This Dan Duquette saga is getting weirder and weirder by the day. What started last month as a few flirty bits of beat reporter innuendo between the Jays and Orioles' GM Dan Duquette has become a full-blown fiasco, complete with, most recently, actual threats of extortion. Let's get caught up.
Background: The Jays are managed by lame-duck President & CEO Paul Beeston, who was hired as the first employee of the Blue Jays way back in 1976. He's a curmudgeonly old liar who's going to retire sometime soon.
The brass in Toronto want fresh blood in their front office. Rogers, the Jays' multi-billion-dollar corporate owners, are willing to pony up for a President who can actually show a bit of spine here and there.
Dan Duquette, Executive Vice-President of the Orioles, is widely credited with turning that team around for their successful 2012 season. He's exactly the kind of executive the Jays braintrust would want. The problem is, he's also under contract with the Orioles, and the MLB's tampering laws forbid flirting with other teams' executives.
Now that we're caught up, here's how this story's gone down on Twitter:
DEC 7: Ken Rosenthal and Buster Olney light up Twitter with the rumour that Duquette wants out of Baltimore, and that the Jays want him as their new President/CEO.
Shortly afterwards, Peter Angelos, grumpy old owner of the Orioles, seems to throw cold water on the rumours.
But why would Duquette want out of his cushy job with the AL East-winning Orioles?
For a while, that was it. A lot of non-denial denials from both sides, plus a lot of talk of how this would work with Duquette's contract. Then, this past week, the rumours came back to the forefront.
JAN 14: Talks are apparently getting more serious. The Jays and Orioles are reportedly discussing a compensation package for giving up Duquette.
This is fairly unconventional territory - the most notable recent example of an executive traded for baseball talent was when Theo Epstein went to the Cubs in exchange for a small package of minor-leaguers. Still, how much could the Orioles really want in return for their GM who doesn't even want to be there?
Or maybe it's all just bullshit.
JAN 15: We find out the man himself, Ed Rogers III (heir to the Rogers fortune he inherited from his father, Ted Rogers Jr.) is the one pursuing Duquette. This may or may not fly in the face of MLB's tampering rules.
JAN 21: Reports in Toronto are that current Jays President/CEO Paul Beeston will stay on for the 2015 season. Well, I guess that settles that.
JAN 22: Or maybe not!
The word on the street is now that Jeff Hoffman, the Jays' top pick in the 2014 draft and one of their most valued pitching prospects, is being discussed as the return for Duquette. Whaaaat?
Why the hell would the Jays give up one of their top pitching prospects for a suit?
Holy shit! That's just the straight-up legal definition of extortion, for a baseball trade!
The Orioles sound like they're just lurking in a dark corner of the Blue Jays head office in a pinstriped suit, chomping a cigar, muttering threateningly "nice franchise ya got here... it'd be a shame if someone had ta tell the league 'bout all this... maybe we can make a deal, capische?"
To be fair, Orioles owner Pete Angelos does look like a more threatening version of The Greek from "The Wire" (also from Baltimore, hmmm!), so I wouldn't put anything past him.
Either Dan Duquette is going to become the Jays' President in the next few days, or some Rogers executive is going to wake up with a horse's head in his bed.