Orioles ridiculous search for GM luckily ends with Dan Duquette

David Brown

The Baltimore Orioles quickly became the laughingstock of Major League Baseball during the offseason because of their repeatedly unsuccessful attempts to hire someone to run their baseball operations. It seemed like the entire league was saying thanks, but no thanks, and don't call here again.

After swinging and missing with at least eight other candidates, reports Sunday said the Orioles have hired Dan Duquette to be the team's president of baseball operations.

They got lucky. Owner Peter Angelos got so lucky that Duquette was ready, willing, able and available to take the job after spending the past nine years out of the major leagues. Angelos had interviewed six men, three of whom later removed themselves from consideration. He was interested in three others, but they either declined or were not allowed by their current employers to interview. At least that was the story.

Angelos agreed to Duquette after interviewing him three times, Roch Kubato of MASN reports, which you could consider either due diligence on Angelos' part, or him really having no idea what to do. Because he wasn't going to do better than Duquette.

Not that he's a perfect choice. He hasn't been employed in the majors since 2002, when the Boston Red Sox fired him as GM during spring training. Ever since, he has spent the time founding and operating a youth sports camp in Massachusetts, helping to start a baseball league in Israel, doing some community theater and running a summer team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Here's his résumé.

Before that, he was a good GM in Boston and Montreal. {YSP:MORE}

The Red Sox needed Theo Epstein to finish the job and get them to the World Series, but Duquette laid the foundation for the 2004 World Series champions. He made two of the most important trades in team history, getting Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe from the Mariners for Heathcliff Slocumb; and he added Pedro Martinez from Montreal for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. Incredible thievery.

He also signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, and brought in Tim Wakefield. He drafted Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Youkilis and Hanley Ramirez.

After Dave Dombrowski started to build up the Montreal Expos (with Duquette's help as director of player development), Duquette positioned them to have the best record in the majors when the players went on strike in 1994.

He also made plenty of mistakes. It has been written that Duquette seemed to get worse as Red Sox GM as time went along, and it would be foolish to disagree with them replacing him with Epstein. And, while Duquette's ventures the past decade or so have been admirable, there's something strange about him not working in the majors — much less being a GM — in all of this time. It has been reported that the Angels considered hiring Duquette for the position they gave Jerry Dipoto, who also interviewed in Baltimore. So the Orioles weren't the only curious party not scared away.

And the Orioles are lucky Duquette thinks the time is right (and/or is desperate enough) to get back in now — and that he was willing to overlook all of Baltimore's warts. The Orioles run the least impressive organization in the toughest division in baseball. People seem to find it distasteful to work for Peter Angelos. And I'm not sure if having Buck Showalter as manager helps or hurts. There's a good chance Duquette will fail, but he also could help the Orioles replenish some of the respect they've been lacking for 20 years.

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