It's still hard to characterize exactly what's going on in the "Dan Duquette to Toronto" controversy, but the Orioles have at least spoken with the Blue Jays about individual names now – and that takes this head-shaking situation a little further.
How much further is unknown, but the sense is it has more chance of happening now than it did several days ago.
But that still doesn't mean it is going to happen. It just could – got that?
In fact, the best sense is that if it does happen, it's still going to take some time, and is not imminent.
The background: A source confirmed Thursday that the Orioles and Blue Jays have discussed potential names for a compensation package that would send Duquette to Toronto to be the Blue Jays' next team president.
The names bandied about were not revealed, but the source called them "significant."
ESPN.com's Buster Olney reported that one name discussed was 22-year-old right-hander Jeff Hoffman, the ninth pick in last year's draft who received a $3.1 million signing bonus. Hoffman cannot be traded now – but potentially could be a player to be named later in a deal in the future – because MLB rules prohibit a signed draft pick from being dealt within a year of the draft in which he was selected.
Typically, there has not been much compensation given when an executive leaves one team for another. One high-profile example of this was when Theo Epstein joined the Chicago Cubs from the Boston Red Sox in 2012, and the Red Sox received fringe reliever Chris Carpenter as compensation.
Any discussion about Orioles-Blue Jays compensation is likely being negotiated between Edward Rogers III of Rogers Communications and Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos. The fact that names have been discussed shows that Angelos is at least more willing to listen about parting with Duquette – though the Orioles owner has been adamant in the recent past that he expects Duquette to honor the four years remaining on his contract.
Sources said previously that Angelos would have to be blown away with a compensation package to make the transaction happen – and the sense is that Toronto wouldn't meet such needs.
Duquette has remained mum on that matter. He and Orioles manager Buck Showalter are expected to be in Boston Thursday night for that chapter's BBWAA dinner; Duquette is being honored by the Boston group as Executive of the Year and Showalter will receive the chapter's Manager of the Year Award. So there could be some interesting dinner conversation there.
Another thing is at play here, too. There's a sense that if Duquette stays and the issue goes away, the Orioles could file tampering charges against the Blue Jays over this whole ordeal. So it might be more enticing for the Blue Jays to increase its compensation offer to avoid tampering charges. Obviously, if Duquette were dealt to Toronto, the Orioles' tampering argument would become moot since they would have complied with the acquisition.
All of this comes on the heels of a report Wednesday that suggested the Blue Jays would keep president Paul Beeston through the 2015 season – which would make a deal for Duquette this year unlikely.
In other words, stay tuned.