|O's Need Plenty from Duquette||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on November 14, 2011
After 10 years since being the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Dan Duquette was hired as the executive vice president of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles. In the early going, he has stressed that the Orioles as the "fans' team" and that he is ready for the challenge of curbing the stretch of the team's 14 straight losing seasons.
But rebuilding the Orioles seems like a daunting task.
The team just hasn't been the same since Cal Ripken retired. Though he was included in the final few seasons of the losing streak, the team had a different feel when the Hall of Famer was there.
The Orioles actually gained a bit of hope midway through 2010. The team brought in Buck Showalter as its manager and closed out the season that gave them the best record of any team over that stretch.
But the table-setter Roberts only played in 39 games, Lee wound up being dealt at the trade deadline, and none of these players were able to have a consistent season.
The main problem of the team all year was its pitching. The goal was for Baltimore's young arms to all click at the same time with very little experience. Well, that didn't happen.
Jeremy Guthrie was supposed to be the team's ace, but 9-17 doesn't sound like an ace. Lefty Brian Matusz showed flashes of greatness in 2010, but an injury-ravaged season led to a 1-9 record.
Rookie Zach Britton got off to a roaring start, but poor run support and the tribulations of being a rookie caught up to him as he finished 11-11.
Based on the current roster, Dan Duquette has plenty of work to do. As of now, the Orioles are buried in the cellar of the AL East. The Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and even Blue Jays all will look to get even better.
The thing Duquette has on his side is the luxury of having some money to spend. The next step will be luring a few free agents to Baltimore. Can Duquette convince some talented players that the Orioles are poised to experience a turnaround?
It will start with pitching. Veteran lefties Mark Buehrle and C.J. Wilson are on the market and would instantly become the ace of the Orioles' young staff. But based on the market, Duquette might be in a position where he has to overpay -- both price and years -- for one of these pitchers. The Orioles are likely to address several needs, so it may not be wise to throw all their funds into one barrel.
Next season, Duquette might just try to move forward with what the team has, only adding minor additions. The team brought in Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter from the Rangers in the Koji Uehara trade, and both could be impact players.
So, while the team certainly has some talented players on the roster, now they have to perform up to their potential. However, when 76 games are played within the division, this could be a difficult task.
For Duquette, the first priority will be pitching. Whether he wants to give a few of the young guys like Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta and Jo-Jo Reyes another shot or bring in some proven veterans remains to be seen.
Duquette once signed Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez to long-term deals, so he has the negotiation skills in working with big-time clients. But then again, the Red Sox had a lot more going for them than Orioles.
It will be interesting to watch Duquette go to work this offseason. While Baltimore may not see significant change in 2012, Duquette can re-plant the seeds of competitive Orioles baseball.