This is an uncomfortable time for job speculation to be engulfing the guy who is supposed to be totally immersed in improving the Orioles for next season, especially when the other team involved is a close division rival that already has made some big moves in its attempt to jump over them in the standings.
Speculation that Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette could be leaving for Toronto was quelled Tuesday after a report that Blue Jays president and chief executive officer Paul Beeston would remain in his current position.
Uncertainty still exists about Dan Duquette's future in Baltimore as he remains the subject of reports that he is a top candidate to take a higher level position with the division rival Toronto Blue Jays.
Duquette said the Orioles were "fairly close a couple times" to re-signing Markakis, a homegrown player who has spent his entire nine-year major league career in Baltimore, but the club had a "concern that made the terms an issue for us."
The Orioles haven't given up on re-signing right fielder Nick Markakis, or as executive vice president Dan Duquette puts it: "We're still working on it. It's in process for the Orioles." But there's no question now that the competition is on.
If the point of the Orioles' recent renaissance is to get to the World Series, the emphasis this particular winter has to be on getting better rather than treading water and hoping to roll the dice again next October.
Among several meetings Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette had on Wednesday at the general manager meetings in Phoenix was one with the agent for longest-tenured Oriole and current free-agent Nick Markakis.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette appeared on MLB Network's "High Heat" with Christopher Russo on Wednesday afternoon from the general managers' meetings in Phoenix and addressed the club's hopes to retain free agents Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.
The Orioles didn't fall short of the World Series by much this year, and the obvious case can be made that the return of some key players will make them a stronger team in 2015. But this is no time to take the pedal off the metal.
Manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette plan to meet, along with team brass, to begin looking to next season. Pitchers and catchers are slated to return for spring training three months from Saturday, and the Orioles face many difficult roster decisions in the meantime.
As the Orioles prepared to leave the visitors' clubhouse Wednesday night after being swept in the American League Championship Series, they understood the harsh reality of today's industry: This group, in its entirety, will never again be together as a team.
Even if the Orioles end up losing to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series this week, there's a sense that the experience itself will help the club going forward -- especially for the younger players who didn't participate in the 2012 postseason.
The Orioles officially announced Thursday that they have signed shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year deal that includes a fourth-year option. The deal is worth $40 million for the first three years, according to a source.
Behind the scenes, the Orioles front office relies on a range of contributors, from old-school scouts who gauge talent by watching players compete to younger executives adept at the statistics-driven approach captured in "Moneyball," the best-selling book and motion picture.
One of the best things about being a sportswriter during a clinching celebration -- whether it's a division title like the Orioles captured Tuesday night or a World Series, which I've covered five times in my career -- is the ability to be in the middle of everything and observe.
After walking an early-inning tightrope, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez righted himself to retire 10 straight Toronto hitters, as the Orioles claimed their first AL East crown in 17 years with an 8-2 victory over the second-place Blue Jays.
In scouring the trade waiver wire, the Orioles hoped to add a left-handed bat to balance their righty-dominated lineup, and on Saturday, the Orioles accomplished that by acquiring veteran outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the Chicago White Sox.
The Orioles have until Sunday at midnight to add players from other organizations who can be eligible for their playoff roster. Club executive vice president Dan Duquette said he is still trying to make a move, but it's not easy to find a fit.
Having assisted dozens of organizations and co-written a book about organizational culture, it's clear to me the Orioles are showing us the elements necessary for any organization — business, government or nonprofit — to operate at its highest level.