Baltimore Orioles GM Dan Duquette Offers a Glimpse at the Future

The Baltimore Orioles are now officially rebuilding, as Manny Machado has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Dan Duquette came out and said it last night.

Some may say this should have happened to the Baltimore Orioles a long time ago. Others are sad to see Machado go. It is ok to feel both.

However, the one thing we can all agree on is that the Orioles need to start over.

Dan Duquette said as much in his press conference with local media on Wednesday night.

Now, the Orioles and Duquette have both been known to talk out both ends, so how much of this is talk to appease the fan base, and how much of it will be meaningful moving forward, is yet to be determined.

Let’s start by examining what he said about trades leading up to the July 31 deadline.

We’re going to take a look at trading the veteran players. Our veteran players have done a nice job for us, but the ones that are nearing free agency, I think we need to evaluate our club going forward and at this time of year, the competitors are looking for the veteran players who have been seasoned in pennant races, as have our players. And we’re going to look to maximize that opportunity on the market and try to find as many good, young players as we can to deepen our farm system.” – all quotes from MASN’s Roch Kubatko

On the surface, this means trading guys like Zach Britton, Adam Jones, Brad Brach, Danny Valencia,

Other players whose contracts expire this year are Chris Tillman, Craig Gentry and Colby Rasmus. None of them are wanted, at least not with Gentry hurt. And, none of them will be in Baltimore next year.

But, what about guys who are only signed through 2019? The list is actually pretty short. Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop, Andrew Cashner, Darren O’Day.

O’Day won’t be traded, as he is out for the year. But, could the other three? Cashner has pitched better than his numbers indicate, but my guess is the Orioles will keep him, as they are having trouble filling the rotation as it is.

Trading Trumbo, as I have advocated for months, would make sense. It would move Trey Mancini out of the outfield and put him at either first base or designated hitter, and would also get Trumbo out of the outfield.

This would allow the Orioles’ outfield to be less of a logjam and allow young guys like DJ Stewart and Cedric Mullins time to prove themselves, and also offer starting opportunities entering 2019 for those two, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander, newly acquired Yusniel Diaz and others.

Schoop is another option, as his play has rebounded significantly lately.

If the Orioles really want to rebuild, considering moving these players this year would be a good move. Let’s be honest, this team doesn’t look like it will be competing in 2019, so there is no reason to keep these guys.

“In conjunction with that, we’re also going to be making significant investments this offseason in technology and analytics. We’re going to become more active on the international market and invest in our facilities and strengthen our overall baseball operation. That’s part of a plan that we have to have to get the Orioles back to competitiveness. But this is just the first step in a new direction…It’s a plan that we’ve been working on for a while. We have the support of ownership and the people that have made the recommendations to advance in these areas, they’re on board.

It’s a multi-dimensional plan. You have to do a number of things well to compete in professional sports, but we had identified the areas that we needed to improve in – technology, international scouting, facilities, the draft, strengthening our analytics, investing in our international scouting, investing in more front office staff to be more in line with our competitors, expanding our nutrition and wellness resources at every level of the organization. So those are areas that were identified that we can improve in and the ownership understands those are areas that we need to put more resources into.

It. Is. About. Time.

Oriole fans see this as fantastic news. I think some of the recent moves indicate a clear changing of the guard with the franchise, but this certainly does. The Angelos boys have certainly taken over. While I don’t expect the Orioles to throw tons of money at the top prospects internationally, the fact they will participate will be extremely beneficial.

I think their recent hiring of COO of business Operations John Vidalin, who has worked in every major sport, shows the team is going to work to be innovative as far as using technology, analytics, and getting fans in seats. Vidalin comes from the Miami Heat, who deeply use analytics and also make games an event people want to attend, whether they are sports fans or not.

As far as facilities, most would argue that the Orioles have excellent facilities at the major league and spring training levels. However, there have been rumors of major renovations to Camden Yards, and this seems to indicate that could be the case.

The other part that really intrigues me is the nutrition and wellness. Sometimes, Oriole players seem to struggle with the psychological part of the game. Players like Mike Wright Jr. and Chris Davis come to mind first. By taking care of total wellness and emphasizing that, it will allow the Orioles to take advantage of modern technology, and modern science.

All of this also points to running the Orioles more like a business, with a multi-pronged front office. The COO of business operations is already in place, who would oversee improvements to the stadium, marketing and other facets.

Could Brady Anderson take on a role as Vice President of Player Development, overseeing the nutrition and wellness, two things he emphasizes in his work with players during the offseason, but also the coaching and tutelage aspect of younger players, other work that he has been known to do?

This could make a role for Duquette as the Vice President of Baseball Operations. Duquette would remain in charge of the actual makeup of the team, with input from Anderson. He would be in charge of overseeing international scouting, Gary Rajsich, the Director of Amateur Scouting, and the on-the-field operation.

Another potential role for a young mind for a Vice President of Research and Development. The Orioles already have a Director of Analytics and Major League Contracts, Sarah Gelles. You probably haven’t heard of her, and analytics is a touchy subject in conversations with Buck Showalter.

It is clear, in looking at the Orioles’ front office structure versus, say Philadelphia, that the Orioles have work to do in the front office to build it out.

Could that lead to another person in the Executive Vice President role that Duquette currently holds? And if so, is Buck Showalter, who has the trust and support of the Angelos family, a consideration for that position.

The one thing that is easy to admit is that the Orioles have realized they need to take a number of steps to move forward, on the field and off the field.

That is good news. Now, we will watch what moves are made to that effect moving forward.

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