In an offseason marked with high-profile free agent departures from the Orioles, there might yet be one more loss to absorb. ESPN's Buster Olney reported on Sunday morning that the Blue Jays were seeking a replacement for their CEO, Paul Beeston, and that Dan Duquette was one of the candidates whom they had discussed.
One team's internal discussions where they covet another organization's asset is not news, but unfortunately for the O's, the story does not stop there. Ken Rosenthal added later on that, according to his sources, Duquette himself is interested in the Blue Jays position and that there are those within the O's organization who don't mind if he leaves. However, "Angelos is standing in the way."
That's a heck of a mess. Duquette is under contract through 2018. Baseball's winter meetings are coming up this week. If he is angling to leave, which we have not yet heard from his own mouth, how is he supposed to make decisions for the Orioles while possibly soon leaving for a divisional competitor?
Generally within baseball, teams don't stand in the way of their own front office or coaching talent leaving for a different organization for a promotion. The CEO of an organization is definitely a promotion over Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. That puts someone overseeing every aspect of the organization, rather than just making baseball decisions. It's a bigger deal even as it's a position that's less in the spotlight.
However, this isn't exactly like a bench coach becoming a manager. The O's would be within their rights to demand the contract be honored, or to demand some kind of compensation if Duquette did leave.
Of all the things I figured the Orioles would face this offseason, this was not one of them. Duquette was in the baseball wilderness before the O's brought him back. Why would he want to be anywhere else? I guess that's easy for me to say when it's not my career. Two playoff seasons out of three years later, when he took over an organization that hadn't even topped 70 wins in almost a decade, and it seems his services are more in demand.
When the story was only that the Blue Jays were discussing Duquette, that's not a very big deal. Now it could all be a big deal after all. Can the Orioles keep doing what they're doing with someone other than Duquette at the helm? Nothing is imminent yet, but now we've got to think about it. That's more than we had to worry yesterday.