The Toronto Blue Jays have expressed interest in acquiring Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, but team managing partner Peter G. Angelos said the club is not letting its top front-office man leave.
Angelos said representatives of the Rogers Blue Jays Baseball Partnership have contacted the Orioles about acquiring Duquette to be its president and chief executive officer, but Angelos said Wednesday night that Duquette, who is signed through 2018, isn't going anywhere. It's similar to what Angelos said in December when Toronto's interest in Duquette first surfaced.
"That is not going to happen. There have not been any changes in the status of Dan Duquette. He is our GM and he is going to remain our GM," Angelos told The Baltimore Sun. "He is concentrating on his efforts to determine the composition of our team for 2015. That is the answer. Period."
Duquette did not return phone calls Wednesday and in the past has repeatedly sidestepped the issue, simply stating that he is with the Orioles and that's where his focus is.
Fox Sports reported Wednesday that the Orioles and Blue Jays have been negotiating a compensation package for Duquette, and that there was "growing optimism" that a deal would get done.
Not so, says Angelos.
"We are not negotiating with them in any way. They have expressed interest in Dan Duquette, which we understand because Dan is an exceptional GM. But we are not in any negotiations with Mr. Rogers," Angelos said. "We have a contract [with Duquette], and that's the end of it."
When asked if the Blue Jays offered specific names as compensation, Angelos said he was not aware of any. It would make sense that any negotiations would go through Angelos considering Duquette — who normally negotiates trades — could not be expected to deal for his own compensation.
When asked if there was any scenario in which the Orioles would accept compensation for Duquette — perhaps several highly regarded prospects — Angelos said: "Our position is what I've said. This is not something to negotiate. If they made an offer, we would look at it, but we are not intent on taking it. We are not engaging in any negotiation."
The sense is that the Orioles would have to be blown away to send Duquette to a division rival, and precedent does not suggest that the compensation would be that intriguing.
In 2012, when the Chicago Cubs hired Theo Epstein away from the Boston Red Sox to become president of baseball operations, the Red Sox received reliever Chris Carpenter in return. Carpenter pitched eight games for the Red Sox in 2012 and hasn't appeared in the major leagues since.
Regardless of compensation, it is believed within the Orioles organization that the Duquette issue never really went away after it was first reported in December, but ultimately would end with Duquette staying in Baltimore.
Duquette, 56, was hired by the Orioles in November 2011 after nearly a decade away from Major League Baseball. A former successful general manager of the Montreal Expos and Boston Red Sox, Duquette helped lead the Orioles to the playoffs in his first year at the helm in 2012 — the franchise's first postseason berth in 15 years.
After that performance, both Duquette and manager Buck Showalter were given extensions in the winter of 2012 that carry them through 2018. Last year, the Orioles won the American League East crown and advanced to the AL Championship Series for the first time since 1997 — garnering Duquette the Sporting News Executive of the Year Award and Showalter the Baseball Writers' Association of America AL Manager of the Year Award.
Because Duquette has four more seasons remaining on his current contract and has been extremely successful in his current post, Angelos said he wants Duquette to continue building his franchise. And he expects Duquette to honor that.
"He works for the Orioles. He has got a contract," Angelos said. "He is very sophisticated and he understands, respects and comprehends that."
If Duquette were to leave for any reason, the most likely scenario is that the Orioles would not hire a direct replacement, but Showalter and Brady Anderson, the club's current vice president of baseball, would pick up extra responsibilities. Duquette, Showalter and Anderson often work as a team on personnel issues. It's likely the Orioles would then hire someone — either internally or externally — to help facilitate Anderson and Showalter.
Although protocol in Major League Baseball is that employees of one team are generally allowed to seek a promotion with another, that doesn't mean the clubs have to honor those requests. The president/CEO would be considered a promotion for Duquette. The position doesn't exist in Baltimore; the CEO role is essentially held by Angelos and his family.
The Blue Jays' current CEO is Paul Beeston, who initially was expected to step down or retire before the 2015 season. However, the Toronto Sun reported in December that Beeston told a gathering of employees at a Christmas party that he was on board with the Blue Jays for 2015.