Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Duquette Fiasco Leads to Awkward Season for O's

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Duquette Fiasco Leads to Awkward Season for O's

Article excerpt

SARASOTA

Just guessing, but Sunday probably wasn't a day of rest for Dan Duquette.

Maybe one of disappointment for the Baltimore Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations, maybe one of anger, resentment and resignation, or a combination of the four.

That's because the job Duquette coveted, president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays, evaporated like a puddle of water beneath the Florida sun. Unable to reach a compensation agreement with the Orioles, the Jays reportedly ended negotiations.

Baltimore signed Duquette to a four-year contract extension in 2013, so perhaps it was within the team's purview to request a king's ransom in return. Toronto was willing to surrender pitcher Jeff Hoffman, a 2014 first-round draft pick, but the O's wanted Hoffman, plus two more top prospects.

It could speak to the importance the team places on Duquette, hired in 2011. Baltimore made the playoffs in 2012 following 14 straight losing seasons. Last year the O's reached the ALCS.

But if Duquette wanted the Toronto job, and was prevented from getting it by what he might perceive were outrageous compensation demands, will Baltimore's top baseball guy be a happy camper when the Orioles report to Sarasota next month for spring training?

The Duquette situation, which one Baltimore scribe described as "toxic," was an off-the-field issue. On it, a new scorecard won't be needed this season for fans to figure who's wearing the Oriole threads.

The team lost outfielders Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, along with reliever Andrew Miller. The Orioles probably feel full seasons from Manny Machado, Matt Weiters and Chris Davis will make up for the loss of offense.

Some hold the belief a successful team one season needs tweaking before starting the next. The Orioles are maintaining the status quo. Of course, payroll may factor into the decision.

What would you call the ambition of folks well past their athletic prime trying to relive their baseball youth? If you said mission impossible, you're probably not far off. …

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