Over the summer, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette told then-free agent outfielder Jose Bautista that the O’s weren’t in a position to sign him because of how despised he is by Baltimore fans. In an interview with MLB.com yesterday, Duquette reiterated that theory and went one step further, explaining specifically what it is about Bautista that O’s fans don’t like.
MLB.com: You expressed no interest in Jose Bautista this offseason, saying, “Jose is a villain in Baltimore and I’m not going to go tell our fans that we’re courting Jose Bautista for the Orioles because they’re not going to be happy.” How often do you consider something like fan reaction when considering potential acquisitions?
Duquette: (Laughs) Well that was an easy one; our fans just don’t like Jose. We play those guys 25 times a year and he’s the face of the Blue Jays. He’s the villain in the play whenever we play the Blue Jays. I like our guys. Our guys are good. [Mark] Trumbo is like a working-class-type baseball player. If he was going to work every day on a construction site, you would understand that he brings that kind of work ethic every day. That’s the kind of player that our fans identify with. We try to get gritty players that work hard every day and give their best effort every day. Our fans seem to like that and respond to it.
Here’s a question to ponder: Why did Duquette decide to use Mark Trumbo, a guy who has so far played exactly one season in Baltimore, as an exemplar of the Orioles’ working-class values rather than, say, Adam Jones, an excellent player who has been the beating heart of the Orioles for many years now?