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The Orioles liked what they saw in the 2012 season and have given monster contract extensions to the involved manager and general manager.
Rumors have been swirling about a pending contract extension for Orioles manager Buck Showalter for the past few weeks. Media reports indicated that it was inevitable that it would happen, and the discussions have picked up in the past couple of days. Showalter, whose contract was entering its final year, has certainly earned the extra time in Baltimore based on the team's improvement since he arrived.
Today, the Orioles threw a curveball, announcing not only Showalter's extension but one for Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette as well. The extensions run through the 2018 season, meaning that Showalter has picked up five years on top of his existing contract and Duquette has been given four additional years beyond 2014.
I don't think I saw a single report indicating that a Duquette extension was incoming, so for me, it's quite a surprise. The fact that the Orioles announced both simultaneously is a strong sign that Showalter and Duquette are each on board with working with the other. This is not guaranteed, of course, but you have to think that the two men believe they have a good working relationship and that will continue.
We've forgotten about the stories somewhat, but it's worth remembering that Showalter seemed to wear out his welcome in his previous managerial jobs, and one reason that was cited was conflicts with the GM - he wants some input in personnel decisions, and who wouldn't? We've all hoped that he mellowed out in his time cooling off as an ESPN analyst, and certainly based on 2012, he isn't close to reaching that point here in Baltimore.
The exact terms of the extensions were not immediately disclosed. Showalter is being paid $1.5 million per season on his existing contract, so he figures to get a raise on top of that. The most ridiculous manager contract currently in effect in baseball is that of Mike Scioscia of Anaheim, who signed a 10 year/$50 million deal covering the 2009-2018 seasons. I would be surprised if Showalter is getting Scioscia money, but something like $2.5 million a season is not out of the question.
As for Duquette, the man leads a charmed life. Out of baseball for a decade, he comes back for one season to take a job that was being ridiculed before he was hired - and was ridiculed even more, perhaps, based on his hire. He used the assets that he already had and brought in other players from anywhere he could find them. Many of these players, much like Duquette himself, were off the grid, under the radar, players who were basically being given a last chance as big leaguers.
Now Duquette is set for five more years. That's a pretty good deal for him. With greater job security, he may just be able to implement a long-term plan for the organization beyond just cobble together whatever he could for one crazy season. For better or worse, and hopefully it turns out for the better, the man in charge for that 2012 season, who is hanging on to almost the exact same roster to open up 2013, will be sticking around for a while.
There will be a press conference at the Warehouse on Thursday at 10 o'clock. The O's have aired their big press conferences on MASN in recent years. If they do the same here, stay tuned to Camden Chat for as faithful of a transcription as I can manage.
Over the 14 years of losing, it was a lack of stability that was one of the many signs of problems for the Orioles. Now the manager and the GM are both signed through 2018. Stability shouldn't be a problem for at least that long, and that, for once, is cool.