By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
9:41 PM EST, January 16, 2013
For weeks, the Orioles have been on the precipice of announcing a lengthy extension for manager Buck Showalter.
They finally did on Wednesday night — but added a twist.
Both Showalter, 56, and executive vice president Dan Duquette, 54, have agreed to contract extensions that will run through the 2018 season — meaning, theoretically, they will be together for six more seasons.
The duo teamed to produce a 93-win Orioles club that made the postseason for the first time since 1997 and beat the Texas Rangers in a one-game wild-card playoff before losing to the New York Yankees in a five-game American League Division Series.
“These are two highly accomplished, experienced baseball veterans who, in short order, have brought winning baseball back to Baltimore. They have done a fantastic job,” said Louis Angelos, representative of club ownership and son of managing partner Peter Angelos. “It sort of felt right for everybody.”
Showalter, who signed a three-plus-year deal with the Orioles in August 2010, was heading into the final season of his contract. Duquette, who was hired in November 2011, had a three-year deal that would have expired at the end of 2014. Showalter’s extension is five years; Duquette’s is four.
“That’s what you want, that consistency,” said Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis, who has watched five managers and three top executives leave since he was drafted in 2003. “It’s tough having a revolving door and people coming in and doing their things in a different way. If you look at Buck and Dan, they have track records and backgrounds of being successful. To have them both working with you and working for the organization, it’s a big relief.”
The club, which will hold a 10 a.m. news conference Thursday at Camden Yards to address the extensions, does not release the salaries of non-player personnel. But an industry source said both Duquette and Showalter received deals that were “market to slightly above market value.”
Showalter’s extension will put him in the top quarter of big-league managers, at an annual value that’s somewhat less than $3 million per season over the length of the deal, according to the source. He previously made approximately $1.5 million per season.
Throughout the process, Showalter has deflected discussion about the negotiations, saying he was content with his contract for 2013 and that he didn’t want to take attention away from the team and its players. Expectedly, he downplayed the news Wednesday night.
“It doesn’t change anything for me personally as far as the way I approach my job, does it?” Showalter said. “I try to grind each day like I want someone who works for me to do, and just see where it takes us. People that are always looking to their next job aren’t doing what they are supposed to be doing. I tell my coaches all the time, ‘Do the job well and in a way that you don’t have to worry about [the future].’”
This is Showalter’s fourth big league managerial job — none of the previous three lasted more than four full seasons. Before he was hired here, there were whispers that Showalter’s exacting attention to detail and lack of an “off button” eventually wears out his welcome. But that was of no concern to an organization that has had nine managers since the Angelos family took over in 1993.
“That wasn’t even a thought,” Louis Angelos said. “Baseball is a small universe of people, and sometimes people are unfairly tagged or whatever. But I think he just fit from the beginning. And it’s just a great feeling to have guys like Buck and Dan, and to just know you have the right mix of people.”
Duquette, who could not be reached for comment, was a surprise hire by the Orioles last offseason. He had been out of major league baseball since being fired by the new regime in Boston before the beginning of the Red Sox’s 2002 regular season.
But like in Boston and with the Montreal Expos, Duquette quickly had success with the Orioles, bringing in players such as Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Nate McLouth for the club’s playoff season.
“Dan has a deep knowledge of players throughout the league and the world,” Angelos said. “And he is always thinking about how to improve the team.”
Duquette has not made a big splash in the free agent market. His boldest move so far was to sign All-Star center fielder Adam Jones to a six-year, $85.5 million extension in May — the largest deal in club history.
“I’m excited to hear about Buck and Dan’s contract extensions. Knowing Buck will be our manager for many years to come makes me even more glad that I signed my contract last year,” Jones said in a statement. “We made progress in 2012, but our goal is always the World Series and this announcement is only going to help us be better in the future.”
The club’s core — signed through at least 2014 — includes Jones, Markakis, shortstop J.J. Hardy, third baseman Manny Machado, closer Jim Johnson and catcher Matt Wieters.
“I think this is the best possible thing for the organization,” said Hardy, who signed a three-year extension in 2011. “Buck was big part of the reason I wanted to stay and Dan did a lot last year. And together I’m sure they’ll be able to do a lot more in the next five years.”
Wieters said he had anticipated the long-term deal for Showalter, but he was pleasantly surprised that ownership committed to both men.
“It’s something in pro sports you rarely see happen. And, speaking from a player’s point of view, it’s something you like to see,” Wieters said. “These two signings are setting the precedent that we’re not just looking to have a couple good years, but we want to be a great franchise.
“And that’s what ownership wants to do and what the players want to do. That every year we have our sights set on a World Series and that can be a feasible goal.”
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