Dan Duquette as GM: The Pitching Staff

Dan Duquette was re-introduced to the MLB world yesterday as the new Executive Vice – President of Baseball Operations of the Baltimore Orioles, his third such post after running the baseball operations departments of the Montreal Expos from 1991-1993 and the Boston Red Sox from 1994- 2001. He takes over an Orioles organization that has not enjoyed a winning season since 1997, and he will be charged with overhauling a pitching staff that finished with a 4.92 ERA in 2011, good for last place in MLB.

While molding the Baltimore staff back to respectability will be Duquette’s main challenge, his record in putting together a pitching staff is fairly impressive. In 11 years as GM, only twice have his pitching staffs finished with an ERA above the league average (1994 Boston – team ERA 4.93, league average 4.80; 1997 Boston – team ERA 4.85, league average 4.56). From 1998 through 2001, the Red Sox pitching staff finished 2nd, 1st, 1st, and 4th in the American League in ERA.

Of course, Pedro Martinez was the ace of those staffs, but Duquette deserves credit for acquiring him from Montreal for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. While Martinez was his major coup in rebuilding the pitching staff in Boston after Roger Clemens left for Toronto, he was also very creative in adding complementary pieces to Martinez.

The Red Sox resurrected Tom Gordon‘s career by turning him into a reliever and dominant closer – in 1998, his first year used exclusively out of the bullpen, Gordon was a 3.0 WAR reliever with a 2.45 FIP and 46 Saves. In 1999, 36 year-old Bret Saberhagen (signed in December of 1996 after a disastrous stint in the thin-air of Colorado) posted a 7.36 K/BB ratio on his way to a 2.95 ERA (3.30 FIP) to complement Martinez at the top of the Red Sox rotation.

Duquette and Co. were especially creative in assigning bullpen roles that year – knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and an emerging Derek Lowe (famously acquired with Jason Varitek for Heathcliff Slocumb) split the closer duties with Tom Gordon out with injuries.

The 2000 Red Sox staff that finished first in the AL in ERA was bolstered by Japanese rookie Tomo Ohka. Duquette has been lauded for his connections in the Far East and he will have to put those connections to use in his efforts to rebuild the Orioles.

From 1991 through 1993, the Montreal Expos finished 6th, 4th, and 2nd in the NL in ERA with Duquette using a savvy combination of older veterans, acquisitions, and homegrown talent towards building a solid staff in a small market. Joining Dennis Martinez at the top of the Expos rotation was Ken Hill, acquired when Duquette made his first blockbuster trade as a GM as Hill was brought to Montreal from St. Louis for Andres Galarraga after the 1991 season. Hill, 26 at the time of the trade, posted ERA lines of 2.68, 3.23, and 3.32 in his three years in Montreal. Duquette also strengthened the Expos bullpen prior to the 1992 season by trading for John Wetteland, who was coming off a 1991 campaign that saw him throw just nine Major League innings. Wetteland would become a premier closer both with the Expos and later the Yankees.

Duquette was able to add depth to the Expos pitching staff in the early 199Os by drafting and developing leftys Chris Nabholz and Kirk Rueter. Duquette’s eye for identifying talented pitching was on display when he made his last trade as the Expos GM – Delino Deshields to the Dodgers for Pedro Martinez.

Duquette will have to call on these past successes as he rebuilds the pitching staff. He has shown to be both a creative and keen observer of undervalued pitching talent.




Print This Post





16 Responses to “Dan Duquette as GM: The Pitching Staff”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. wily mo says:

    compliment means like hey you have nice hair. the word for a thing that goes well with another thing is complement with an E. not trying to be snarky just trying to help, see this all the time, drives me around the bend

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • wily mo says:

      oh awesome you fixed it. there’s another one though, in the next paragraph

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • 44 says:

        Someone who writes in all lower case is going to correct the author’s grammar?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Oscar says:

        sOmEoNe Who CpPAitlAIZEs PReftLCyY is gonNA sAY “grammar” nisted of “spelling”?!!!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • 44 says:

        Using the wrong word is grammar. Nice try.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • wily mo says:

        well, am i wrong? i went out of my way to say i wasn’t trying to be superior about it. and it’s not like i’m not aware of standard capitalization conventions. it’s a lifestyle choice.

        as i said, i was trying to help. he took the help and made the changes. you’re pointing out to me that i’m not capitalizing, but i’m not changing anything as a result. are you trying to help?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Raf says:

        wily mo could be an e.e. cummings fan.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • wily mo says:

        yeah i get the e.e. cummings thing a lot. it’s actually a combination of 3 things. (1) slight bump in typing efficiency (2) i kind of like the aesthetics (3) weeds out the pedants

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. wily mo says:

    oh also the pedro deal to montreal from the dodgers was for delino deshields, not grissom

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Joshsaysgomo says:

    I hope Mo Vaughn comes back.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Gary says:

    Fix the terrible team defense and the pitching will get better. The O’s had the 2nd worst team UZR at -53 runs last year.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Perceptron says:

      Exactly. Most of the pitching on this team is fairly young with at least some potential (Britton, Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta, Bergeson, Hunter, Patton, VandenHurk). Admittedly, only Britton and Matusz really interest me, but at least see what you have with these other guys. Then let Guthrie, Simon, and whatever NRI fodder you sign pitch the rest of the innings. Are you going to win with these guys? No, and in the AL East it won’t be pretty, but there’s no reason to tinker with the pitching too much.

      Now spend a little money on guys who can play defense and can hit enough (Kotchman, Crisp, Kouzmanoff, Pagan if non-tendered, etc.) and then trade Reynolds and Scott for interesting minor league relievers and salary relief. Whatever money you save goes to the draft and foreign players (the Orioles spent $8 million on the draft last year, but half that went to Bundy).

      Will this team be successful? Almost certainly not. But the core will be around for 2013, and you can see if any of the young pitchers are good at all once a respectable defense is behind them.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Mac says:

    The Dan Duquette strategy.

    1) Acquire Pedro Martinez when starting new job
    2) Profit

    This begs the question, does he bring a 40 year old Pedro in to pitch for the O’s in 2012?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. plain_g says:

    i miss the expos.

    – lonely expos fan

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>