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October 7, 2011

Grade Andy MacPhail's tenure as team president

It’s not technically official, but it is happening.

Andy MacPhail’s tenure as president of baseball operations is over after four-plus years and a record of 307-432 (.415 winning percentage). He finished last in each of his four full seasons and fourth in 2007.

We’ll have plenty of time to talk about who replaces MacPhail and what that person has to do right this ship – if one person can.

Today, though, I want to know your evaluation of MacPhail and the job he did.

Let me start by saying that when MacPhail was hired, I was told by those who knew him that he was an honest, upfront professional. In my four-plus years of dealing with him, nothing changed that opinion.

MacPhail kept things close to the sweater-vest, as we used to joke in the press box. But he was always accountable and never once lied to me to get me or other reporters off a scent – and that’s huge for someone in his position. If he couldn’t tell me something, he just didn’t. We all respected that.

As for the job he did, I’m giving MacPhail a C-. His win-loss record probably begs a D, maybe worse. And I can’t say the organization has overwhelmingly better personnel than it did when he got here – meaning it’s probably just as far away from competing in the AL East as it was in 2007.

Although his trades were normally very good – adding Adam Jones, Luke Scott and J.J. Hardy, among others – his free-agent signings were primarily dreadful. That said, he didn’t saddle the Orioles with any long-term free agent contracts and most of the real stinkers – Garrett Atkins, Justin Duchscherer – were low-risk long shots.

But I disagree with some fans that MacPhail’s tenure here was a flop. He attempted to rebuild it with young pitching, baseball’s most volatile commodity. Those young pitchers didn’t take the next step – and there wasn’t enough depth to fall back on – and so the Orioles didn’t meet even the modest expectations that many had in 2011.

Maybe those guys come together next year or the year after and MacPhail’s plan looks a little better. Maybe not. But it is hard to judge it now as a complete failure.

Those are my thoughts. I want your opinion.

Daily Think Special: How do you grade Andy MacPhail’s tenure in Baltimore?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 11:53 PM | | Comments (54)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar


Grade = D.
As President of Baseball Operations, his job was to put a competitive product on the field at the major league level, fare well in the amateur draft, make smart trades and good free agent signings, improve the scouting, both domestically and internationally, and put the right people in the right spot to succeed at every level -- managers, coaches, instructors, scouts, and front office personnel. In only one of those areas could I give him as high as a C+ grade -- trades. The scouting stinks, the international signings are non-existent, player development should be renamed player regression, and the major league product is embarrassing. The Orioles are in the major leagues, but playing with AAA talent. MacPhail had the power to formulate policy, set standards, direct operations, hire and fire personnel, shift emphasis, focus on particular areas, etc., etc. The most urgent need was to improve scouting and international signings. Our draft picks, with the exception of Wieters, suck. He should have hired a decent scouting director and more staff. He didn't. He should have mined the rich Central American and Pacific Rim talent. He didn't. He has been an abysmal failure in virtually every respect. But you can't blame MacPhail for 14 straight losing seasons, only partiallyy for) the four he was here. So, it doesn't take a genius to figure out the problem The only constant for those 14 depressing and embarrassing years is Angelos. Until he dies or sells the team, we're in for more depression and embarrassment. What used to be a proud and tradition-rich franchise, Angelos has made into a laughingstock. Doing any more analysis than to say until he goes the Orioles will be horrible is an exercise in futility. Angelos has surpassed Bob Irsay in being the most hated person in Baltimore history. At least by leaving, Irsay gave us a chance to have a decent team 12 years later. There's no such hope on the horizon for the Orioles.


He made some decent trades (Bedard, Tejada, getting Hardy), but free-agency and international efforts severly lacking.

Bottom line is fans are still waiting for even so much as a 70 win season.

A solid D.

While he excelled in making trades, he failed to hold the player development staff accountable. He did not exploit any market inefficiencies that a GM of a mid market team needs to take. He did not invest heavily in Latin American talent. He deserves credit for at least having a Dominican facility, but his quotes about not signing a player based on a workout is simply the wrong analysis. If you look at what the Red Sox and Blue Jays are doing, the Orioles are light years behind them.

The Orioles pick in the top 5 year in and year out and still have a bottom rung farm system. Nevermind his horrid free agent signings (seriously, how many relievers can he give $10M?), the lack of a top echelon farm system cost the Orioles dearly. No excuse for that.

Well...He made some good trades, adding Adam Jones, Luke Scott, J.J Hardy, Reynolds, and Hunter. But he also wasted a lot of time with his prized Pie instead of signing a FA LF with either pop or leadoff-hitter high onbase tendencies. And the Closer for Josh Bell trade never worked either. Also, he should've traded Luke Scott, Guthrie, and Roberts in past offseasons when they had peak value...but no. Oh well, B for trades.

Free Agency - epic fail. Many millions were spent on the likes of Izturis, Atkins, Gonzalez, Gregg, and the injured yet disappointing Derrick Lee. and for what. Nuthin. A waste of cash. Booooo. And what was more tormenting was the slowness with which he operated in the FA pool. Slow swimmers sink.

He led us to believe that we'd be signing Teixeira, only to lowball him and never make another offer. He also lowballed many other FAs like Vmart, etc. F- for FA.

Scouting and player development - I have to think that he wanted to fire everyone, but that perhaps PA wouldn't let him. The scouts are obviously inept, and the minors instructors obviously aren't teaching things like how a pitcher should keep baserunners from stealing on them. AM did improve the depth at AAA and AA...but thats not saying much considering how bad it was before he got here. Still he should have let it be known that he wasn't able to restructure the scouting like he wanted to...that is, if he couldn't and his hands were tied. Still, he should have let us know, so we wouldn't assume to hold him accountable like we do. F+

Waiver wire - epic fail. We lost 2B to the Mets for basically a time when we needed infield depth in the minors - no excuse for this. Also, didn't claim any players this year, like lefty SP Capuano, at a time when our lefty SP Matusz was failing miserably. We were in last place most of AM's tenure here...I would expect more scanning of the waiver wire under such circumstances. F-

Rule 5 draft - we lost Beato to the Mets. D

Spending $30Mil to re-do the nold Dodgers ST facility and make it the O's new home - A+

Keeping payroll way down(saving money to reallocate to the ST complex in Sarasota, FL - A-

Replacing the current trainer/exercise and strength coach - F . Injuries galore in Baltimore.

Keeping fan interest - F+ . Never have I been lied to more by any public relations scheme. I, a die-hard Oriole fan for life, can only be forced-fed bs for so long. I even believed that AM has his heart in the right place and wanted to bring the O's back to winning form when he was first hired. Obviously I was wrong.

Putting a major-league product on the field. Face it - there were always big holes in every on of his Orioles teams. Sorry Andy - F- . The minus is for never understanding that major leagur teams must have GOOD major league pitchers in order to succeed. We got a bunch of AAA nobodies much of the time.

So, I give Andy a D- for his efforts. I hope the next GM plays more to the crowd and keeps my interest while improving the pitching & the infield greatly.


He made some good trades, put "Baltimore" on the jersey, bought out a better spring training facility (long overdue), and bought a Dominican training facility (long overdue).

Overall, his "plan" was incomplete. He failed miserably to bring in any free agents, put way too much pressure on the rookies, rushed the prospects thru the system way too quickly, and provided the team with absolutely no depth. The Orioles went nowhere under is tenure.

He deserves a failing grade.

Here is a contrarian opinion. Andy was successful in hiring Buck Showalter as manager; that is a very good move for the future of the Baltimore Orioles. He has upgraded the farm system. In 2011, the Keys won a championship and Bowie had a winning season, just missing the post season. You can't expect the Tides to have had a winning season with all the player movement between AAA and the Majors. The Orioles lineup is not that far away. The club has failed to put star players in 3 key positions needed to win: (1) Ace Starter, (2) Clean-up Hitter, and (3) Closer. However, the surrounding talent is there. Andy traded to acquire Hardy, Reynolds, Davis, Hunter, and Strop in 2011. That was a tremendous job. Jones and Patten were acquired at the beginning of his reign; Jones is and Patten will be good assets for the club. The Orioles have home grown talent on the team: Markakis, Wieters, Roberts, Andino (not drafted by the club), Reimold, Britton, Arrieta, and Johnson. In years past, you couldn’t name as many home grown players. I am excited about the prospects of Ryan Adams (hitting) and Matt Angle (base speed and fielding). Finally, Andy worked well with Peter Angelos and nurtured a united management team with Peter and Buck. Andy is a true professional who lent instant respect to the Orioles front office. Thank you Andy for taking on such a difficult situation and making it better.

His biggest accomplishment might be pushing the spring training complex to finalization or at least getting PGA & Son to get off the dime and finish it. On the field, he's to be judged by wins and losses, just like everyone else. He did some positive things in a very difficult situation, like the trades you mentioned, but we simply aren't that much better then when he took the job. His grade might be looked at more favorably in a few years if one or two of these young guys (Jones/Wieters) leads this team out of the doldrums.

B- How soon we forget how disfunctional this organization was before Andy McPhail arrived. Time will show that Andy turned things around, got them back on a track of professionalism and built a foundation for the future. He reigned in Peter Angelos, resolved the embarassing spring training site debacle, made astute trades giving up little of true value except David Hernandez and perhaps his greatest coup...he hired Buck Showalter to take the reigns. Stay the course, Buck. Thank you, Andy. You will be missed.

D. No comments, it's all been said already!

D- MacPhail's only noticable impact was the two trades he made last offseason for Hardy and Reynolds, and you have to wonder if that was because of other teams feeling sorry for MacPhail. The Jones trade was a no brainer IMO. Maybe Machado and Bundy will become perrinial All-Stars and make MacPhail look better too.

a solid B- I know folks want to scream wins and losses, but anyone who thought this organization could be turned around in four years simply didn't appreciat the scope of the problem. The organization is in better shape now than then, but still not out of the woods. A good crop of young arms- Arietta, Britton, Bundy, Matusz and a solid draft class in 2011 should help going forward. BY the way- we signed most of our top draft picks durign McPhails tenure didn't we? Wasn't always that way. McPhail robbed the Mariners in the Bedard trade- yeah Tillman isn't working out but virtually everyone in baseball thought he was for real. A GM can't play the game nor keep the players healthy. 2011 wasn't a good season at all- last month not withstanding- but was that really all McPhails fault. All he can do is put the pieces together. How different would last season have looked had the O's gotten normal production from guys like Brian Roberts, Luke Scott & Brian Matusz? Guererro was a bust, but as I recall Andy didn't really want him- and everyone in this town appluaded the signing at the time- even called for it. D. Lee did just about what could be expected for a guy coming off a hand injury and chaging leagues for the first time- anyone who didn't expect him to struggle early was smokin' something. He started to hit right about the time he was traded. He wasn't a bust he just wasn't the immediate help we had hoped for.
The worst part of McPhail leaving is yet to come- the slow agaonizing pace of finding a replacement will once again put the O's playing catch-up with the free agent leftovers- don't get your heart set on Prince Fielder B-more. Had Andy stayed, it might have happned- don't see much hope in it now that he's leaving.

D. The only reason it is not an F is the new Spring Training Complex and the Erik Bedard trade.

You just can't grade the person who purchased the groucies, but also the cook. It's a tag team. D+ for Mac Phail and C+ for Cook Showalter.


When MacPhail assumed president of baseball operations for the Orioles, he stated that he should be graded by the Orioles won-loss record after his 3rd year. Using his own grading system, it can only be a D+.

The scouting department has been a total failure, international scouting is nearly non-existent, and the minor league system does not offer any reason for optimism.

His philosophy of grow the (sore) arms and buy the (over the hill) bats also has been a dismal failure.

Unfortunately, as long as Angelos owns the team, and the money from MASN keeps pouring in, there is no hope for the future. And don't be misled by the thought that when Angelos passes away, the team will be sold. Angelos' sons are ready to assume ownership and will run the team just like their father. After all, they are very knowledgeable about rotisserie and fantasy baseball.

F for McFailure.

The bottom line is that he finished last every year of his tenure. Just go to this website, look at the last 4 years, and judge the results for yourself...

Macphail gets a big fat "F" for results. He had "One Third" of a plan that clearly bombed and he did not have a backup. We are no closer to scouting the Caribbean than when he got here. The same people man the desks in the warehouse in scouting and player development that have contributed to 14 losing season. He failed to "grow the arms, or buy the bats. He did not add an impact bat in his prime

With apologies to Jesse Jackson, but after 10 losing seasons the Orioles needed a tree shaker. Instead, we got a jelly maker.

In business there are no caveats. You either get the job done or you get fired or demoted. In Macphail's case it is disingenuous to say he failed, but. He failed. Period.

Angelos -- D-

Mac -- C

Buck -- B

The only person who can really help the O's is the commissioner of baseball.

I give Andy Macphail an 'XF,' the grade students get when they fail due to cheating/dishonesty.


And there's no question about it. Heck, I'd give him a G or an H if those were actually grades.

This man was hired four and half years ago. What has been accomplished since then?

No improvement at the major league level.

No improvement across the minors. After four and a half years, the best players are recent draftees playing A-ball.

Zero presence in the international free agent market.

Same good old boy nepotism in regards to staff.

Same old complaints about the division.

Same old ugly contracts for over-the-hill mediocre position players.

Same old ugly contracts for relief pitchers.

And that's it. This man was given four and a half years to do something worthwhile, and he did nothing. Oh, sure, he made a few solid trades that netted the team a center fielder and a shortstop, two of the hardest positions to fill. I'll give him that. But that's it.

The pitching is still a mess, there's still no cleanup hitter, and there are just as many holes littered across the roster as there were when he arrived. We're asking the same questions about this team that we were asking in 2007.

Andy MacPhail was hired to rebuild the Orioles, and he failed at doing so. Why in the world should he get a better grade than an F?

I'll parallel Andy Macphail's tenure with 2 words: Felix Pie

Lot's of potential. Bad results.

I'd agree with your C- for Andy and an F for Angelos as owner!

A My friend was in Orioles oraganization before Macphail and it was awful.......whoever gets the job now is going to benifit from all the great stuff he did.............

I would say a C-. I have to give him props for working great trades. It seems that his deliberative style works well for trades but not for drafting or free agents. It is inconveivable that in 4.5 years, with MASN money coming in and Peter Angelos willing to spend, that he couldn't sign one decent free agent. Not one. I was stunned to read that the largest free agent contract he gave was to Michael Gonzalez for 12 million. I do think we have a good nucleus of young players but it is time to be more aggressive and I just don't think McPhail has it in him. The only problem with his "grow the arms, buy the bats" philosophy is that he didn't grow the arms or buy the bats. With someone who clearly knows the game and is intelligent, I am baffled by the fact that he consistently offered less for free agents than other teams. He couldn't possibly have believed that Texiera, V. Martinex, A. Dunn or anyone else would come to Baltimore for considerably less money than other teams were offering. Overall, some good and some bad. The record after 4.5 years speaks for itself. C-

Grade - B+

Macphail turned a dismally dysfunctional organization into a professional baseball front office (though still hampered by ownership).

His plan was solid and he executed it with consistent determination. A legacy I hope will continue with the next regime. In relation to front office troubles since the mid-nineties, I am sad to see him depart.

Our biggest disappointment as fans in 2011 was that the young starting pitching corps went bust. That's not the fault of the front office. Some blame might be laid in the area of player development, but the young pitchers all had the foundations for success in the majors in 2011. Blame that they didn't execute rests with Buck and his staff in the dugout, if anybody.

If the Os had another 100 million to spend every year in the free agent agent market, they could buy starting pitching like the Yanks and Red Sox. But they don't have the kind of cash to blow when these pitchers underperform. Macphail's plan to grow the pitchers was wise and well executed.

The one fault I find with Mcphail's plan was his penchant for so called low risk high reward free agents. Much better I think to spend more money and get more value in this area. I believe the Os could spend another 30 or 35 million a year and would get this back in higher gate revenues. If not for this, I would grade Mcphail a solid "A."

Well put, Dan, agree on the grade. The problem is that we needed an B+ to A performance in all areas just to get the team competitive again . . . were the StL Browns this bad?

With all things Orioles we can't know everything about Peter Angelos' full influence on the operation of the team. So two answers: If Angelos did indeed give MacPhail "free reign" than I'd give him a D. If he did not have free reign, then he gets a B. Good trades, nice work with the spring training complex. Brought in Buck. Can't be held accountable for the wholesale regression of the pitching and underachievement of Derick Lee. Nevertheless poor results overall. My gut tells me what he expected from Angelos and crew and what he experienced led him to bail.


Free agent signings could not possibly have been worse.

He never committed to rebuilding. He just signed atrocious players.

Last place every year. No hope for the future. Total disgrace.

F. Although its hard to grade until we truly know how deep the hole was he had to dig out of when he got here. Not just what we, as fans could see, but what the situation really was in the FO.

That said, after 4 1/2 years, how can you not have a legit cleanup hitter and potential ace...I know some were hoping after his finish last year, but Matusz needs more ip before he can step in and that was before this year.

He's aquired some nice pieces. Hardy and Jones are good enough to play on a championship team, if they're supplementing big time players and not the best players on the team.

Maybe that gets him a D-.

Man I cant believe how bad the Os suck.

Gentlemen, Andy was a very good GM when he was with the twins , but in all honesty time passed him by. Baseball has to be approached in a different manner today and he stuck with his old fashion conservative ways that failed miserably.He put the whole success of this organization on the shoulders of young unproven pitchers.with no fall back plain what so ever. When you are in charge of every aspect of something and it doesn't produce you have failed.


Andy came with good intentions, but executed them with the spinal column of a mollusk. He said "buy the bats," and yes, did bring Hardy and Jones. He also decided to sign Pie, Reynolds, Atkins, Izturis, old D-Lee, old Vladdy, old Tejada-enough said.

In the end, MacPhail proved to be a mere puppet for Angelos. A good GM should've said to Peter, "this is MY team, and I won't let you cheapskate us."

I would have to give him a D. Mostly for the things that everyone has said already.

Drafting/Scouting: D. We've gotten some talent, but not nearly enough coming through the pipeline to rebuild an organization. Our team has looked woefully uninformed about opposing teams' pitchers, especially their rookies.

FA signings: F, hardly a one has panned out. Too much money given to players past their primes or were considered to be done.

Trades: C. Sure there were the good trades, but there were also the trades that never happened. Roberts should not still be an Oriole. He should have never gotten his 4 year $40 million deal.

International Market: F, we don't even look for the most part.

Dan, I will pose this to you. The reason why we had to raid the AA/AAA rosters is due to the failed signings, poor drafting, and the lack of depth. Well, who has the job of putting together your roster? Would that not be the GM?

Now, he did do some behind the scenes things. The new spring training complex was a good move. Now our major and minor leaguers can play at the same facility. He added money to the Dominican scouting department, though we've seen no fruits from that yet. He opened up the Pacific Rim, though we've only seen Koji and Ryohei Tanaka (who is in the minors) come of that. He upgraded the medical facility, but I think the next upgrade has to come from the personnel side.

But overall, his tenure has been an absolute failure. To have these resources and to be able to spend as much as the average major league team, to constantly finish last in your division and almost last in all of baseball, what else can you say?


In four years at the helm Andy had no clear direction for the franchise. They weren't rebuilding & they weren't all in trying to compete. You can't give away your second round pick on a reliever let alone do it two years in a row while saying you are restocking the system. Had he chosen to rebuild from the start this team would be closer to competing. Because of his "let the market play out and pick up the scraps" mentality they are no closer to competing than when he took over.

I'm not hip enough on the runnings of a front office to be qualified to evaluate Mr. McPhail as a GM, but I do think the spotlight of the O's woes in recent seasons must be focused on the player development--managers/coaches in the minors and overall organizational philosophy. Over the past several seasons I have seen too many heralded young players promoted to the Orioles who were dreadfully, woefully unready for the major leagues, and it's impossible for me to believe that all of these players were simply "draft busts". If I'm going to be doling out failing grades, that is were I will begin.

MacPhail deserves an F, most definitely.

In four and a half seasons, his teams never hit even 70 wins (much less .500), and were last in the division every single year. Against all odds, fan interest actually continued to plummet each year during his tenure (without the Red Sox fighting for their playoff lives during the final series, the team would have seen its fourth straight year with a record low attendance). He has further destroyed the franchise's credibility and thrown away any fan goodwill (like many others, I bought into the "MacPhail Plan" but will not take such a leap of faith again). So, to the extent that grades typically depend on results, MacPhail's bottom line earns him a solid F.

But even if you look beyond the results you see an utter failure as well. Is the best we can really say about this man's tenure in Baltimore (judging by the Sun's coverage today) that he made two good trades in 2007, he made some vague contribution to a new spring training facility, and "boy is he a standup guy"?? What about the promises he made about building an international presence, competing for top free agents, upgrading the scouting and development function, etc? These were independent of any "dumb luck" and completely within his control, yet MacPhail failed to follow through on specific promises made to fans. He asked us for patience and support through a few tough years, and then failed to deliver anything he promised on the back end. On a basic level, this is breach of contract.

I am saddened to see all these Sun articles stretching the facts beyond any modicum of honesty in order to try to present some "balanced" assessment of MacPhail's performance. He deserves to be called a failure, unequivocally, and we can do that while still recognizing that aside from his job he sure is a nice, honest, good person. I can't help but wonder if one of the reasons we don't have a winning team in Baltimore is because we don't demand it, and the Sun's coverage is exhibit A in this case.

I think AM deserves a C+. He did not get to finish his plan to the end I do not believe but he did lots of stuff that made the Orioles better and leaves a good foundation of youth in most of the team and pitching staff. He got the organization out of Ft Lauderdale and in to beautiful Sarasota. He tried to draft and develop youngsters but I think that is the weakest part of the whole organization to be honest. He was not able to accomplish as much there in any way. Drafts were not good enough....scouting was not good enough and world wide involvement was not good enough. BUT that being said I think we are a bit better at it just we have a long way to go here more than any other part of this Orioles franchise. Grow the arms and but the bats was good excpet he could not get the big guys to come here...from Martinez this the way back to Tex...but that is not his fault...players that are free agents can do what they want. I think he made some great trades. We all know the names. We got some great young prospects this year just from TX. We got JJ, Scott, Jones, Reynolds and more. Some of his pitching free agent signs failed but that is not his fault. I think if he had just a bit more time to see the young pitchers we have come of age and a couple more free agent pieces to the puzzle he would be looked at more favorably. In closing if we do not get this scout, drat and develop thing down and get them from anywhere in the world that has the best players then the Orioles will never be what they used to be. Spend the money it takes next GM....but I admire AM for his honest effort and I think he did as good as anyone could have considering how bad we have been for so long

At best D and possibly F.

They had a ton of high draft picks in each round for years and have missed on too many picks. The pitching staff is a mess and has been one.

Player development has been a disaster. International signings and scouting has been a failure.

Sticking with Trembley too long was a bad idea. Players were never held accountable.

Buck certainly has been better but the pitching coach situation was bad last year and why couldn't they find a full time bullpen coach? That made no sense at all.

In my view not trading Scott when he was playing well was a big mistake. He really wasn't going to be a part of the rebuilding due to his age and poor defense.

Guthrie is another one that should have been traded. He's older (33 next April) and will be a FA.

Jones and Wieters are the young guys you can build around and may be here for 10 years. Maybe Hardy if he can stay healthy.

The bottom line is that MacPhail was here for over 4 years and the team hasn't improved much. Huge holes in the pitching staff, LF, DH, 1B or 3B and now 2B.

D. I don't think the team has improved all that much in 4+ years. Some, but not a lot.
We're still about 3 players away from contending, just like we were when he got here. There is almost nobody in the high minors ready to step in at the big league level and help out, just like when he got here. The O's have a nice new ST facility and a good solid manager, and that pretty much sums up the improvements made in his tenure.

Final Grade: B-

Trades: A++
-- Looking at those traded away vs. those acquired is a landslide success. It's too early to evaluate the Texas trades so far, but the results from those trades might be his best trades yet.

Free Agents: C-
-- The grade would be an "F" if not for some of the free agents he did NOT sign. No Adam Dunn. No Jason Bay. No Jayson Werth. No AJ Burnett. No Chone Figgins. No Adrian Beltre (YTBD). No Erik Bedard. No Carlos Pena. No Kelly Johnson. No Adam LaRoach. Those players were wastes of money (again, yet to be determined on it a hunch). It's not like the players Andy DID sign were that much better than any of those listed above. But they were not crippling contracts, allowing the club to year by year look to make a big move on a free agent and not kill the payroll flexibility for short term results. Additionally, he did sign Brian Roberts and Nick, they may qualify as as bad as D-Lee or Vlad...

Player Development: F-
-- Buck finds out that players aren't being taught bunting in the minors??!!?!! WTF are they teaching? Knitting?

International Scouting: D+
-- From zero to a trickle. More...but not good enough. Jonathan Schoop, Koji, and a new Dominican training facility barely save this from being a F. (is the Pedro Florimon experiment over yet?)

Training Facilities: A
-- Nuff Said.

Manager Hire: A -
-- Buck is the shizzal. (the minus is for being a year late hiring Buck)

Wins and Losses: F
-- All teams struggle with injuries, but the lack of depth in the upper minors exposed the O's faster than Lindsy Lohan getting out of a car. Injuries + lack of depth = loosing.

Future for the O's: B+
-- Andy hands the organization over in better shape than he found it. The core of this team has more talent (unrealized in many cases) than when Andy first arrived.

Thank you Andy. I feel better about the future than when you first arrived, even if the present is a cold-sweet nightmare.

F-. By any measurement, Andy has been a complete failure. The O's won more games in the season before Andy was hired than in any season since he was here. The minor league is not in better shape. The O's have not made any progress with getting international talent. Nothing is better. There is no minor league help available, aside from the very lowest levels, for the near future, so the unless the O's make a foray into free agency, which seems unlikely, we are doomed to be miserable for another 2-3 years. By then, Adam Jones will be gone. I do not see how that can be called even incremental progress.

"F" Sorry, make that "Ph"

I give him a D+. He was at his best in making the trades that yielded Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy. He also wisely hired Buck Showalter.

Nearly everything else he did was a failure, beginning with our embarrassingly barren farm system. Joe Jordan and the Stockstill brothers should be selling hot dogs in the upper deck, not running the scouting and player development operations of a major league team. MacPhail also extended Dave Trembley, a nice person but almost certainly the least intelligent of all 30 big league managers.

MacPhail brought a few good players to the team and didn't really let any good ones escape without compensation, but the team is just as bad today as it was 4 years ago. So yeah, D+.

He has made very good trades. As was stated - his free agent signings have been flops but they have been very low risk.

Main area of disappointment is the lack of signing starters (4th/5th starters) to fill in the gaps. We kept relying on our AAA (or worse) starters when others were hurt or ineffective.

I've been an fan for 20 yrs. This team is terrible. Andy was awful. Matt Hoblegood...really, and all the other bust draft picks. No international signings. And let's call a spade a spade...there are orginisational issues when player after player gets hurt or suddenly has a loss of velocity. Give me a chance at the gm position. I'll do it for free and no matter what the results can be no worse.. Best ballpark in all of baseball and the most loyal fans with the worst product I've ever seen. 14 years of carbage really

Bottomline: 'Ws' & 'Ls' = F Grade.


I was going to be mildly amusing and say he gets a Zzzzz, and list all that it could symbolize. As big a reason as his grade -- the C-minus -- gets nicked as any is the things he didn't do.

Four years (plus) should have yielded more transactions. The saddest part is the 2012 Orioles need a LF, a 2B, and a DH. The starting rotation is chock full of ?'s, and the bullpen may be only half resolved. And that doesn't cover areas that could use some improvement.

Maybe some of the lower level prospects who were drafted during MacPhail's tenure will develop into something that will raise his final grade. If MacPhail gets some credit for Wieters -- a player he didn't draft -- then he won't be allowed full credit if these lower level prospects become major league contributors.

Still, it isn't inconceivable his grade two years from now might be improved to a C-plus (or more if the current group turns out to be Whitaker, Trammell, and Parrish). The C-minus could be downgraded as well.

The key is who's coming to The Warehouse? And, perhaps, when? My over-under is December 1 given the snail's pace Angelos does things. And no matter how much say Showalter may have in the next hiring, this will still be Angelos's doing.

So, sit back and enjoy the traffic flying by.

I give him a D. Organizationally the O's may be a bit better off and at times I thought they were on the verge of making real strides, but the results are the results and not even close to 500. He told us we'd have to be patient when he came on board, and we were, yet his O's teams did not have improved records during his tenure and each year, were the worst or amongst the worst teams in baseball.

I met in him September, 2007 as we sat on the train from Baltimore to NYC together. I think he is a decent man who tried his best. Maybe he laid the groundwork for the O's to succeed in the near future, but as far as I am concerned very little to show for his efforts after 4.5 years.

If this were any other organization, I'd give him a grade of D- or F, but since it's the dysfunctional O's, I'd have to give him a B-. I say this because he did do a lot of good things that should've been done years ago: 1.) he consoidated the spring training and minor league facilities into one brand new one; 2.) made some great trades (Tejada while he still had value for Scott and Patton; Bedard while he had value for Jones, Sherill, and Tillman; Sherill while he was at his peak for what at the time was a good trade; Koji for 2 starters; David Hernandez for Reynolds; 2 bit minor leaguers for Hardy; a bust pitching prospect to FLA for Andino); 3.) got the O's in Japan (signing Koji and treating him well; that's going to help in the future); 4.) paid above slot costs in the draft for players the O's drafted (Bundy, Matusz, Machado) as opposed to cheaping out and losing out on the player; 5.) somehow convinced Buck Showalter to leave ESPN for the thankless job of being O's manager; 6.) signed two cornerstone (at the time) and fan favorite players to longterm contracts (Markakis and Roberts); 7.) didn't hamper the team with any longterm bad contracts; 8.) ponied up money and made respectable offers to free agents who would help team (V Martinez and Texiera).

I can't give him a higher grade though because the team's won-loss record has not improved the past 4 years, he refused to get the team involved in Latin America, and he has not sucessfully played the waiver/arbitration game that would garner the team more supplemental draft picks in the first round or two the way Boston, Toronto, and Tampa Bay have in order to restock the minor leagues. It's also obvious to everybody outside of the organization that there is a player development issue and MacPhail, or anybody inside the organization for that matter, has failed to acknowledge it and identify a solution. People may knock Andy Mac for his free agent signings, but you have to give him credit for taking a shot and not overpaying for those players or signing them to contracts longer than a year. Type A free agents do not want to come here unless you offer them so much money they can't say no and those types of contracts originally come back to haunt you. The players that Andy Mac signed were the best that would come here and sadly, that's not going to change until the team becomes more competitive. He also can't be knocked too much for the performance of the team- he doesn't play the games, and he can't help that they get injured.

He has definitely improved the club in the short time he was here, but it's going to take more than 4 years to correct the wrongs of every regime that was in charge after Gillick resigned 14 years ago. I just hope the next GM is as smart, if not smarter, than Andy MacPhail is/was. The team cannot afford another bad choice for GM.

F - Because he failed to get the Orioles out of last place. Should they have not been in last place at least on year, it might have been a D at best


AM made some excellent trades and the buy the bats grow the arms theory was good - in theory.

But player development and/or scouting failed AM. So the "plan" has been a bust. He should have brought in better personnel to make these critical systems work.

I've shown that my predictions are not too good, so let me try looking back instead. I give MacPhail a C-. The key drivers are as follows.

Positive: 1) Acknowledged for the first time that the Orioles were not one good free agent class away from contending and started an actual rebuild, trading Tejada and Bedard. 2) Got the move to Sarasota completed on his watch. 3) Did not saddle the Orioles with any egregiously bad contracts. (In retrospect, the worst two were Gonzalez, primarily for losing the draft pick, and the Roberts extension, which most fans were clamoring for.) 4) Lots of minor moves that have paid off reasonably well, including Hardy, Andino, Reynolds, Strop, Davis, and Hunter.

Negative: 1) Lack of results in international markets, particularly Latin America. 2) Continued performance issues in player development. 3) The win-loss record at the major league level, which is really the bottom line.

So while he gets credit for what he did accomplish, he gets the blame for not doing more. I can't give him any higher a grade because four and a half years is long enough to make more infrastructure changes than were done. But I can't give him any lower because things really were worse than we admitted to ourselves when he took over, and he did a lot to get things at least turned around. Instead of saying we just needed a new coat of paint, he recognized that the hull was rotted and had to be completely rebuilt.

Wow, I am astounded by all the D's and F's. I wonder how many posters clamored for all the moves MacPhail made to 'improve' the Orioles and then you all backstab him with your D's and F's.

Well, whatever, MacPhail was hired to bring players he thought could improve the Orioles. After that it was up to the PLAYERS to perform to MacPhail's and the fans expectations. So I wonder who really is the failure here - besides Angelos?

My grade for McPhail is a C. He did with what he could with he could. The rest was up to the players.


Explain to me how this is a C-?? That's the definition of failure. The author makes the case (with this statement) for failure (F).

As we're on the topic of letter grades here an overwhelming "F".

The Orioles finished in last place in each of his four full seasons with the club AFTER they finished fourth in a season he had little or not impact.

Fact is, the new GM will need more than four years to right the ship. It's sad but true. Not all of the blame rests with McPhail, but he did little or nothing to actually help the team.

There is no proof that any of the young guys will be productive in years to come.

I bet you can't name the half of the starters from the 2006 O's lineup if I gave you 30 seconds...and I bet that five years from now you won't be able to name half of the starters from this team either.

There is so much turnover and instability with this organization that I really do not expect the team to turn things around anytime soon.

Sad, but true.

Go. See. Moneyball.

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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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