Orioles hire Duquette as VP of baseball operations
BALTIMORE -- Jim Duquette has been hired as vice president for baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles, a job that carries the responsibility of helping turn around a franchise that hasn't had a winning season since 1997.
Duquette signed a three-year contract Wednesday night. He leaves the New York Mets, where he served as general manager for 15½ months before assuming the post of senior vice president of baseball operations on Sept. 30, 2004, working under Omar Minaya.
"I view this as a step up. I feel I have more authority, more responsibility, more power with the Orioles," Duquette said Thursday. "If I thought it was a lateral move, I wouldn't be coming down there."
Duquette will assist executive vice president Mike Flanagan in the day-to-day operations of the department, including contract negotiations, salary arbitration and player personnel decisions at the major league level.
"I think it's a very good fit. The two of us will work together to change the culture here," Duquette said. "I report to Mike, but he has made it clear we will work together to change this thing."
Flanagan was promoted to his current position last week, replacing Jim Beattie, who was offered a job as a consultant. Flanagan never worked in the front office before being hired in tandem with Beattie in December 2002, so Duquette's experience and knowledge should prove invaluable.
"Jim [Duquette] brings a wealth of experience in the daily operation of a major league baseball team, from bottom to top," Flanagan said. "He has been involved in every aspect of the baseball front office from scouting and the minors to contract negotiations and running a department."
Duquette began talks with the Orioles following Beattie's dismissal, and the sides needed about a week to reach an agreement.
"He is widely respected among baseball professionals and was highly recommended for the position," Orioles owner Peter Angelos said. "I am confident Jim will be a major contributor to our effort to strengthen the team."
The 39-year-old Duquette has worked for the Mets for 14 of his 15 seasons in professional baseball. Although Angelos has a reputation for being heavily involved in personnel decisions, Duquette believes the owner has the Orioles' best interest at heart.
"I know what the perception is. I don't think the situation is different than in New York," Duquette said. "I think Mr. Angelos wants to win and will spend the money to win. I think the reason they haven't won is they haven't picked the right players."
He said the Orioles need a veteran starting pitcher, a bat in the middle of the lineup, and help in the back end of a bullpen that will likely lose free agent closer B.J. Ryan.
Duquette plans to begin work on Monday, soon after cleaning out his office in New York.
"I can't tell you how much of a pleasure it was for me to work side-by-side this past year with Jim Duquette," Minaya said. "He made the transition back to the Mets so easy for me. Jim is a solid baseball man and an even better person. He will be missed."
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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