Baltimore Orioles: Duquette States Organizational Philosophy


Jul 20, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher T.J. McFarland (66) throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning at Coliseum. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Fans of the Baltimore Orioles are often frustrated by the deliberative and methodically slow process of building a team annually each offseason. There is the winter difficulty of watching rival teams with greater and seemingly unlimited resources snap up the current crop of most-coveted free agents.

It appears as if the Orioles are the “poor relatives” of MLB. In fact, the Birds are at about the exact mid-point in terms of payroll.

In Dan Duquette’s remarks to the Baltimore Orioles beat writers yesterday, he delineated just about the very best, concise statement of a philosophy of operation for the organization. It is not as if this contains any new revelations, but in a package of a few words there is a statement of methodology.

“Very rarely do we sign a high-profile free agent … We’re not about signing high-profile free agents. We’re about bringing good players through the farm system, we’re about making trades, we’re about being active in the Rule 5 drafts, signing international players. That’s who we are.”

If Orioles fans had a grasp of this (and perhaps truly believed the economic realities ungirding it), there would probably be less rumbling and grumbling about the slow process each winter.

So… the Orioles are about…

Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft

As stated by Duquette above, it is a certainty that the Orioles will be active in the Rule 5 Draft. They do it every year.

For some stats on this annual draft: in 2013 there were nine picks and three worked out; in 2012 there were 15 picks and six worked out; and in 2011 there were 12 picks and seven worked out.

Most organizations and general managers are not as interested in using the Rule 5 Draft as is Dan Duquette. It is difficult to maintain a player of this caliber on the 25-man roster for a whole year. This is especially true when a team is at the top end of performance with a fully-gifted roster that is “going for it” in terms of competing for the playoffs.

Unprotected Players Subject to being Drafted

Minor league prospects and RHPs Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson were added to the 40-man in mid-November in order to protect them. Exposed players would particularly be Brian Ward and Parker Bridwell in particular, and possibly Mychal Givens.

Of the three singled out above, Brian Ward is the most vulnerable (from the O’s perspective … tough he may well wish to get drafted). Defensively he is totally capable to serve well as a backup catcher in the majors, though his career minor league batting average is just .237.

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Parker Bridwell does not have amazing numbers and has been inconsistent, though he has a great arm and velocity that simply can’t be taught.

After the 2012 season, Givens switched from being a middle infielder to pitching. In two seasons he has a 3.82 ERA.  He is age 24 and was a second-round selection of the O’s in 2009.