Dan “Double D” Duquette is making some interesting moves in the Orioles front office. There’s been no real free-agent splash, just a significant ripple with the inking of Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year deal. Duquette’s eyes seemed focused on restructuring a poor, vision-impaired Orioles scouting system.
Looking at other sports, watching tape on opponents, preparing for the next game or looking for player strengths and weaknesses are industry standards. Duquette has decided to take baseball, namely the Orioles, in that same direction. Specifically, he has reassigned six pro scouts to concentrate on high school and college players who could be possible draft packs. Duquette believes in following major-league talent by analyzing videotape. I couldn’t agree more. After several years of poor performance and mediocre draft selections, it seems like the more time spent evaluating future talent the better.
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Another front-office addition is Loyola University economics professor Stephen Walter, brought in to help determine a player’s value based on a top-secret formula. (I think it’s in the same vault as KFC’s secret recipe, Coke’s formula and every major secret sauce). Allegedly, it’s been used already to evaluate some minor-league free agents this month. Minor-leaguers Antoan Richardson (Braves) and Lee Cruz (White Sox) were signed Dec. 14. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Walters and Duquette first work together in Boston, most notably on the signing of Johnny Damon. That seemed to work out okay, World Series and all.
One more scouting staff addition is Danny Haas. He will be the scouting staff’s national cross checker. Cross checker? Really? That’s the best title you could come up with? Don’t get me wrong, his job’s important — he’ll be following up on players scouts feel worthy of a second look. He’s also qualified, having spent the last 10 years in the Red Sox scouting department and the last year as their East Coast cross checker. How about calling it “Talent follow-up coordinator” or “Talent appraiser” or, I don’t know, thinning the herd guy? Please, anything but cross checker.
I think most fans would be more excited about All-Stars like Prince Fielder, Roy Oswalt or even Carlos Beltran. Can’t blame them, I would have settled for Michael Cuddyer and Edwin Jackson. But this organization has failed year after year far beyond its players. With Double D cleaning house in the front office and creating an expanding talent pool by scouting internationally, maybe Orioles fans have something to be excited about after all.