Earlier this month, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that Orioles manager Buck Showalter has downplayed growing rumors of tension between him and general manager/executive vice president Dan Duquette, but according to Crasnick, unrest was indeed brewing among Orioles decision-makers. FOX’s Ken Rosenthal writes today that tension has escalated, with Showalter wanting a greater role in personnel decisions (though he does not wish to actually assume GM duties himself).
Rosenthal feels that a change is ultimately unlikely, in part because of the large sum owed to both Showalter and Duquette through 2018 on their current contract. Rosenthal reports that Showalter takes home $3.5MM annually, with Duquette earning $2MM per year. Replacing either would mean owner Peter Angelos paying that as well as the salary of a replacement — an undesirable outcome.
However, one Orioles official tells Rosenthal that if the organizational structure isn’t altered in some capacity, it will be a “disaster.” Both Duquette and Showalter, unsurprisingly, told Rosenthal that the relationship between them is fine, with Showalter noting that each is frustrated by the club’s disappointing season.
Crasnick first reported that some within the organization weren’t happy with minor league pitching development director Rick Peterson’s influence in the organization. Per Crasnick, the decision to release outfielder Delmon Young was also met with mixed reviews internally, upsetting some within the organization. Rosenthal adds that there’s further frustration over the lack of replacements for Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, misses in free agency and trades as well as a declining farm system. He also notes that although Showalter continually praises his coaching staff, no member of the field staff besides the manager himself is signed beyond 2015.
Over the past month, there have been multiple mentions of tension among Orioles brass (including some from the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo and an earlier report from Rosenthal himself), with both Cafardo and Rosenthal stating that one major source of friction was the fact that Angelos would not allow Duquette to pursue a higher-ranking position with the Blue Jays last offseason.
The Orioles’ front office situation figures to be a story that will develop over the coming weeks and should contribute to a fascinating offseason in Baltimore, as the team is also slated to lose Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O’Day and Steve Pearce to free agency. Given the fact that failure to replace Cruz and Markakis is one of the sources of internal consternation with the O’s, it’ll be interesting to see how Duquette and his staff handle the departure of a larger crop of free agents — particularly due to the fact that Baltimore’s farm system ranks as one of the weakest in Major League Baseball per most rankings.