The Orioles were summarily swept out of Boston this weekend finally choking out the last dying gasps of their playoff chances. Of course, after getting shut out for three straight games, the world watched Jake Arrieta dominate on the mound and hit a home run for good measure. It was a nice little 24-hour encapsulation of everything that has gone wrong for the Orioles in 2015.
As so happens, when expectations are not met, people become upset. And when people get upset they talk to reporters. No fewer than three different national baseball writers have reported on strife in the Orioles front office. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN have all in the past month essentially reported the same thing. Dan Duquette's dalliances with the Toronto Blue Jays in the off season and owner Peter Angelos' unwillingness to let Duquette go have made for a discordant front office.
The tropes have been consistent throughout. As the team has failed Duquette has been called into question on his loyalty to the team, his inability to replace on the field and clubhouse leaders, and parts of the organization that have failed. Most notably, minor league pitching coordinator Rick Peterson--who, between Duquette and himself have some atypical theories on pitching--and his level of control over a pitching development program that has not developed a pitcher.
Into this environment steps Brady Anderson. I want to be clear. I have no sources and little evidence. This is probably best described as a conspiracy theory more than anything else. Yet, I still believe that Brady Anderson will be the next General Manager (or whatever stupid title baseball teams can come up with these days) of the Baltimore Orioles.
Brady Anderson is the current Vice President for Baseball Operations while Dan Duquette is the Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations. The title inflation in baseball is truly amazing. Regardless, think of Duquette as the GM and Anderson as the Assistant GM. Anderson is most famous for his playing as an Oriole, ranked as the 11th best Orioles player of all time by Camden Chat back in 2014. He joined the Orioles front office in 2012 as a special assistant to Dan Duquette.
He started off mostly doing what most special assistants do: whatever they are best at. For Brady Anderson, that thing was player fitness. He held off season workouts and helped some players rehab. However, his record and title have only grown. By 2013, a year later, Anderson was promoted to the Assistant GM. In the Orioles front office chart he is right below Dan Duquette. The second in command.
So why Brady Anderson? Well, he has been with the organization for a long time. It appears that owner Peter Angelos is fond of him due to his recent promotions. Furthermore, if continuity was the goal, if for some reason Duquette moved on, then hiring someone who has learned right under him for the past four seasons would be a good start.
Anderson has already shown some more attributes of being an actual AGM and not merely a special assistant. He helped hire the hitting coach, he has spoken about his player evaluation philosophies, and has even gone on the record about his willingness and ability to run a baseball team. He has conferred with Buck Showalter and Duquette about roster decisions and has hired some of the minor league personnel. Anderson is seemingly being groomed for the position one day.
This is a question that I have yet to resolve. It appears to me that Dan Duquette probably will not be fired anytime soon nor would he resign a position in baseball that was given to him after ten long years in exile. I suppose the situation could become toxic enough that he would have to leave, but it seems unlikely.
My best guess is that we will see some front office reshuffling. Perhaps Duquette slides up one notch on the ladder to Executive Vice President and John Angelos takes his father's place atop of the organization. This lets Anderson slide into the head of Baseball Operations. This gives others in the organization a chance for a promotion and gives Anderson some more control so he can bring in his own people. While Peter Angelos stepping aside seems like the least likely scenario in this whole conspiracy theory, it could theoretically happen.
When this will all happen is probably the toughest to figure out. I would think that if much of the reported strife is true, this off season will be a reckoning for some in the organization. I would expect some firings, some resignations, and some reassignments. The disastrous 2015 off season and regular season is likely to claim some victims.
This coming off season is probably not the most likely of times to promote Anderson, but I bet we start to here about his role in the organization growing and how he has stepped up to take on a bigger role. This has already happened some and as his comfort level in the position grows, so will his duties. It may not be this off season, but by the end of Duquette's contract--which after his extension, ends in 2018-- my best guess is that Brady Anderson will be the GM.
This is all simply a theory and probably a poorly thought out one at that. Most likely, some minor firings and reassignments occur and the organization moves on. The losing of this season after a dumpster fire of a off season is bound to provide some strife and turmoil, even in the best of front offices. The Orioles organization most definitely has it's issues, and hopefully they can be addressed, but Dan Duquette after bringing the team from irrelevance to competitiveness has earned a bit more leash. Regardless of how big or how soon, changes are coming and my conspiracy theory leads me to Brady Anderson.