Duquette has been out of professional baseball since 2002. In the meantime his energy has been focused on forming a youth sports academy and the short-lived Israeli Baseball League. His return to MLB as Baltimore's GM sees him in familiar territory: a floundering ball club in need of upheaval.
Duquette began his career in 1980 as an assistant scout for Milwaukee at age twenty-two, seven years later becoming director of player development in Montreal, and ultimately the GM in 1991. During his tenure in Montreal, Duquette's gifts for scouting and player development became apparent. Lacking the financial resources of many teams, Duquette focused his energies on developing from within and international scouting, placing greater importance on OBP than power. Notable players drafted during his reign include Marquis Grissom, Cliff Floyd, Charles Johnson, Mark Grudzielanek, and Rondell White. His international pursuits paid off in Vladimir Guerrero, Javier Vasquez, and Orlando Cabrera, among others. Most notably Duquette pulled off a trade that at the time, nobody thought of too highly: he traded dynamic second baseman Delino Deshields for a diminutive relief pitcher named Pedro Martinez, with a mind towards making him a starter.
|I am Pedro Martinez.|
Duquette left Montreal just before the 1994 season, which would see the Expos post the best record in the NL, to take the GM job in Boston, his home town. The Expos rose to prominence under his guiding hand and like a southerner on a ski slope, slid red-cheeked back down to the bottom after his departure.
BOS General Manager 1994-2002 With a bigger payroll in his back pocket, Duquette went to work transforming the Red Sox into the power we know today. Since 1998 Boston has set MLB attendance and revenue records every season. Under his watch Nomar Garciaparra, Kevin Youkilis, David Eckstein, Adam Everett, Hanley Ramirez, and Freddy Sanchez were drafted. He acquired Tim Wakefield. And in 1997 he made two trades that changed the path of the organization and set the table for their championship in 2004. He sent beleaguered closer Heathcliff Slocomb to Seattle for Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek, which paid huge dividends for years. And he sent Tony Armas, Jr. and Carl Pavano to his pals in Montreal for the diminutive reigning NL Cy Young winner, Pedro Martinez. He then made sure Pedro wouldn't be going anywhere for a while. Oh, and he signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. Oh, and it was his farm products that Theo Epstein bartered to acquire Curt Schilling.
|Manny and Duquette|
|Pedro and Duquette's tie|
*After posting dominant seasons in Boston, Mo Vaughn hit the snide in Anaheim and ended up an expensive lemon in New York. Clemens won four Cy Young awards after leaving Boston, but the immediate two in Toronto and the two in the twilight of his career raise eyebrows for the wrong reasons. Boston fans can feel confident that Clemens's dominance, in Boston at least, was clean. Duquette played it smart, refusing to invest big money long term on players the wrong side of thirty.
Dan Duquette has his work cut out for him in Baltimore. The farm system is scarce, and many of today's top executives have modeled their scouting and international campaigns after Duquette's past successes. And the rich have also gotten richer. However, Duquette has plenty with which to work. There is some young talent to play with, a devout fan base whose patience is seemingly limitless, and one of the most beautiful ballparks in the world to which he can draw talent. As the on-the-field talent grows, so too will the payroll. If Duquette can find the young men who can "hit'em where they a'int" then perhaps we will soon have the pleasure of watching October Night Baseball in Camden Yards.