I think that what happened is that a significant rift has opened up between Duquette and Angelos because they have two very different ideas as to what the team should be doing.
From the time he arrived until sometime last season, the Orioles’ owner and GM had the same goal: try to put a team on the field that might get to the post-season (and the World Series) this year. While ownership imposed certain restrictions on Duquette as to what he could do (and not do, like not sign Davis to a long-term contract) to get there, that’s the kind of thing all GMs live with, even if the ones imposed in Baltimore may have been more numerous and dumber.
By some time last year, and pretty clearly by the trade deadline, Duquette saw that the team’s capability to contend immediately had ended. He wanted to take the team through some form of a rebuild that would include trading some of its key players during the 2012-16 run who were nearing the end of their contracts or who would be more valuable to a contending term. Duquette was forbidden to explore trades for some of them and permitted to consider offers for others, but was no proposed trades was approved.
Since then, Duquette has been resigned to carrying out ownership’s half-assed “plan” of building a contender without signing long-term free agent pitchers and without trading Manny (or Britton or Schoop). He doesn’t really have any choice if he wants to keep his job and his salary until his contract ends, and to preserve his marketability after this year. But he seems to have limited enthusiasm for the foolish decisions he has to live with — no international drafting, no trade or extension for Manny of Schoop, no trading of attractive bullpen arms, no signings of high-quality starters even though the team is desperate for starters. So if Brady wants to do some of the legwork with Cashner or Tillman, that’s fine with Duquette. And Brady is taking advantage of the opportunity to get experience negotiating with agents and signing players.