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July 13, 2011

MacPhail not changing stance, encourages Showalter-Angelos to meet

One of the biggest storylines heading into the season’s second half is the future of Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, whose contract expires after the season. The attention on the topic will only be greater if the Orioles continue to slide.

For a story that I wrote that is currently on the website, MacPhail stays true to form and maintains that his contract situation is not on his mind.

“Let’s just see how we do and how we feel at the end of the year,” said MacPhail, who has never said definitively that he wants to return next season in his current capacity. “Obviously, it’s a two-party decision. We’re going to have to agree. I’ve always said and will continue to say, 'Let’s just see how we do and how we feel at the end of the season.'"

Orioles owner Peter Angelos told The Sun in March that MacPhail “is not going anywhere,” but I would have to think another poor season along with what MacPhail wants to do will impact that decision.

MacPhail also said people should not read too much into the fact that Angelos and manager Buck Showalter meet regularly (nearly once per homestand). In fact, MacPhail said, he encourages the meetings.

“That would be like Buck telling me that I can’t walk over and talk to [infield coordinator] Bobby Dickerson and [pitching coach] Rick Adair or [hitting coach] Jim Presley about the players, that all the information about running the baseball team has to come through the manager. I wouldn’t stand for that, and I don’t know why the owner would,” MacPhail said. “He’s free to talk to whomever he wants. He owns the team. I encouraged Peter to meet with Buck and Buck to meet with Peter.”

It is certainly interesting, however, that Showalter and Angelos meet regularly at the owner’s downtown law office. It is also worth pointing out that the past four Orioles managers -- Juan Samuel, Dave Trembley, Sam Perlozzo and Lee Mazzilli -- had little to no communication with the owner.

“You have to remember, as I told Peter, Buck is used to [his previous owners] George Steinbrenner, Jerry Colangelo and Tom Hicks. He’s probably not going to understand if there is not communication,” MacPhail said. “Plus, why shouldn’t Peter have access to what’s going on at the ground level during games? Do you think that Bill DeWitt of the Cardinals doesn’t talk to [Tony La Russa]? That’s idiotic to suggest for it to be any other way. There’s something wrong if the owner doesn’t talk to the manager.”

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 7:00 AM | | Comments (41)


Peter Angelos and his son John may soon be the owners of the longest current losing streak in professional sports...the last four years of which on Andy Macphail's watch. A cheapskate owner and a GM from the pliocene era. That about sums it up.

The Orioles will never win as long as Angelos owns the team and his son John is the head bean counter.

Not so fun fact: The most recent debut of an Oriole draftee who would go on to hit 25 HR in a season for the Orioles is Larry Sheets (debuted in 1984, 31 HR in 1987). Second most recent - Mike Young (who?) (debuted in 1982, 28 HR in 1985). Both those guys hit 25 HR once.

@ ace, Jayson Werth hit over 25HR however not with the Orioles. Only proves your fact, good prospects die on the famr of the Baltimore Orioles.

MOSTLY I like the job andy has done but it just isn't that easy to overcome. BUT if Mcphail and Jordan can't deliver bundy or improve the international picture we need a change. I believe the U.S. talent is too diluted to too many teams not to mention MLB handing so many extra picks to the best teams. IF PETER ANGELOS IS the reason there is no hope for the future to improve. It is past time for him to come out publicly and promise support for the team in all phases at whatever it takes or just tell us this is how it will remain..

macphail is done after the season. he doesn't want to come back. who can blame him? this franchise is the black hole. there is no hope.

I say we fire macphail and take his big salary and buy some pitching and hitting.

Fire macphail and use his salary to buy some pitching and hitting, Peter. Buck could use those resources. Andy is obsolete.

I think it's hard to evaluate McPhail without knowing what comes from him and what comes from ownership. I suspect the Guerrero signing came from ownership, and I suspect that some of the decisions about where to allocate resources (such as not in L.America) stem from ownership directives or stinginess. Keep in mind that I'm not necessarily bashing Angelos - I think it will be a bit sad when team ownership moves from a local individual style to some anonymous corporate conglomerate, even if it might change some results.

Ace, you don't remember Mike Young?! Perhaps you don't remember other 1-season wonders like Floyd Rayford, Craig Worthington, Leo Gomez, Jeff Ballard, and the like? O well... recalling those halcyon 80s teams will remind you that in the grand scheme of things, 1996-7 are the outliers, and Orioles' futility is really a 30-year phenomenon that has more to do with the combination of a restrained market picture and a legacy of poor management that transcends MacPhail or even Angelos.

I remember Mike Young! He would bat clean-up in today's Oriole line-up. Also, a roll of toilet paper could bat clean-up in today's Oriole line-up.


No offense because you are a great reporter in my opinion but why is this news?

Does it mean Showalter is calling the shots as to who will be the next GM? That should make everyone nervous if so because his past dalliances in personnel moves have been less than stellar (Adrian Gonzalez to SD, enough said).

The problem is that while MacPhail is an average GM at best for the O's, the previous GMs back to but not including Pat Gillick were all so awful there is a fear that things could be worse. MacPhail is like dating an average looking girl when all your exes had facial deformaties. He isn't the best man for a restrucuring in my opinion, the team is not one or two players away and needs a complete overhaul but at the same time I don't think the O's are going to hire a 28 year old sabremetric genius like AA in Toronto or Friedman in Tampa which they should and if the only person on speed dial is Syd Thrift or Mike Flanagan I vote for sticking with the devil we know.

Jeff Z's reply: I didn't bill it as huge news, but I find the fact that he's essentially met with Showalter more over the last month than he's met with his previous four managers combined interesting. And what's also interesting about it is Buck still has two more years on his deal after last season so with those things considered, it should be pretty obvious that he's going to have plenty of say in the construction of this roster and organization going forward.

MacPhail is a good ole boy. He is not going to change stance right now. He will not admit that he MacFailed here, just like he never admitted he MacFailed in Chicago. To him is about legacy. But as he himself said, people today are informed, and they can see through the BS. MacPhail is done in Baltimore. For the better or for worse he has been scapegoated and taken the heat for the Angelos family.

As I've said countless times, I believe MacPhail is fully capable of being successful. He voluntarily chose to be a fall man for Peter Angelos. Regardless, I can't be on his side. He is a tool, and as such he will be dealt with like a tool.


Peter Angelos doesn't care what kind of loserville records he sets. He is not flashy. He has no ego. All he cares about is the Benjamins.

I've said it numerous times:

If you O's fans want to make a difference, STOP SUPPORTING PETER ANGELOS! Don't go to games. Don't watch MASN. Don't buy O's merchandise. You are just as guilty for what's going on with this franchise, because you support an owner you don't agree with. Until you stop supporting him, you should not complain about the situation of this franchise.

The league needs to reduce the number of bad teams. Combine KC, Balt and Cleveland (best org. of this group) and play the home games in Cleveland. The alternative will be that the O's will be sold to outside interests within the next 5 years and the team will move anyway.

Scene from the Warehouse

Buck: You wanted to see me, sir?
Peter: Come on in Buck. Close the door. Pull up a chair.
Buck: Is there a problem?
Peter: Just wanted to give you my Vote of Confidence.

I want McPhail back. He and Buck are our only hope right now. There are many problems endemic to this franchise and virtually all fall in the lap of the team owner Peter Angelos. As I see it the most salient obstacles are:
1) The Prime job qualification for this job is the ability to get along with and have the respect of the the owner. The only person, living or dead, who fits that bill is McPhail.
2) McPhail stated when he came on board that he wanted to grow the arms and buy the bats. However, the team still seems committed to a snail-like pace in Free Agent negotiations. Mark my words, the mantra this offseason will be "Based on the financial difficulties of the Mets and Dodgers, augmented by the debt problems of the team, we will decline to actively participate in the Free Agent market this year." So what we are left with is growing arms, who get beaten down when the offense can only supply 0-2 runs per start. We may grow the arms, but they die on the vine. The solution, make an offer to a premiere FA like Prince Fielder like this: 5yrs, $150M with an opt out after 2 years and an option for 2 additional years. I'm sick and tired of hearing that players don't want to come here. EVERY player has a price. Oriole management needs to stop worrying about players not wanting to come here and start worrying about how to make the big splash blow-out offer that gives other teams pause about jumping into the bidding. The Orioles lack both the vision and the fortitude to make such an offer.
3) Make a commitment to player development in the Carribean. McPhail made overtures that there would be an initiative to do so. Then earlier this year McPhail said he doesn't like dealing with the Boscones (sp?) and therefore our participation will be limited in the DR.
Here's the bottom line: Every year, we take 1 step forward. Every year, the Yankees and Red Sox take 2-3 steps forward. Every year, the Rays and Jays take 1-2 steps forward. It doesn't take a genius to see that we are in a losing proposition here while we have a payroll that is not justified by production. Peter Angelos lacks the vision and accumen to right the ship. McPhail has it, but for some reason (owner related?) won't splurge on the big contract. I also wonder if he won't walk at the end of this contract. Buck, he'll get tired of this after a while. The result, unless a change in philosophy and commitment is made, the franchise will be dead. Some would argue, perhaps correctly, that it already is.

'We are better'

Typical AM quote. One he has used over the last 20 years, as no exec in major league baseball has lost more games over that period. NONE.

But it will continue folks... and continue... and continue.... And guess what? There's no light at the end of the tunnel.

The team on the field (except for a few players) is garbage. They have the 2nd worst record in the AL...and soon, they'll have the worst (again).

But they're "better", right?

Thing is, for AM and PA, this IS better. To them, they'll never believe they'll compete in the AL East. Meanwhile, you won't hear AM speak of the series losses to teams like the Nats and the Pirates.


A few posters have been correct for the last number of years.... and more recently, about AM. The writing has been on the wall and it's been CLEAR for everyone to see. Some just choose to ignore what's directly in front of them.

The 2011 O's team is a complete and utter disaster. Every team has some good players, and the O's are no exception. When it comes to putting together a 'team' however, AM has been a miserable failure since before the internet.

There is no plan, no present, and no future for the Baltimore Orioles. Instead, there's only continued lies, hype and losing.

That's the truth everyone. Sorry....

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.... all our problems are solved, McFail figured it out.

There’s something wrong if the owner doesn’t talk to the manager.

so all the other managers failed because peter didn't talk to them. give me a break. how about this, how about (like in most sports) the owner question certain things like a boss should but not really micro manage. see steve bischotti

Move the team. Give us a AAA franchise and memories of better days.

Should we be reading something into this like Buck wants to be the GM? Thats why he is brown-nosing Angelos? I for one, and this even surprises my son, wouldn't be sad to see Mcphail go, I just don't feel he did a good job evaluating talent, same thing with the scouting dept., poor choices on draft picks and such. Maybe Buck feels he can rebuild the organization from the top...he would get "his guy" as manager if he were the boss, and instead of the Oriole Way we would have the Buck Way...any thoughts????

Jeff Z's reply: Hey Joe, you're free to read into it how you want. I just find it interesting that he's meeting with Buck regularly and that's a departure from his usual relationship with managers. Obviously, some reading in between the lines is going to have to be done, but knowing this, and the fact that Buck's contract has two years remaining to Andy's none, it should be plenty obvious of the impact that Buck is going to have in building this organization going forward.

i do agree with the poster saying that as long as peter angelos and his son john are in control of the orioles they will not have winning seasons.the orioles have not made very good draft picks in recent years. sid threft must be making all of these decisions from his grave. i wonder how long it will be before we see postings saying that buck needs to get out of town. tampa bay rays have people who know how to draft players and they have people who know how to run the organization. tamapa bay has shown how to do things on a limited payroll.

The formula for winning seems to be developing solid pitching and defense in your OWN farm system, and then go out and write big checks for AT LEAST two impact players as needed to fill in the a Roy Halladay or an Adrian Gonzales. Since the O's have done NEITHER in the past 15 years, is there any wonder why this franchise has consistently failed? Continuing to use the same people will lead to the same results. Start with a brand-new scouting dept. Why not go out and over-pay for the two impact players AROUND WHICH you can buils a team? Throw the fans a bone....we deserve to see some great players WHILE the re-building is SUPPOSEDLY occurring.

I do think that it is very likely that Buck will be the GM after this season. However, I don't think that we will be lucky enough to get rid of snail McFail. That doesn't seem to to be the Angelos Way.

PA will appoint/"promote" McFail to a "higher" position. Thus, the money that we could have spent on scouting will just go to keep McFail around longer without him being GM. Hopefully, he won't have any real responsibility.

If only MacPhail could encourage Angelos to sell.

Than the fanbase would actually be happy for once.

Please Mr. Angelo's . Don't give in to the fans for peoples heads . You need to renew Mr. Macphil's contract and keep Buck . They both are good baseball people and know what is needed to turn this around . Please give it more time . It's not Andy or Bucks falt . You can only go on past track records with players . We have some very good players and some kids that are going to be very good . They just need to grow .
Thank you !!
Curt S.S. Md.

So I guess Wayne's now your problem, Jeff, since Peter Schmuck banned him over on his blog.
What did you do to deserve this?

'Than (sic) the fanbase would actually be happy for once.'
For about a day then they would start to whine again. I would be glad to see him go but the team needs more than that.

Hey Jeff .. Any chance Friedman would be in the discussion here, assuming he leaves Tampa??

Jeff Z's reply: Probably not.

Step one: Work on adding prospects, get draft picks signed
Step Two: Deal to get more prospects
Step Three: Go to Latin America and other places and sign prospects

If MacPhail can't get it done, can anyone?

I just finished reading dome of the responces above . You people are so dumb . You don't know the first thing about building a baseball team . The problem with baseball players is . they don't develup like other sports . If your lucky to find one top player out of fifteen , then and only then can you be a winner . It takes time people . You don't build on changes evert two or three years . We have a good G.M. and a good manager . They know what thet are doing . Shut your pie holes . They are good baseball people . Leave them alone and let them do thier jobs . Because we have had some wrong people in there before is why we are where we are . How would feel if everyone wanted your head all thr=e time . Please Mr. Angelo's , don't change anything right now . Let them do thier jobs .
Thanks !
Curt S.S. Md

Amen Curt S.S.

@Curt S.S. Md. I hope you are not serious in your last post. Don't call anyone dumb if you cannot write. You have at least five obvious grammer/spelling mistakes in your post. Look in the mirror, son.

ANDY MACPHAIL AS A TALENT EVALUATOR, June 18, 2007,referring to the young pitchers on the Orioles roster at that time:

"I promise you that there are teams in baseball that would envy having the kind of arms you have here."

The only one left is Jeremy Guthrie. Most bombed out, Bedard got traded.


"We are better." Than what, Andy? Where? Are we missing something? We are 18 games out of first place and 7 games out of fourth.

ANDY MACPHAIL AS TEAM MOTIVATOR, Spring 2010. "This year will be more about wins and losses." It was...the latter.


"What I'd like to to achieve here, other than the a lot of games and go to the World Series, is I think it is important to try to develop a team that has character in it. The Orioles had their 'Orioles' way, and we need to find ours."

Andy, I think you did find it. The starting rotation is in shambles, and as usual, you brought in over the hill vets to stink up the middle of the lineup. The farm system may be worse off now then when you got here. The competitive season was over by the All Star break.

When you were hired you promised to always do what was best for the Baltimore Orioles. Now I think we see what you meant. Apparently the best thing for us to do is lose.

13 days after the international market opened up, the Orioles still haven't done anything.

Here are the teams that have:

Boston (3)
Cleveland (4)
Kansas City (3)
Toronto (4)
Chicago NL (3)
Texas (3)
Tampa Bay (9)
San Francisco (1)
New York AL (1)
Houston (2)
Pittsburgh (2)
New York NL (1)
Atlanta (1)
St. Louis (2)
Minnesota (1)
Detroit (1)
San Diego (1)

So 17 of 30 teams have combined to sign 46 players and the Orioles haven't done a damn thing. Oh, and 17 of those 46 players were signed by the other four AL East teams. But good old boy Andy is sitting on his hands, as per usual. Now, that would be fine if the Orioles were serious players in the MLB free agent market, but they're not.

I, for one, have given up on this organization. This does not mean that I'm no longer an Oriole fan. This means that I am 100% done with Peter Angelos and Andy MacPhail. I've tried to give both of these men the benefit of the doubt, but this season has left me disappointed, sad and broken as an Oriole fan. Peter Angelos has proven time and time again over the past 15 years that he a) doesn't know a damn thing about baseball and b) doesn't care about whether or not this franchise ever competes again. And good old Andy has proven time and time again over the past four seasons that he's just here to keep costs down and collect his own paycheck.

From this day until the day that both Angelos and Andy have finished destroying a former model franchise, I will not watch MASN, I will not buy Orioles merchandise and I will not attend a game at Oriole Park in my travels to Baltimore.

Sure, I'll keep checking the blogs here and I'll keep Matt Wieters on my fantasy team and I'll catch up on the O's in the rare event that they play on national TV, but that's it.

I am officially done.

Not Brooks,

Ditto. And I will continue to go to the dugout club games this year, because my kids love them but I have already stopped watching, it will be easy to root for the Rays for the rest of this year. I am done with the team I have rooted for since 1982, and I truly would not mind at all if the team was folded.

Angelos may be an astute business man but his legacy will be that he drove this franchise into the dirt. I hope he realizes that.
All of his charitable donations mean less than nothing compared with the damage he has done to this city and state by destroying the Orioles.
I'll be the one at the game tomorrow with a "Please Sell" sign. Wonder if they will let me bring it in...

Cal Ripken is the only hope for this franchise, as owner.

The Baltimore Sun:
A chump newspaper in a chump city with chump writers and who write chump articles about a chump baseball team.

Ive said it before,and I will say it again... Meso you are a moron!

Frustration with a team makes people say idiotic things, apparently...

Not Brooks, you hit it...I've cancelled two trips to see Os games the last 2 years, one out of a schedule change but i ended up glad, and last years out of frustration.

I've been as positive and patient as can be since AM took over...the lack of movement is INCREDIBLE when it comes to Latin players, big name free agents, etc. 40 man roster better then when he got here? On paper, yes. Somethings out of his control (roberts, markakis power outtage) yes...but no effort to fix the things that are supposedly in his control. Buy the bats you slow SOB! Starting the season with Guthrie and the jets was dumb...I think smart Os fans werent looking for a sabathia type pitcher, but man, someone to eat innings and be compettive...give Kevin Millwood for crying out loud!

A year ago I thought this would be a year with 78 wins and hope on the horizon for the first time in forever. THen ANdy gets kicked upstairs or moves on to be the commish and an aggressive GM comes in to finish the job. I will support this man no more. I know that hurts coming from me Andy.

@Curt S.S. Md. I hope you are not serious in your last post. Don't call anyone dumb if you cannot write. You have at least five obvious grammer/spelling mistakes in your post. Look in the mirror, son.

Posted by: Rich K | July 13, 2011 6:14 PM

Dear Rich K,
I agree with the substance of your response to Curt who is not burdened by the writing skills of the average poster (it's not a very high bar to clear).

However, unfortunately for you, my friend, Menckenitus, the Muse of Caustic Blog Contributors was not whispering in your ear when you called out Curt for five obvious grammer/spelling mistakes. As luck would have it, you misspelled "grammar." Takes a little steam out of your comment when you commit the transgression against which you are railing>
Oops! My comment is all in good fun — I love blog humor; especially irony and self-contradictory statements. There is too much intensity on sports blogs; every so often, we need smile or two

Baseball is dead in Baltimore,,,,,,,,,,,

Angelos still makes all the decisions and his meetings with Buck are just another example of his meddling behavior short-circuiting his GM.

owner who has the desire to win .one who doesnt act like the god father of loosing. one who doesnt use the orioles payroll as a tax break. one who doesnt abuse the oriole fan base by putting garbage on the field and expect the fans to pay top dollar to support. one who knows how to cater to the teams fan base.if such an owner is around please send resume to 333 eutah st. baltimore md. untill angloes either sells the team or moves this team somewhere else boy cott this disgracefull owner. baltimore will get another team go phillies. how about those buckos.go nationals show em how to win davey.

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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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