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All hail Dan Duquette?

Oct 1, 2012, 9:13 AM EDT

Dan Duquette AP

The comments are a fertile place for discussion topics this morning.  This one comes from rockthered1286 in the And That Happened thread, giving kudos to Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette for pushing buttons to give this team Nate McLouth, Jim Thome, Omar Quintanilla, Manny Machado, Randy Wolf and Joe Saunders.

I’ll grant him Machado as a good move before it was made and after, and one that some GMs wouldn’t have made. And I’ll note that not all of those guys have performed well for the O’s (i.e. Wolf), but man, how often do a series of moves involving guys like that, either in age or talent, bring about a playoff appearance? Who said when any of those guys were acquired that yes, now, the Orioles are going to the playoffs? No one, obviously.

I don’t want to oversell the “Orioles are lucky!” angle because (a) it doesn’t matter now because the wins and the playoffs are in the bank; and (b) it’s been beaten to death. However, to say that the 2012 Baltimore Orioles have not been the beneficiaries of good fortune and all manner of happy shiny phenomenon would be to miss the essence of the season.  And as far as I’m concerned, it’s what makes it all the more special and fun.

In other news: if your team isn’t playing the O’s in a playoff series, how can you not root for them?

  1. Old Gator - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:18 AM

    It’s the difference between Einstein himself and the Special and General Theories of Relativity. Peter Angelos is the genius who thought Duquette up. Duquette is the theory. These ballplayers and their hitherto unsuspected properties are the corollaries. The season and the postseason is the experiment that will prove or disprove all of it.

    • stex52 - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:28 AM

      I’m picking up a pattern here. Let me guess: you are not an Angelos fan and sarcasm is your tool :-)

      But to carry your thesis forward: Randy Wolf must be the equation that Einstein divided by zero to make all the other stuff work. Therein lie black holes. Let’s hope the Orioles don’t fall into one.

  2. deathmonkey41 - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    If the Yankees are out of it, I”ll root for the birds- if for nothing else than to see Buck get a ring.

  3. paperlions - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    This good fortune could be among the worst things that could happen, they will serve as “evidence” that such moves are a good idea rather than evidence that over a small sample size just about anything can happen (e.g. McLouth suddenly not being horrible). This may result in the O’s making similar moves in upcoming years, and the likelihood that such moves work out in the future is the same as it was this year: small.

    • bmorelikeme - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      One thing I think you’re overstating is the success rate of these players. The 2012 Orioles started the season with a number of holes in the roster. Duquette recognized this and brought in as many players as possible. He convinced a huge number of veterans to sign minor league deals at Norfolk, by assuring them a chance at the show as long as they performed. Yes, we have made the playoffs behind guys like McLouth, Saunders and Quintanilla. But we also cycled through guys like Dontrelle Willis, Steve Tolleson, JC Romero etc. Buck deserves a fair amount of credit as he tinkered with hundreds of roster combinations, before settling on the current squad that we’ve had down the stretch.

      Also, I’d like to note the current roster, since August 3rd, has a 37-16 record and +73 run differential. These guys are good!

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        Also, I’d like to note the current roster, since August 3rd, has a 37-16 record and +73 run differential. These guys are good!

        The one thing people can’t seem to understand, especially when referencing the pythag, is that in the beginning of the year the Orioles starting pitching wasn’t good (it isn’t the best now either, but I digress). However, the bullpen has been outstanding which is why they are winning a ton of close games. Now, going into next year it’s possible they’ll all face a bit of regression, but who knows what other aspects of the game might step up? Maybe Jones takes another step forward? Maybe Machado starts the year in the bigs instead of in MiLB? Maybe Bundy comes up earlier than Sept?

        Lots of upside on this team for the future.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        And for those who doubt how good the bullpen actually is, we get this tweet:

        the link points to this fangraphs page:

        http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=0&type=3&season=2012&month=0&season1=1970&ind=1&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

  4. kiwicricket - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    A season of such panache, how can you not like the Orioles at this stage?

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:23 AM

      They pummeled my boys and I still like them. I wasn’t expecting this performance this season, but hell: its about time all that young talent, great managing and terrific bullpen gelled into something. They won’t win the League but they’ll take the AL East (hoping, praying) and make a serious run at the division. Good luck O’s.

  5. brewcrewfan54 - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    I don’t know if you hail the guy but he certainly isn’t the worst GM out there and definitely doesn’t get the credit he deserves for at least Bostons’ 04′ World Series.

    • mazblast - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      Boston’s 2004 success was all Theo Epstein. Duquette, the players Duquette brought in, Francona–None of them had anything to do with it. It was all The Great God Theo. He did it all. Manny, Ortiz, Schilling–it was really Theo. This is Known Fact, never to be questioned.

  6. randomdigits - Oct 1, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    While you are busy calling them lucky, keep in mind the injuries that necessitated moves like McLouth, Thome and Quintanilla.

    Roberts 17 Games played
    Reimold 16 Games played
    Markakis had his hand broken twice

    ect, ect, ect

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

      Roberts has played in 115 games over the last three seasons. I doubt they counted on him to do anything this year. But point taken, they have faced injuries, just like every other team has…

    • kiwicricket - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:18 AM

      Who is this ‘Roberts’ person you speak of?

      • mazblast - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

        A dread pirate.

      • stex52 - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:35 PM

        I hadn’t seen a “Princess Bride” reference in several weeks. Thank you for filling that hole in all of our lives.

  7. doubleogator - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

    Give Dan Duquette credit, he is a good GM and I believe he got a bad rap when he was in Boston…Go Birds!

  8. rockthered1286 - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Thanks for the mention Craig!

    Another thing that’s being brushed under the rug in these “lucky” conversations: the coaching. How many times in many different sports have we heard “He just needs the right coach to get him in line?” Could it possibly be a bit of “right place, right coach, right time” combination that’s making this work? Perhaps the coaching staff in place now has the ability to get the best out of these players where they were lacking in the past (ie- McLouth’s bat or Reynold’s glove at first which is suddenly remarkable). Unlikely it all clicks at once? Sure, but it’s not inconceivable…

    I’d also like to point out the Buck stat: I wish I could remember the exact numbers here but it’s something like “in Buck Showalter’s last 3 teams, he’s come in to a team with a sub-.500 record and by his second FULL year as bench boss has taken them to the playoffs.” Or something along those lines. It was mildly discussed in spring training in Baltimore, but nobody took it seriously. And yet here we are…

    • cur68 - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I seem to recall making this point last season about Showalter, but I could be engaging in a little ego-trip memory construction here. But, regardless of my failing grey matter, I agree about Showalter: his record with the Rangers, D-backs & the Yankees are pretty solid for 2nd season results. Once he can get management to buy into the moves he wants, and to get the players he thinks he needs, his teams seem to do pretty well. I sure expected him to turn them around last season, but sometimes to create, you gotta destroy, right? He had that club playing awful ball all last season till he got some bullpen help, got some fundamental baseball solidified, and saw his potential stars start to emerge. Remember how they finished the season last year? They played pretty well to close it out. Now, I was expecting them to be better this season and NEVER saw this coming, but Showalter as a great manager? Yeah that one I could believe.

  9. xpensivewinos - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    So Duquette was out of the game for what, 10 years? And Valentine hadn’t managed in the big leagues for what, 10 years?

    Seems like that gamble paid off well for one team. The other……….not so much.

    • brianforster - Oct 1, 2012 at 11:46 AM

      even better when you consider valentine withdrew his name from consideration for the orioles gig

  10. Loose Changeup - Oct 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    via @benbadler and @dastudes: O’s bullpen WPA maybe highest in MLB history, by 2 wins:
    http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=rel&lg=all&qual=0&type=3&season=2012&month=0&season1=1970&ind=1&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

    O’s fans will recall The Cavalry, the Young Arms that MacPhail spent years growing, only to watch them flame out as starters (Matusz, Arrieta, Tillman). Tillman stuck as a starter, but Duq sent Matusz and Arrieta to the pen this year.

    OPSa as starter/reliever:
    Arrieta (.770/.649)
    Matusz (.874/.368)

    Also, who found Miguel Gonzalez toiling in obscurity in the Mexican Leagues? Great find!

  11. foreverchipper10 - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    You can point to whatever you want for the reason the O’s had success this year. I know the real reason…..they went back to the cartoon bird logo. All hail that sweet, glorious logo.

  12. watermelon1 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    All anyone kept saying this season was “obviously the Orioles are just lucky and getting calls. Look at the run differential… it’s negative!”

    Now that the Orioles have turned the run differential positive… people have no idea what to say, and still want to completely ignore that while there are no “superstars” that teams would be scared enough to “pitch around” or intentionally walk… they’ve got a bunch of above average guys, and plenty of depth defensively. The starting pitching is a little shallow, but winning brings confidence… which is new to this team. I imagine them only getting better in that department and in big moments.

    And with winning…. free agents and no-trade clauses suddenly don’t mind coming to Baltimore. Especially to play for Showalter.

    I’d say the only real way Baltimore got “lucky” this year is the majority of talent stayed healthy most of the season.

    And if you want to see a college football gameday atmosphere… just wait for the first playoff game in Camden Yards. The nest will be rocking’!

  13. husky2score - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    You made some good points, but its not the “nest”. It’s the Yard, bro. And it will be rocking to the tune of Seven Nation Army, Baltimore’s song. Can’t wait!!!

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