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December 15, 2011

Duquette's global ambitions

New baseball operations guru Dan Duquette has made no secret of his desire to make international player development a high priority in the Orioles organization, so the pursuit of several Asian pitchers should not be considered surprising and should not necessarily be criticized.

Perhaps Duquette -- unlike some his predecessors -- simply is being realistic and recognizing that none of the best free agents are going to come to Baltimore at just about any price unless he can show them that the club is close enough to being competitive for them to make a real difference.

Of course, all that depends on the Orioles signing foreign (and domestic) players who make a contribution, and every one of the players coming out of Japan, Taiwan and Korea -- with the possible exception of Yu Darvish -- is a gamble. It's almost impossible to predict what they will do in the American major leagues, but if Duquette guesses right, he's got a chance to have a book written about him in a few years.

Maybe they'll call it "Yen-ball."

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:46 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Just baseball


Duquette's energy comes across in his interviews. His smarts come across in his message- it's all about talent- getting the right people with the right potential and developing that potential- the physical and mental games. The only down side to this news is this- I am a rabid Red Sox fan...

I think Duquette is determined to prove to the o's fans the international scene will be changed for this team..I believe we will see a similar dedication to improve with international signings on amateurs too.. It will be interesting to see how it affects our domestic amateur draft.. BUT the approach requires a couple years to unfold for a fan base with little patience left.. I still wait to see the signature trade that could change things now. I would consider signing cespedes to play center trade Jones to oakland for Gio Gonzalez and trade for Gavin Floyd. I love Jones but do not see him becoming higher than the #6 or 7 hitter and believe he wants to play on west coast in a couple years. As soon as he has an off year and his HR go down these fans will turn on him.. Even if he stays I don't see 30 HR or 100 RBI consistency from him which makes him replaceable if we got cespedes.

As was the case with Koji, the far east will get to learn how ridiculously bad the Baltimore Orioles are.

It's gotten to the point where Japanese kids who once dreamed of playing in America now use Baltimore as a reason to stay home.

This is a lost and beaten organization folks. The moral in the warehouse, from the assistants to ticket sales solicitors makes workers at the DMV realize they have a good gig in comparison.

AM was an embarrassment and failure because he was hyped to be something he wasn't. There will be no such embarrassment about Duq in a few years whe. He leaves, as there are no expectations whatsoever.

Which begs the question...... Was it better to be hyped that AM would field a competitive team, only to meet disastrous results, or not be hyped at all, thus fans know the team will be horrid for years to come?

I know the subject is global ambitions but the first paragraph after the intro talks about free agents. And that entire paragraph just adds fuel to the smoldering feelings about my childhood team and the unprecedented mishandling of it by the current ownership.

First of all, there is nothing to realize. The Orioles have made no efforts on the free agent front since Albert Belle. Even Tejada's first tour of duty here was because no one else needed a shortstop at the time, and he came at a bargain price. If the Orioles made a genuine effort and were outbid or scorned for lesser money, I'd buy into it.

Second, it's not just "the best" free agents, however that's defined. The Orioles since Jeffrey Meier have done little with Tejada and Lopez in 2004 being the exceptions. The Orioles have been bottom feeders or just plain fasting like during the offseason of the 37 arms.

Third, even if the Orioles managed to be 82-80 or better in some future year, the idea that the players available that offseason could fill your specific needs is pure guesswork and happenstance. A smart team would try fill needs in any available way. That includes free agency, and it doesn't have to be headline grabbing or nine-figure amounts.

And if that weren't enough -- and for my money, it's not -- there is no evidence the present ownership would make the effort even if the Orioles finished with 82, 85 or 88 wins.

Revisting 2004 is quite revealing as well. The Orioles did sign Miggy and Javy. Unfortunately, the balked on Vladdy. The notion -- a stupid one at that -- was, "We're not going to bid against ourselves." Umm, hel-lo. You're bidding against what he would accept. Of course, the leverage king wouldn't up the ante as he didn't have the leverage. Had he done so, the Orioles would have the future HOF'er while he was still putting up HOF production.

Still, the Orioles managed their best record of this century at 78-84 showing a little can do a lot in free agency. 2004 was also the only year this century the Orioles scored more than they gave up. So while they managed 78 wins, they might have actually gotten 82 wins had they kept Hargrove rather than acquiring Mazzilli. And that's still without Guerrero.

Laugh at 78 wins all you want but that's nine games better than MacPhail's best year. And here's the kicker of kickers: The average age of that pitching staff was the lowest of any during the Angelos ownership; in fact, it was the lowest of any year at Camden Yards.

Oh, yeah, global ambitions. Right.

I'm not against any of these signings. I'm all for it. It shows initiative. And while it is early yet to draw any conclusions, I have a feeling Duquette will do some following through this offseason and future offseasons unlike MacPhail's specialty, one-and-done. (Personally, I think MacPhail's specialty was none-and-done with a few one's tossed in. Still, getting a player like Scott was nice but instead of flipping him when he had value, he'll be 34 with no value for the future.)

The real global ambition should be international scouting in finding prospects. Then, developing them.

That takes a lot of savvy. The Orioles haven't had that kind of savvy since they had cartoon caps. Oh, wait, ...

Why is it that, whenever I hear Dan Duquette make a big speech about the Orioles, I feel like the two old guys from "The Muppet Show" who heckle people?

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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