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October 14, 2011

Complications with interviewing Jennings, Avila

We know, according to an industry source, that the Orioles will be interviewing both Toronto Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava and Arizona Diamondbacks senior vice president Jerry Dipoto next week for the club’s vacant general manager/president position.

We also know the Orioles are hoping to talk to Florida Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings. According to another industry source, the Orioles are waiting on a response from Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, who is out of the country and not immediately available.

We also know the Orioles have interest in the Detroit Tigers' Al Avila, the assistant GM of a club in the American League Championship Series.

Avila’s and Jennings’ situations are complicated.

Both have signed long-term extensions with their clubs through 2015, and so the respective clubs can – and may – deny permission.

In Jennings’ case, the Marlins already have. Three times, in fact, in the past. This one could be different though because Jennings is now halfway through his eight-year extension and his opportunities to be a general manager could be waning. The sense is Loria may permit it this time.

Avila, who had interviewed with the Orioles when Jim Duquette was hired, is in high demand, especially with the Tigers on their current playoff run. The Orioles probably wouldn’t attempt to get permission for him until after Detroit’s season ends.

But it likely won’t matter. Avila signed a four-year extension this year that extends him through 2015. The contract allows the Tigers to refuse permission for him to speak to another club. And if that language was inserted there, it’s hard to believe they’d allow him to talk to the Orioles – or the reportedly interested Los Angeles Angels – so soon.

Now, in each case, it’s possible the Orioles could work out a deal with the opposing club, offering compensation in the form of players or cash if they really wanted one of those two men. But with other attractive candidates, it’s doubtful they’d go that far.

All clubs can deny permission, but the protocol is that if someone in your organization has a chance for a promotion, you let him or her go for it. But that’s not always the case when an executive has a long-term contract.

To recap, Jennings or Avila would be a complicated buy, but Jennings is a little more likely than Avila.

One last question: Why would a promising GM candidate agree to a long-term deal that would perhaps limit his ceiling?

Simple: Good money and security in one of the country’s most volatile industries.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 3:11 PM | | Comments (1)
        

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Kim Ng!!!

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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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