According to Mike Berardino, of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dan Duquette may be on the move. The Nationals have expressed interest in bringing the Orioles VP for Baseball Ops and giant-headed person on board as their new team president, presumably a big step up for a guy who was out of baseball for nine years at one point.
It's not likely to come to anything. Duquette is under contract until after 2018, and the Orioles have already shown that they're unwilling to let him go without some kind of compensation. When the Blue Jays tried to lure him away last year, the O's wanted them to part with pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman (later dealt for Troy Tulowitzki). Also, "hate" is probably not a strong enough word to describe the feelings of enmity that O's owner Peter Angelos has for the Nationals and their ownership group, stemming from soured negotiations over broadcasting fees on MASN and conflict over the territory the clubs play in. If the Nats want Duquette, there's no way in hell Angelos will let him go.
That said, this is a good time for me to admit that I can't get a handle on Duquette, and whether he's any good at his job. He's been around forever presiding over the rise of the Montreal Expos in the early-‘90s, and then endured a mostly successful era running the Red Sox. He was never a popular figure in Boston, however, and was jettisoned as soon as John Henry bought the club.
Then he wandered the wasteland, like Mad Max, trying to find another job. Another home. He ran a team in the New England Collegiate Baseball League and helped found the Israel Baseball League.
It took a while, but Duquette finally made it back. The Orioles tried to hire several other candidates, who all deftly removed themselves from consideration because of the...challenges of working with Angelos and competing in the AL East, before finally settling on him. And, well, it's mostly worked out. Under his (and Buck Showalter's) stewardship, the Orioles have yt to finish under.500. They've been to the postseason twice and are off to a 6-0 start in 2016, the only undefeated team left in baseball as of this afternoon. Duquette has largely restored his reputation. Doesn't he deserve credit for that?
On the one hand, he definitely has made good moves. He signed Wei-Yin Chen and saw the value in trading for Jason Hammel. He picked up Steve Pearce for nothing (twice).
But the core of these Orioles clubs, Manny Machado, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and even Darren O'Day, was already in place when he arrived. Under his watch, the club has been banned from South Korea for a time for violating international signing rules. Pitchers have struggled to develop in Baltimore. Jake Arrieta was given away because he was awful in orange. Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy have both been hurt and have stalled. Ubaldo Jimenez has struggled mightily since coming over as a free agent. He gave up Eduardo Rodriguez to the Red Sox for 20 innings of Andrew Miller.
And, by all accounts, this offseason was a fiasco, as the Orioles thought they had signed Dexter Fowler, only to alienate him and have him bolt at the last minute for the Cubs. They bid against themselves for Chris Davis. They signed Hyun Soo Kim from South Korea to a big league deal and then decided just before Spring Training started that they didn't even want him. And Yovani Gallardo has shown reduced velocity all spring.
Sure, everyone feels great after a 6-0 start, but it's hard to look at the Orioles and think that they can compete with the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox over the course of 2016. It's hard to look at his moves and give him credit for the Orioles' accomplishments. At best, he's stayed out of their way. Which is why the Nationals' interest is so weird. A club president is responsible for setting the course for an entire organization, and the only evidence we have that Duquette knows what he's doing is that he's stayed out of Buck Showalter's way.