Dan Duquette is the current Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations for the Baltimore Orioles and has been since the 2012 season.
Dan joined Ed and Steve to talk about Manny Machado’s behavior in this past weekend’s series with the Oakland A’s, and all other Orioles topics.
Steve starts off by asking Dan about his thoughts on what went down over the weekend with Manny Machado. An incident on Friday, throwing his helmet and another on Sunday, throwing his bat at the pitcher.
Dan explains that “Manny had a confrontation with the third-baseman Donaldson. Then we threw inside at Donaldson and Donaldson turned to their bench and I don’t know what he said exactly but I think he asked for support from his pitching staff. Then later on in the series they threw at Manny not only once but twice. I thought our guys did a pretty good job, Buck and Wayne Kirby, of keeping Manny out of harms way, in terms of that fight escalating. I thought after they threw at him once it was pretty clear they were going to throw at him again and I thought the umpire should have taken action before they threw at Manny the second time because I don’t know that the second time was warranted, frankly.”
More specifically, Steve wanted to know what Dan thought about Manny’s reaction to being thrown at, which was throwing the bat at the pitcher. Steve did note that Manny said that it slipped but “anybody that has eyes that work could see that he flung the bat after the pitch had come by him.”
With a disclaimer, Dan responded that he’s “not going to condone that action — I don’t think there’s a place for that.” BUT he went on to say that it is understandable that someone would react very negatively with an outburst like Manny did; “When someone’s trying to take your livelihood by throwing a baseball at you, not once but twice, I think that’s a natural reaction to protect yourself.
Ed then asked Dan about the next topic of concern which is the starting pitching, mainly that Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez have been struggling but need to be much better and get deeper into games. The pitching staff has been struggling as of late but with the injuries to Gonzalez and Santana being out for the year, Tillman and Jimenez can’t continue to have bad starts and get knocked out early in the game. Dan did go on say that he was really enthusiastic about the start that Kevin Gausman had on Saturday night but that doesn’t change the fact that the team is set up to have Tillman and Jimenez pitch significant innings.
Many have speculated that Tillman’s struggles lately have stemmed from a possible injury that he’s trying to pitch through. Dan responded to those rumors saying that “he hasn’t identified, with us, any specific physical issues that would prevent him from pitching effectively.” The reassurance that nothing is physically wrong with Tillman comes as a comfort to fans but they still have to figure out why his starts have been so bad lately.
Brian in Baltimore texted in a question to THEFAN (843326): “With the recent loss of Johan Santana for the year will the O’s be looking to acquire another arm internally, bring somebody up, or via the trade before the deadline?”
“We’ll have to see how Gausman does and how Dylan Bundy does. He should be able to come back and pitch in our system sometime around the end of this month. Our veteran option was Santana. That’s not going to work out. So we have to see if we have some other option between those two guys in the system and anybody else that might stick their head up in the system. Eddy Gamboa, the knuckle baller, has been throwing pretty good pretty good at triple-A.” Dan goes on to explain that “Santana was in place so that we would have an experienced veteran pitcher and that was in place of a trade option so now they’ll have to try to cultivate another options.”
Steve brings back the topic of Manny Machado and some of the so-called “unwritten rules of baseball” which is the “you throw at my guy so I’m going to throw at your guy” mentality. Dan clarifies that the Orioles didn’t throw AT anybody in the series, “We threw inside on Donaldson because he reached out over the plate the first time up against Chen and put the ball in the left field bleachers. So we went inside to get him off the plate and after that we were able to get him out. We didn’t go inside to hit him.” Dan also stats that he “doesn’t understand how these guys can get away with throwing AT hitters. It’s not right.”
The word “suspension” has been thrown around since the play were the bat left Manny’s hand so Steve asks if there’s any chance of that happening. The Orioles VP thinks that “could be a distinct possibility. We’ll have to see where the league weighs in on this issue. Joe Torre does a nice job of looking at both sides of the equation and I’m sure they’ll do their due diligence and research on this incident and the series.”
Dan explains again, “If the umpire had warned the pitcher after the first one, then the pitcher would have been automatically been thrown out and Manny would have seen that they were taking things into their own hands with the umpiring crew. It was clear to me that they were going to throw at him again, I said to the guys in the box, ‘He’s going to throw at him again.’ There’s just no reason for that, frankly. Two outs, nobody on in the eighth inning, in that situation. We went inside for a purpose and that was the kid hit a home run opposite field… It was clear to me that they were trying to hit Manny not only once but twice yesterday.”
Adam Jones’ aggressive approach at bat has been another topic of discussion this season. The guys discuss his low walk numbers and being selective in his at-bats.
With the 2014 MLB draft complete, and Steve asks about some of the prospects that Dan was involved in selecting for the Orioles franchise. Dan talks about some of the guys and their size and talent.
Dan also gives an update on Dylan Bundy and Matt Wieters’ health status. Bundy is on track for the end of the month but Wieters may require season ending surgery.
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