Coming soon to a front office near you ...
With two days left in the season, there’s really just one question remaining at Camden Yards – besides whether the Boston Red Sox end up choking away their playoff berth.
What’s happening with the Orioles’ president of baseball operations position?
I can’t say for 100 percent. In fact, I believe decisions are still being hammered out, so consider this an educated guess based on talking to a lot of people – some who know more than they are telling me and some who think they know more than they do. Understand that before we move on.
My belief is that Andy MacPhail will announce he is stepping down shortly after the season ends (his contract ends Oct. 31). My money is on an announcement Thursday. It could come later, but I can’t see it dragging out much beyond early next week.
My belief is that the leading candidate to replace MacPhail is current Orioles manager Buck Showalter. My sense is that it could be his job if he wants it. I’m not sure he’s totally sold on leaving the dugout at this point, but if he is convinced he can make more of an impact in the front office, he’ll take his bad knees and turned ankle and hobble upstairs.
Neither Showalter nor MacPhail is talking about any of this, both politely declining to comment. But I will say there is one thing of which I am absolutely sure: Showalter will not attempt to do both jobs, nor would owner Peter Angelos allow that to happen. That just wouldn’t work in baseball.
Regardless of what happens, expect Showalter to have major input here – he’ll either pick his replacement as manager or he’ll work with Angelos to find a club president who he feels is on the same page. I’d also be surprised if MacPhail doesn’t have some input, too. He, Showalter and Angelos have a mutual respect, and I believe MacPhail truly wants to see this organization succeed.
There’s no secret that Angelos and Showalter meet on a fairly regular basis, more than the owner has ever met with one of his managers. And I think they’ll work together to decide where Showalter can be of most use.
I also believe that decision will come hand-in-hand with MacPhail’s announcement, so that the baseball world knows whether the Orioles are shopping for a manager or a team president/general manager.
I don’t have any names for you – actually, I have some thoughts, but that REALLY would be speculation – but history tells us that Angelos likes to hire veteran baseball men with experience when he goes after a top front office type. He’s hired, to name a few, Pat Gillick, Syd Thrift, Jim Beattie, Jim Duquette and MacPhail.
So I don’t see that trend changing if Showalter remains in the dugout. I don’t see the Orioles hiring some whiz kid to take over the front office. I don’t see anyone under, say, 45 getting that job. And I’d assume it would be someone that Showalter knows and/or respects and someone with a scouting, player-evaluation background.
I think the safe money is on Showalter, but it could end up being the field. So I wouldn’t take it to Vegas just yet.