"I owed it to Jim to tell him, `Look, this is where I'm going.' He appreciated that," MacPhail said. "To Jim's credit, he did everything that I asked him to do. He tried to give me as much help as possible. But he just felt like he was taking a decreasing role in the things that were important, things that he was doing in other places and would probably get an opportunity to do in other places."
Despite being advised by several other baseball executives that he was entering a no-win situation, Duquette agreed to come to Baltimore because the opportunity afforded him more responsibility in decision making than he had with the Mets working under Omar Minaya. Duquette immediately became a vocal and visible presence in the Orioles front office, and while Flanagan had the final say in decisions, it was Duquette who took the lead in negotiating in both free agency and trade talks.
Duquette was instrumental in the signing of free-agent catcher Ramon Hernandez and the acquisition of Corey Patterson in a trade for two minor leaguers. However, several moves of Flanagan and Duquette did not pan out, including the signing of free-agent reliever Danys Baez, the contract extensions given to third baseman Melvin Mora and outfielder-designated hitter Jay Gibbons and the trade of reliever Jorge Julio and starter John Maine to the Mets for starter Kris Benson.
"There are certain things that we tried to do, and some of them didn't work out, for sure," Duquette said. "I don't have any regrets about it. I don't have any regrets about coming down here and giving it a shot. ... Certainly, I'd like to think I made some significant and positive contributions."
On deck for MacPhail?
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said the executive he plans to hire will know how he operates and have a background in player personnel. Here are some names that fit that mold:
Larry Corrigan: One of the Minnesota Twins' top scouts and has worked the past seven seasons as a special assistant to Twins general manager Terry Ryan. Corrigan has also served as the scouting director and the field coordinator of minor league operations for the Twins.
Oneri Fleita: Hired by MacPhail in August 2000 to be the Chicago Cubs' director of player development and oversee the team's Latin American operations, and he remains in that capacity. Before working for the Cubs, he spent seven years in the Orioles organization as a player, coach and manager.
Bill Harford: Had various player development roles in the Cubs organization from 1982 to 1992 and now is a major league scout. For the Cubs, he has been the director and associate director of minor league operations, the director of player development and the farm director.