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  1. #1
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    HHP: Duquette's Risky Plan

    Dan Duquette has a plan. It is not the plan that many wanted. Prince Fielder is not part of that plan, neither is trading Adam Jones or Jeremy Guthrie. No, but Duquette has a plan.

    And it is very risky.

    Looking at the moves Duquette has made this offseason I think it is pretty clear, he still believes in the talent that is on this roster. I made this comment at fanfest: "If Brian Matusz [et al] played at the level we expected them to play, then MacPhail would still be here..."; etc etc. I only now realize how true those words are, because I think the O's GM feels the same way.

    Duquette has spent all offseason augmenting a bench, flooding the minor leagues and plumbing the depths of South Korea and even New Zealand for fresh talent. The biggest acquisition so far, the Taiwanese starter Chen Wei-Yin, is seen by many to be little more than a middle of the rotation starter. Duquette obviously believes that the Orioles true elite pitcher is currently on the roster in the form of either Matusz, Zack Britton or Jake Arrieta.

    Duquette isn't dumb, he knows what the team's problems were last year, pitching and defense. If you believe, as I think he does, that those three pitchers mentioned above still have the elite-level talent that was advertised in the Winter of 2011 then you don't need ot break the bank on a guy like CJ Wilson. Instead, what did Duquette do? He filled in the support roles around them. He went out and hired Rick Peterson to act as some kind of system-wide pitching guru; he hired Brady Anderson to be his apparent second-in-command bringing all of the pitchers to focus on strength, conditioning and endurance. Duquette has brought in a seemingly endless stream of middling starter/ reliever type pitchers to provide support and hopefully cobble together a stronger bullpen than last year.

    The defense was awful last year. What does Duquette do? Brings in defensive players in Matt Antonelli, Jai Miller, Endy Chavez and Taylor Teagarden. On-base percentage was among the lowest in the league? Signs Wilson Betemit in an almost Beane-like move to be a primary DH with a high OBP. The power on this team will be coming from Reynolds, Jones, Matt Weiters and JJ Hardy. Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold both have a lot of power potential and both will get their chances as they will be the likely starters at first base and left field going into the season.

    Yeah, its from my blog - not trying to drum up traffic here but I genuinely want to get a sense of how people feel about this.

    Let's assume that this is what Duquette is doing, does this theory hold any water? Is Duquette crazy? How long do you think Duquette will wait to see if this plan works? What do you think his next step will be?


  2. #2
    Sports Guy's Avatar
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    It doesn't hold water because he has tried to do larger things and has failed at doing them.

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    It's a good plan. I'm very excited to see how the young guys perform this year. It was a very moneyball offseason. I think 75 wins is the most likely outcome, but I like the fact that Duquette has higher hopes.

    What larger things has he tried SG?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports Guy View Post
    It doesn't hold water because he has tried to do larger things and has failed at doing them.
    Like what?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony-OH View Post
    Like what?
    He was obviously in on Fielder...was obviously shopping Jones.

    Those are 2 examples.

    Now, I am not saying he is in the wrong for failing...Obviously we shouldn't have beaten the Fielder deal and at this point, we don't know what happened with Jones but still, he obviously tried, so that means that SJ's theory isn't really correct.

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    Obviously Duq wanted to do more than he has but I think SJ's assertion is essentially correct. It appears Duq believes the core, as it exists, is intact and only needs augmentation, rather than rebuild.

    I don't know it I agree with what Duq appears to be doing, but he certainly knows more about it than I do so he gets the benefit of my doubts. For now.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports Guy View Post
    He was obviously in on Fielder...was obviously shopping Jones.

    Those are 2 examples.

    Now, I am not saying he is in the wrong for failing...Obviously we shouldn't have beaten the Fielder deal and at this point, we don't know what happened with Jones but still, he obviously tried, so that means that SJ's theory isn't really correct.
    Don't forget EJax.

    Duquette wasn't shopping Jones either, just countering offers...

    What Duquette has done is create competition. The roster doesn't have a ton of talent, so he's brought in comparable talent to light a fire under all the players butts.

    Just about everybody is playing for their job now. Reimold just has to slip a bit, and boom he'll be replaced by Jai Miller or Endy Chavez. If Chris Davis can't cut it, Wilson Betemit will take his job.

    And this especially true in the rotation and bullpen.

    Duquette has brought in so many arms, Matusz and Tillman might be competing for their spots in Norfolk if they don't watch it.

    He's hoping by making them earn their spots that he'll get the best out of what we have. I'm not sold that's going to work, but that's what he's got at this point.
    Last edited by JTrea81; 02-04-2012 at 02:51 PM.

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    I don't deny that Diquette sees potential in our young pitchers, but I also think he took his cue from Buck. So in that sense the moves have been joint decisions. BTW, I completely agree with what he is doing and am thoroughly impressed by the speed with which he has initiated his plan.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports Guy View Post
    He was obviously in on Fielder...was obviously shopping Jones.

    Those are 2 examples.

    Now, I am not saying he is in the wrong for failing...Obviously we shouldn't have beaten the Fielder deal and at this point, we don't know what happened with Jones but still, he obviously tried, so that means that SJ's theory isn't really correct.
    Well, that depends on how you defined "tried".

    What I believe happened, is Atlanta called him, and said we'll give you Package X. And he said "No, we like Jones. If you want him, you're going to have to give Package Y." I don't think that constitutes "trying" to trade Jones. I think if that counts as trying to trade him, then they're trying to trade everyone. I think if a team offered a great value for any player on the Orioles roster, then Duquette would pull the trigger.

    Same thing with Fielder. I imagine they set a number that they would go to for Prince, and Detroit went wayyy over it.

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    I think it would be a much bigger risk to assume that Matusz, Britton, and Arrieta are busts, and blow the team up. now. I think his plan is to see if they make significant progress this season, especially Matusz. If they do, then we are most likely a .500 team that some FA spending next fall will bring close to contention. If they don't, we have risked postponing the firesale/rebuild by 4-5 months. There are other thing s we need to find out this year. Can Davis be a productive 1B? Can Reynolds bring his 3B defense to an acceptable level? Can Chen and Wada make the transition from NPB to MLB and be at least serviceable? Can Markakis give us his 2011 June 10 - on, numbers for a whole season? Has Jones rached his ceiling? It would be a huge risk, IMO to assume the answers to these questions are no, at this point in time, and proceed from there.
    Last edited by El Gordo; 02-04-2012 at 02:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JTrea81 View Post
    Don't forget EJax.

    Duquette wasn't shopping Jones either, just countering offers...
    Sure he was...your source has zero credibility.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports Guy View Post
    He was obviously in on Fielder...was obviously shopping Jones.

    Those are 2 examples.

    Now, I am not saying he is in the wrong for failing...Obviously we shouldn't have beaten the Fielder deal and at this point, we don't know what happened with Jones but still, he obviously tried, so that means that SJ's theory isn't really correct.
    He was only in on Fielder if the price was not outrageous (it was) so I'm not sure how you can say he failed there. If he was actively shopping Jones, and I'm not convinced he was, he was looking for a certain type of take. If that wasn't there, I'm not sure how you can call it a failure.

    Duquette's plan all along has been to fix the core of the organization through scouting development and I think he made some significant strides considering he got the job late and not everyone I'm sure he wanted was available. He spent money on the international market and got the top top Asian pitcher (Chen) not named Darvish.

    At the end of the day, he feels this team has the ability to win more games than it loses. Honestly, coming off a 69-win season and 14 losing seasons, I'm pretty sure all of us will take that. He wants to build a core and then spend. Once the core is established I think the Orioles will become players in the high end free agency market, but they're not there yet.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports Guy View Post
    He was obviously in on Fielder...was obviously shopping Jones.

    Those are 2 examples.

    Now, I am not saying he is in the wrong for failing...Obviously we shouldn't have beaten the Fielder deal and at this point, we don't know what happened with Jones but still, he obviously tried, so that means that SJ's theory isn't really correct.
    We really don't know how hard DD was "shopping" Jones. I am sure he was listening to many offers, the same any GM would. I get the feeling that if he really wanted to move Jones I am sure he would he would have made a deal.

    Fielder is a no-brainer, any GM would have loved to have a player like him on their team. I don't think the theoretical signing of Fielder would have invalidated my theoretical "plan".

    Speaking to EJax, let's not make him out to be some sort of stud-lockdown pitcher simply because he chose a one-year-deal in DC. If this team has a true number one pitcher in 2012 it wouldn't have been Jackson, it will be one of Britton, Matusz or Arrieta. An EJax signing would have been a good move to solidify and augment a rotation with very volatile young talent, thus fitting into my perception of his plan.
    Last edited by SilentJames; 02-04-2012 at 02:55 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sports Guy View Post
    Sure he was...your source has zero credibility.
    My source is the reporters who have said Duquette wasn't actively shopping Jones and just countering offers.

    They've been right so far...

  15. #15
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    Severe budget constraints could also account for a lot of Duquette's strategy so far.

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