019 at 5:18 pm

    GM Duquette and Manager Showalter will always be Saint Dan and Saint Buck to me. They brought the Orioles out of the most disgusting funk in team history, and built an authentic winner. GM Dan D was supposed to wheel and deal because there was no other way. These two fine gentlemen deserved a far better fate than their 2017 Orioles season. Darth Angelos meddled and screwed up the franchise which was ably run by these two guys. And what a bunch of Merde that Duquette and Showalter were always butting heads. Just plain garbage. GM and Manager are natural opposites and they got on better than the “Comments Section” gave them credit for.

    Wish I were the Pirates President. I would have already inked GM Dan D to a five-year deal

  13. jimcarter

    November 5, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    The 60 somethings aren’t getting a lot of looks for jobs these days in major league baseball. Even with so many managerial openings, Buck still has a .000 batting average. Duquette is a longer shot, considering those 9 or so years he wasn’t part of the “show”. Two consecutive last place division finishes just doesn’t look good on a résumé. Age could work in their favor for another job, but they’re both about 10 years too young at this time. We do like our U.S. presidential candidates with lots of mileage, so I’d encourage them to hold out for that dream until they hit the prime age of 70.

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