Orioles' Silence At Deadline Signifies Something
By Stan "The Fan" Charles
Saying there would be plenty of opportunities to add to the team in August, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette held a conference call with reporters late Tuesday afternoon, to explain why he was unwilling or unable to pull the trigger on a deal for Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton.
Duquette laid out the process, without delving into the names everyone knew were behind what he was saying.
"I thought we might be able to get something done today," Duquette said. "You know, at this time of year, it's cost of talent and cost of adding salaries to your roster. Those are the two costs. We had resources set aside on both ends, players that we could trade and money that we could add. You know, it didn't work."
Although no useful purpose would be served by Duquette talking about the specifics, his cousin Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden, both former Major League Baseball general managers, debated the topic on XM radio on a late-afternoon trade-deadline special, with Bowden citing the reason a deal didn't get completed.
"It was all about the money," Bowden said. "Blanton is a guy who in the American League would pitch to an ERA of 5.00, making $8 million. No thank you, I can take my chances with Brian Matusz, making the minimum."
There wasn't much of a chance that the Orioles would include their No. 3 prospect infielder Jonathan Schoop, despite the rumors that were circulating. Apparently, Blanton's medical records were shared with the Orioles, which is standard operating procedure. But, the burly righty is still owed about $3.5 million during the remaining two months of his last year with the Phillies.
Blanton's numbers against AL East teams were disconcerting -- 2-2 against the Orioles, with an ERA of 5.36; 3-4 against Boston Red Sox, with a 5.21 ERA; 0-3 against the New York Yankees, with an 8.18 ERA; 2-4 against the Rays, with a 5.55 ERA; and 4-2 against Toronto, with a 3.48 ERA.
Duquette -- overseeing his first trade deadline since 2002 -- balanced the realities of his team, both in terms of its overall upside for this season and how far behind the rest of the industry it is in having valuable assets dressing as minor leaguers that project as valuable major leaguers.
Duquette has shown earlier during the season, when the price isn't high, he isn't bashful about making a move -- for example, the purchase of outfielder/first baseman Steve Pearce from the Yankees in mid-June, the acquisition of Jim Thome from the Phillies in a trade for two minor leaguers in early July and his purchase of infielder Omar Quintanilla from the New York Mets 10 days ago.
In fact, Duquette's modus operandi speaks to the truth in what he was quoted as saying earlier in this column -- there indeed will be many other opportunities to add to his team before Sept. 1, that is, if the existing bunch keeps up its end of the bargain in the AL wild-card battle. The inaction bought the Orioles more time, time to recalibrate the risk and reward of a deal.
Posted Aug. 1, 2012