TORONTO — Negotiations for Dan Duquette are over after the Toronto Blue Jays refused to consider the Baltimore Orioles’ demands for promising right-hander Jeff Hoffman and two other top prospects as compensation for the executive.
A deal between the American League East rivals was at no point close, and it appears a saga that’s lingered since word first leaked on the eve of the winter meetings in December is at last over.
The Blue Jays had been seeking to hire Duquette as their next president and CEO to succeed Paul Beeston, whose contract expired at the end of October.
But Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos refused to release his executive vice-president, baseball operations from a contract that runs through to the 2018 season to pursue the promotion – unless an exorbitant return came back.
The Blue Jays are believed to have been willing to offer a package of minor-leaguers similar to past precedents – think fringe right-hander Chris Carpenter going from the Chicago Cubs to the Boston Red Sox for Theo Epstein – with the baseball departments of both clubs negotiating the names once a deal for Duquette was reached, and Major League Baseball acting as a mediator if needed (as it did in the Epstein case).
It's believed that at no point did the Blue Jays put forth any names for consideration.
Beyond Hoffman, the ninth overall pick in last year’s draft, the Orioles are also believed to have been seeking catcher Max Pentecost, the 11th overall pick in 2014, infielder Mitch Nay and more, demands that the Blue Jays at no point contemplated because of how steep they were.
The door on Duquette seemingly closed, the Blue Jays are now expected to turn their focus elsewhere in the search for Beeston’s successor. Their next steps aren’t immediately clear although it’s possible the search is opened up publicly to interested candidates.
Earlier in the off-season, shortly after Beeston’s contract had expired, the Blue Jays approached the Chicago White Sox about interviewing executive vice-president Ken Williams, but owner Jerry Reinsdorf refused to grant them permission to speak.
Reinsdorf told the Toronto Sun that Beeston was caught off guard by the search for his successor, an apparent miscommunication as Beeston cancelled a meeting with senior Rogers Communications Inc., officials just before the White Sox were contacted.
At the winter meetings, Williams said he was interested in the Blue Jays job and hinted that Reinsdorf might reconsider at a later time, but added, “I would think (the Blue Jays) have moved on.”
Duquette made no public comment on his future during the past two months, continuing his duties amid the ongoing speculation.
What happens next with the Orioles bears watching.
Keeping Duquette in the organization after all that has transpired may prove to be difficult – as the Blue Jays discovered with John Farrell after the Boston Red Sox made an unsuccessful attempt to lure him away after the 2011 season.
The Blue Jays’ demand for Clay Buchholz to let Farrell out his contract was denied, he remained with the Blue Jays through a difficult 2012, and ultimately the teams worked out a trade that sent infielder Mike Aviles to Toronto for the manager and David Carpenter.