The Boston Red Sox were not quite spoilers for The Tampa Bay Rays, going 2-2. Now Boston can try to spoil the playoffs for the Baltimore Orioles and their Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette. The Orioles will be at Fenway Park from Friday through Sunday and with them will be Duquette. Red Sox fans with short memories (there are not many of those around) may be saying after the rise of the Orioles this season, “Why can’t we get a GM like Duquette?
Well, of course, Duquette is the former GM of the Red Sox. But after some very unpopular decisions, perceived lack of value in deals and apparent mismanagement, Duquette was fired by the team. Theo Epstein came to Boston and the rest is history in more ways than one as Boston won two World Series with Epstein as general manager. Epstein was fired after the 2011 season and went to the Chicago Cubs as Ben Cherington replaced him for 2012.
It was in 2002, after John Henry bought the Red Sox, that Duquette was let go. He had been Red Sox GM since 1994 and was stunned by the firing. Although his bad deals are often highlighted, such as trading pitcher Jamie Moyer (who would win more than 250 games) to Seattle for outfielder Darren Bragg and letting Roger Clemens go when Duquette claimed the pitcher was in the “twilight of his career.” During the next two seasons, Clemens would win both the Cy Young Award and the pitching Triple Crown. Also Mo Vaughn was jettisoned during the Duquette years.
However, he also made some very important deals including getting knuckleballer Tim Wakefield in 1995 and Pedro Martínez in 1997 from Montreal and making the 1997 trade with Seattle for pitcher Derek Lowe and All-Star catcher and Red Sox captain Jason Varitek. He also signed free agent of Manny Ramírez in 2000 and Johnny Damon in December, 2001. However, many thought that when he was the GM in Boston that Duquette paid too much for players like Martínez and Ramírez.
Well Duquette is back at Fenway for the weekend and the Orioles are somewhere the Red Sox probably feel they should be—4.5 games ahead in the Wild Card and one-game behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East. Instead, Boston is 19 games behind the Yankees and 18 games out of the Wild Card.
Wow, what a difference a decade makes! Dan Duquette and the Orioles are riding an incredible wave of accomplishment while the Red Sox and their fans are waving good-bye to a disastrous season. This is a huge series for the Orioles. How do you think the Red Sox will react? I’m thinking 1-2 for the home team.