The zombie story about the Toronto Blue Jays possibly being interested in hiring Dan Duquette away from the Orioles for the Jays CEO job still will not die. A month later it still craves brains. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on Wednesday that the O's and Jays have at least discussed possible compensation that would allow Duquette to leave to take that job. That would be necessary since Duquette is under contract with the O's until 2018.
It's never been entirely clear how seriously to take this whole thing as even more than most baseball rumors just about every report about it has been sourced vaguely and the information has not been very specific. In the case of today's story about "have discussed" - well, so what? Despite the full-throated insistence by O's owner Peter Angelos that Duquette would be remaining in Baltimore, he would be a fool not to at least ask what the Jays might be willing to send back to Baltimore if they really like Duquette that much.
If Angelos made that inquiry and Toronto gave him an answer that he didn't like, that still counts as them having discussed it, though it's not very serious in that case. Indeed, Rosenthal adds that the two sides are "not close" on a deal and he provides no indication that they continue to be actively discussing the situation on into today.
More interesting, and even more vague, is his further report from the last time this story was in the headlines that "some" in the Orioles organization want to see Duquette leave. The fact that anyone at all within the organization is agitating for Duquette's departure is weirder than anything they might leak to Rosenthal about the situation.
Is it a jealous subordinate who wants to move up the ladder? Someone who is convinced that Duquette now wants to have the CEO job and that he will never be happy or do his best in Baltimore? Is it a dopey intern who overheard a conversation while in the bathroom or found a paper on someone's desk who is leaping to conclusions? It could be someone else entirely, with a completely different motivation.
It is a thorny issue, because if it turns out that Duquette really would like to leave, how can we feel good about him doing his job as the Orioles GM (well, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations) if he'd rather be in Canada as the Chief Executive Officer of an Orioles divisional rival?
As important of a part as he has had in the O's rise up from the depths of the AL East, there becomes a point where forcing him to stick around could be counterproductive to the team's best interests, if he really wants to pursue the job with the greater responsibility elsewhere. The O's are likely handcuffed from trying to persuade him to stick around with a promotion because everyone ahead of Duquette on the organizational chart is named Angelos.
Maybe it will all amount to nothing, but the fact that it's a month later and we're still talking about it is worrisome.