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July 16, 2010

MacPhail defends pace of managerial search

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail knows he has a reputation for being deliberate, and rarely does he fight that label. However, on Thursday he did vehemently dispute the assertion that his managerial search is dragging out.

It was six weeks ago when MacPhail fired Dave Trembley and replaced him on an interim basis with Juan Samuel, who is 14-20 and has guided his team to a four-game winning streak heading into Friday night’s second-half opener versus Toronto.

The Orioles have zeroed in on Buck Showalter as their next manager, with MacPhail meeting with him last week in Dallas, where the current ESPN analyst lives. It was the third extensive talk between the two sides, but they’ve yet to hammer out all the details that would allow Showalter to move into the manager’s office at Camden Yards.

“It’s not dragging,” said MacPhail, almost incredulous that the process is being questioned by fans and reporters. “Again, there is no timetable here. It’s not like the barn is on fire right now. The players are doing a nice job for Juan. I just think that kind of [talk] is just wrong.”

MacPhail again denied reports that a new manager could be in place as early as this weekend, though he wouldn’t comment further on the timing of the decision. One source familiar with MacPhail’s thinking said it’s possible that Samuel will remain at the helm of the club until the first week of August, though obviously the decision could be accelerated if the team plays poorly on the current 10-game homestand.

The Orioles president of baseball operations did acknowledge that his current focus is more on the coming trade deadline than the managerial situation because of the “finite July 31 deadline” to make nonwaiver deals. He also said there are no current interviews scheduled with other candidates, “but I don’t know if that door has been closed yet.”

MacPhail and other team officials have interviewed Showalter, Bobby Valentine, Eric Wedge and Rick Dempsey, and Showalter has emerged as the clear favorite among external candidates. The Orioles also consider Samuel a legitimate candidate, and that would satisfy commissioner Bud Selig’s directive to consider minority candidates.

“There are nice options available to us that are along the lines of what we’re looking for,” MacPhail said. “It’s about where we would expect the process to be. Those people that think the process is slow or dragging, I don’t think that’s the case here.”

Team officials feel there are several benefits to waiting a little while before naming Showalter, or anybody else for that matter, as their manager. With Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, Matt Wieters, Kevin Millwood and Michael Gonzalez all expected to return within the next 2 1/2 weeks, the Orioles could be close to full strength for the first time since early April. That would give the new manager the best chance to have an immediate impact as there is some concern that the continued losing would tarnish the potential impact of a new manager.

Also, the delay would allow Showalter, an intense planner, more time to study the organization and its players and formulate a plan on how to turn things around.

MacPhail wouldn’t comment on the reasons for the delay, but he did say that his own contract situation does not factor into the decision. MacPhail’s contract expires after the 2011 season. Meanwhile, a high-profile managerial candidate, such as Showalter, will presumably ask for a three- or four-year deal.

“I don’t really worry about my own contract to be honest with you. I’ve worked for so long without contracts. I don’t think that should influence my thinking one iota,” he said. “You just try to do the best thing you can for the franchise and let the rest of it happen. I can’t be any less concerned about that.”

Asked also about the perception that he might not want a controlling type of personality in the manager’s office – one Showalter is known to have – MacPhail said: “As I’ve often said when it comes to the manager’s job, it really is a custom fit for your time and circumstances and what your team needs. That’s not really an issue for me. You’re just trying to bring somebody in who you think it’s going to be the most effective manager you can get given the composition of the squad.”



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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 12:12 PM | | Comments (59)
        

Comments

So the 1000's of people that disagree with McPhail are wrong and he is right. Got it!

What in the world does the O's record in the next 10 games have to do with the timetable for hiring a manager?

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: The Orioles would prefer to not make a change immediately for the reasons I cited in the blog. But if things get so bad during this homestand, it could prompt a quicker move, or Peter Angelos to demand an immediate move.

One sentence to sum up Andy's tenure as O's GM thus far?

"Again, there is no timetable here."

What's sad is that MacPhail can't do 2 things (hire a manager AND work on the trade deadline) at once.

Talk about sad.

Nothing changes until Angelos pulls a Steinbrenner or sells.

Actually, the barn IS on fire, but I understand why they are waiting. Hopefully Showalter is on the same page with them and they can get a deal worked out so he can take over as soon as possible.

at the rate he is going, he will let Samuel finish the season with the current coaching staff. The team would simply bring Showalter in as a "consultant" until year end. Then Showalter can put together his own coaching staff for 2011

MacPhail, and the Orioles in general, need to stop with these attempts to pacify their disgruntled fan base...well, whats left of them, anyway...

- "It's not dragging."

Ok, so how do you explain the 6 weeks it has taken to find someone willing to take the job? How about the rumors that Showalter may receive some kind of BS "advisory" managerial role, where he essentially sits in the press box for the rest of the season, enjoys the terrible food that they actually charge media members for nowadays, and just waits for the season to end while Samuel flaps in the breeze. Please, Andy, address that one for us.

-"The players are doing a nice job for Juan. I just think that kind of [talk] is just wrong.”


I suppose 14-20 is a "nice job" nowadays for the Orioles brass? Please...I understand that there has been improvement, but how could there NOT be any improvement over a historically horrendous start? 14-20 is not a "nice job" in my book. In fact, it's inexcusable.

-"You’re just trying to bring somebody in who you think it’s going to be the most effective manager you can get given the composition of the squad.”

Andy, it's YOUR job to make sure the composition of the squad gets better. And that means not signing more free agent busts like Atkins or Gonzalez.

It also means getting your player development staff under control. In my mind, that is what separates us from the other teams in MLB. It might be time to find some better coaches down on the farm...you know, ones that can produce WINNERS...

Oh, one more thing...can't believe I missed this gem...

"It’s not like the barn is on fire right now."

Ok, Andy...when would you consider the barn to be on fire? When they go 0-162?

NEWS FLASH - when you're the worst team in baseball, the barn is not only on fire, it's a freaking inferno.

why is every decision such a tedious process with this team??? Ya got Dempsey begging for it and not a lot else to choose from. WTH??

Lets just get it over with. Enough already!

Andy Glacier
Andy Incredulous
Andy Clueless

I almost hope that they drag their feet so long that Buck takes another opportunity and Dempsey gets the job. Because until Dempsey is the manager we will not have hit THE bottom.

I AM incredulous that Dempsey has even been considered. That to me is a sign that THE bottom has not yet been reached.

We are back to searching for square #1; we are not on the upswing in the Andy Glacier era.

"Its not like the barn is on fire right now."

Are you kidding me?! The barn has been a raging inferno since Opening Day. Heck, for that matter, the conflagration has been going for the last 12 years.

Methinks that part of the reason it has gone on so long is that no one treats the situation like it is a barn on fire.

GET IT DONE ALREADY.

here's my bottom line. the one thing that has been some sense of positive consistency with this dismal team is that MacPhail has moved it forward and gotten some great prospects. THEY ARE NOT PLAYING WELL NOW. I don't see how that's MacPhail's fault.
if the owner fires MacPhail that will be the last straw for me.
the season is over. try to win some games and move on.
plus, the Ravens start camp in a few weeks.

The barn isn't on fire at all. To have a barn you must build something, we haven't built squat! 2010 is yet again another extended spring training season. I'm with you MacPhail, take your time. What do we have to lose? We avoided lossing 100 games last year by the skin of our teeth, maybe this year we will get lucky and avoid lossing 120 at the last minute. Does that mean that the 2011 Orioles will lose 139 games? Sad that for this team to sink any lower the ridiculous needs to come into play. At our current rate of decline we will be 0-162 in 2014.

Good Lord, people ease up! You really want management to rush through an incredibly important decision just because you think they should? C'mon! Have any of you ever hired a manager of anything? Is this a process you would rush through?
The team is doing their homework and making sure the fit is right, but someone of still aren't satisfied, I don't understand it.

MacPhail's right, the barn is not on fire. As so many of you have said, a new manager is not going to overnight turn this collection of players in contenders. There's no time table, the Orioles aren't running out of time to make a rush at the pennant, that ship sailed in March.

Let the process play out, and if Showalter is the choice, I'm sure he is already looking at the team and formulating ideas. But there are so many factors to consider, not the least of which, are the Orioles prepared to give Showalter assurances that they will sepnd the money necessary to compete?

Take your time, Mr. MacPhail. Just make the right decision. That's all we can ask.

At this point I really don't care when the new guy comes in. The season is already toast and a new manager isn't going to make them contenders this year unless he has divine powers, but for Andy to claim the process isn't dragging is surreal. It's been 6 weeks since Trembley was fired, that's not dragging? I know I am in a small minority of fans who is not bothered by the long delay, but I don't try to pretend that things are moving quickly.

What is a new manager going to do better than what Mr.Samuel has already showed us?

So when is the barn on fire 0-162?

This team does not need a re-build in the roster needs it in coaching and front office staff. Why doesn't Andy start looking for another job

What is the old expression, opinions are like $#@%&*, everyone has one.

For people who have never played or managed or been a general manager or an owner at the major league level, it is absolutely amazing that the total knowledge necessary to turn the Orioles franchise around rests entirely and exclusively on this particular forum.

Baltimore is so blessed for this absolutely amazing good fortune.

Hopefully, the agreement is in place with Buck and there is an understanding between Andy and Buck about when Buck will enter the dugout.

@ Pat Mahweeney and @ Betty Humpter

I totally agree!

It could SNOW first before we get a manager named

MacPhail is a disaster. Can't wait til his era is over.

Lighten up folks. There is no barn. McPhail is right. There's no rush. A new manager coming from outside the organization would not know what players are out there in AAA and AA, and therefore would not be prepared to make changes. He wasn't at spring training. Why hurry things? Why not give him time to visit Bowie and Norfolk before taking the job? A contract takes awhile to negotiate.

No, Andy, the barn is NOT on fire. It has fallen apart due to the many years of front office and ownership ineptitude that seems to continue to this day.

The only obvious rationale to the lack of decision making is that either Peter is too busy with his law practice or Showalter wants more authority than Peter is willing to concede.

Hey, why not wait until the end of the year and maybe Lou Piniella will be available. Why not one more former Cubbie to add to the mix?

Until Angelos is ready to open up the check book, this team will struggle. Does not matter who is GM or manager. What matters is who is on the field. Right now they have no real cleanup hitter, no leadoff hitter, below average fielding and terrible pitching. They do not have enough talent in the organization to fill the spots that need upgraded. At some point they need to spend some money to get a pair of power hitting corner infielders, a #1 starter and a closer. That will cost around $50 million. That would give them a chance to get out of last place.

man u guys are hard. for years and months we have all suffered the ruling and domination of kingANGELOS. so, we who truly care know it's not changing soon. i'am not an angelos hater, just know he's been lining his pockets for a decade now
i will bring my 2-year old up to love theO's, and that's it. he has # 8's, #5's, 24's all in his lil mancave.
he watches the games with his family and actually likes it. (poor guy)

OK, so its pretty much decided that Buck Showalter will be the next skipper and I my opinion is that he should have been picked after Sam Perlozzo left. He is more like Earl Weaver than all of those who are avalible. This man knows this game of baseball sooooo well! Mr. MacPhail, please stop all of the procrastination and worry about all the power struggles from within, swallow your pride, and "JUST DO IT". If not the Marlins will take him away from us in a heartbeat. Indecisiveness will cause regrets that we won't overcome. This IS the man, get him now!

The Barn is not on fire, it burned down a long time ago. Let's just start building it back again.

C'mon guys, Andy is like a general contractor, and Angleos is the home owner. Angelos wants a mansion but he's funding a spec house. So you end up with like a marble floor bathroom with no toilet. Give Andy a break he's in the pich. You guys get this don't ya? Don't ya?

If I was offered, I would want take the job after the season has ended. What point does it serve to take over a team that is in such disarray, with such a horrific record, during a season that is over. Start off fresh, at 0-0, with your own coaching staff, your own players, and your own philosophy.

Yeah, a 14-20 record is just awesome. Give me a break! Juan is a nice guy, but that is where it ends. Bring in Showalter now!!

McPhail is "waiting for the market to set itself" when it comes to a new manager. This guy must be retarded to not be able to see that the barn has already burned. It seems like he just wants to light the fans on fire next. Make something happen McPhail or GET OUT.

If I were hired to manage this team I would want to take over as soon as possible. After all I may not even be here in the spring to take over. We never know when our number might be up, do we? Besides, when I know a job must be done I want to get to it and get it done.

I would want to have the rest of this LOST year to try some things with the present players and staff to see if I could make a difference in motivating them to step it up a notch.

I would not want to be judged on wins and losses until next year when I could start out with my own choice of coaches implementing my game plan with hopefully some better players to work with at a few positions.

I would want to try a few things THIS year when a mistake would not hurt so much the team's position in the standings so that next year I would know not to try that again when it could dig me into a hole from which I might not be able to escape.

I am sure Buck has many idea as to how to improve this team's performance, some of which will not prove to be effective. Why not use the rest of this year to weed out the "this is not working" ideas?

If a little more time is needed to satisfy McPhail, the owner and Showalter as to what is expected of each other, then take the extra time. But, once that issue is settled then let's get down to work and make our best attempt to stop the bleeding that has been sapping the very life out of Baltimore baseball for so many, many years now.

What barn? All I see is a pile of cinders & ash next to a big bag of cash marked "Property of P.Angelos".

Maybe if they had an adequate # of scounts / front office execs they could mutli task & concentrate on both,,,the managerial search & the trade deadline.

The O's are MLB's F student....do the work. Hire enough so you CAN do the work. Ridiculous - other teams do

I think McPhail's "the barn is not on fire" comment has just earned its rightful place next to Syd Thrift's "confederate money" comment in the annals of Oriole's futility lore. I don't know why, but the confederate money comment still brings a smile to my face.

The barn already burned to the ground.

The barn has burned down every year for the last 12 years. Maybe we should rebuild it next year with something other than kerosene soaked wood?

“Again, there is no timetable here. It’s not like the barn is on fire right now. The players are doing a nice job for Juan. I just think that kind of [talk] is just wrong.”

Apparently there are bigger problems than not having a manager. Having a management team that thinks that 14-20 is an acceptable winning percentage for a manager and that the team is "doing a nice job" is indicative of a complete lack of concern about winning. With this kind of leadership, we can expect that the O's will continue to be in the basement of baseball for as long as Peter Angelos is alive. It seems the only potential solution to this situation is actuarial. Maybe my 2-year-old son will live long enough to see a winning Orioles season!

People , wake up,,,,,,,Peter the Great is happy with things just the way they are,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,He is making money every year thanks to revenue sharing , tv revenue and his wonderful MASN , plus he has a guaranteed sale price from MLB,,,,,,,,,,he is the happiest guy in the room , he doesn't care about you , please wake up...................

We all agree...the barn isn't on fire, it's already burned to the ground.

So in that sense Andy is right, the same sort of urgent response isn't required.

However, from a fan's perspective, there comes a time when you stop conducting annual environmental-impact studies, and just hire someone to rebuild the damn barn!

The barn burnt down a long time ago.The fire started when Angelos fired Davey Johnson.It has now spread to the outbuildings and most of the stable and the horses.However since it hasn't yet reached the Warehouse,there is no sense of urgency.C'mpn people,the Plan is still in place.As long as Angelos paper money isn't burning their is NO CONCERN here,NONE.The reason the process is dragging is because Buck Showalter will not give in to the concessions Juan Samuel does,and he will cost Little Peter a lot more money than Juan does.It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Juan didn't even get a raise for taking over as manager.If so I certainly haven't heard any reporting on it.My gut feeling tells me the search will drag on until Buck says I've waited long enough,and as usual the Orioles front office can say we made him an offer,and he didn't like it,therefore we have to hire Eric Wege.Get a clue,Gary,Ken,et al.,no other orginization at baseball moves at the snails pace the Orioles do,and then still make such horrible moves.Please Andy what little credibility you had with me,and it was very little went out the door when you basically came out and said you can't hire a manager and monitor the trading deadline at the same time.The game passed you by a long time ago.You've lived off of your Daddy's legacy and name long enough.Please move on.And tale Little Peter with you.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: Juan did get a bump and a new contract when he became interim manager.

Does anyone remember the Iraqi Information Minister during the Iraq war- nicknamed "Baghdad Bob"- whose propaganda-filled briefings were so obviously wrong as to be comical? Reading MacPhail's comments just now I suddenly realized that is what he has become in Baltimore.

During the first two years of his tenure it wasn't really apparent because he didn't really promise anything- MacPhail said there would be pain and losing and that is the one thing he's delivered on during his tenure with the Orioles. But in the past 12 months his reputation as a baseball genius has been left in tatters, when he failed to deliver on his promise to make key free agent acquisitions last off-season, and left a manager in place for a year too long who was clearly not up to the job (a delay which has inexcusably stunted the development of our younger players and led to the lack of any kind of winning culture in the clubhouse). As a result, this year the organization has failed to meet even its tempered expectations in the first year in which expectations have been set.

And what has Andy done? Let's see, first he tried to spin it as Schmuckian "bad luck"- all due to the injuries to Roberts and Pie. Riiiiight. Then he actually blamed the players (that he handpicked and put in to place)- famously saying "this isn't a suicide pact." You're right on that one Mr. MacPhail- Nick Markakis will still be here in two years but you may not be. And finally, as his coup de grace, after FINALLY dumping Trembley a year too late, he has stumbled and bumbled the entire hiring process for a replacement. Trembley getting axed was a surprise to nobody- why did MacPhail not have a contingency plan in place? Why, six weeks later, are we being told the reason for the delay is the impending trade deadline?

MacPhail says the "barn is not on fire" but anyone who has been following this team for the last year knows this is not true- this team is a raging inferno. MacPhail tries to cover for his bumbling by acting like he is just being deliberate with his decision and going on ad nauseum about fidelity to "the process"- but anyone with any intelligence whatsover knows this is false.

It's finally dawned on me that MacPhail doesn't have a clue. All he has is excuses and false justifications for his managerial incompetence. I hope the MLB owners are watching this farce of a front office organization bumble the Orioles even further down the toilet; is this really the kind of executive- indecisive, ineffective, and full of excuses- they want to run the league after Selig retires?

MacPhail has become our Baghdad Bob, and if I didn't laugh I'd cry.

Face the facts Orioles Fans, we have had an "Interim Manager" since August, 2007. Dwell on it, realize it, its not that difficult to figure on. Buck Showalter should have been here back then. Now consider all of the time that has been wasted on this rebuilding process. There has in reality and over all this time been "No Progress". We are told to let the "Fine Wine" mature, however, the powers that be have had too much time and have made incompetent decisions from the very start. There has been is no structure, no leadership as Paul Blair pointed out when the 1970 Orioles came for the reunion in late June. When asked in the same interview to Davey Johnson if things would have been different if he stayed here he was emotionally unable to answer the question twice. Fans, that says it all and need we say anymore.

@spy,

You're a loser and full of doo doo. Go post somewhere else.

Must be a Steelers fan.

Sorry andy, but no one is buying your bull SSSHHHH#$%#$^@$ any more.

We want a new barn!

Will somebody please get Nero McFail a fiddle?

McFail's new barnburner: Come see the O's at their fiery best!

AM has failed here -- and should be let go. His off season acquisitions -- were just terrible --- see Texas for smart moves in off season --- he could have used the money spent on 3-4 busts that we all know about on Vlady G..... but no. The fans deserve a change in management and now --- and please, the O's can't be serious about Juan ... good baseball COACH.... we can't take on any more on-the-job-training managers ...Andy, you did us no favors with you ineptness as a GM --- you did well in Minnesota with Tom Kelly and players --- no where else.

Andy is right the barn isnt on fire. Its already been burned to the ground and in essence put itself out.

It be nice to see some fire in this team from time to time. We see little to no emotion game in and game out, as a matter of fact we see a lot of just going through the motions with this team from top to bottom.

Normally I get somewhat excited about the trading deadline but with the Oriole shuffle that goes on year in and year out they seem to always miss out on the big deals even when they are in a better position than they are now. I honestly cant remember the last good deadline deal this team has made and thats spanning over 20 years. To say they are due is an understatement. But the only way this team is gonna get decent talent to replace the guys they trade is to package some of these guys together. Making 4 trades to 4 different teams for 4 AA or A players that may or may not ever seen the light of day isnt the way to go. Try and move 3 or 4 of these guys together to get one major league ready guy under the age of 25 or a AAA player with a lot of upside which might be the same thing.

AM was brought in to rebuild the bard. There was a fire and the barn has burnt down. Now is the time to bring in a demolition crew to remove the debris....

Where will the animals sleep without the barn???

At least with mr Mcphail's player signings we don't have to worry about any thoroughbreds being in the barn when it flames.

What is the timetable for hiring a new General Manager? Maybe we should get a new GM first and let him pick the new manager. As McFail is so worried about the timing of a managerial hire just shows once again that he is so incompetent that he can't even make a decision. That is why that joke of a manager Trembley was here close to three seasons

Fire Prevention Week starts October 3rd, the O's last regular season game. Let's get a fire inspector (new GM) in that barn before it burns down.

Am I reading this right?

Delaying will allow Showalter time to study the organizatiion and its players and formulate a plan for turning things around.

That's McPhail's job!!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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