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October 3, 2011

Names (and things) to consider if GM job opens

As we await word about the Orioles’ front office situation – we expect Andy MacPhail to leave his post as president of baseball operations, maybe as early as today, though it’s possible he stays with the team in another capacity – I figured I’d share my thoughts about what happens with the spot, and drop some names.

The leading candidate remains current Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter. The sense is the job is his if he wants it, and he’s trying to decide in which job he can have the biggest impact.

If Showalter stays as manager, then certainly he’ll be involved in whom the Orioles select to be president/general manager.

There are some recognizable names that might be available – Boston’s Theo Epstein and Oakland’s Billy Beane are the biggest ones (don’t see New York’s Brian Cashman or Tampa’s Andrew Friedman leaving their posts. If they do, teams wouldn’t be able to talk to them until they are out of the playoffs).

There’s no way Epstein would be a fit in Baltimore, especially with Showalter and Peter Angelos running the show. And, of course, Epstein wouldn’t want to come here, even though it’s where he started his baseball career as a public relations intern.

It seems likely that Epstein stays in Boston, but he may flirt with the Chicago Cubs, who would love to make a splash for the high-profile job.

If that doesn’t happen, the Cubs likely will turn their attention to a first-time GM. According to an industry source, the Cubs’ short list includes Epstein’s protégé, Boston senior VP Ben Cherington, Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn and Atlanta’s pro scouting director John Coppolella.

None of those three is expected to be a fit with the Orioles, so there should be no bidding war with the Cubs. The only other team that currently is searching for a GM is the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels usually promote from within, but there is speculation that they might attempt to get Oakland’s Beane to LA shortly after the movie “Moneyball” landed in Hollywood.

So that, at least for now, leaves us with the Orioles’ spot – if indeed Showalter stays as manager. I don’t think they’d make an internal hire. Matt Klentak, baseball operations director, is considered a future GM candidate, but that won’t happen now. Amateur scouting director Joe Jordan and player development director John Stockstill could be in the conversation, but that’s probably not where the Orioles will go, either.

In talking to some people, and in analyzing what’s been done in the past, the sense is that if Showalter doesn’t take the job it likely will go to someone outside the organization who has a background in scouting and/or development, a track record of success and some type of relationship with Showalter (or, possibly, the Orioles).

Based on who Angelos has hired in the past, it won’t be a whiz kid, no matter the reputation. Anyone under 40 would be a shock. In fact, expect someone around 50 or older.

Given that belief, here’s a list of potential names. I didn’t include anyone internally. Many of these guys have done the job before or are highly regarded in their particular area of expertise. There are some obvious names I left out; you’ll have to trust me here. There certainly will be others considered, but it’s a start – considering the job isn’t officially open yet. These 10 are listed in alphabetical order.


Jerry Dipoto, senior vice president, Diamondbacks
Gerry Hunsicker, senior VP, Rays
Dan Jennings, assistant general manager, Marlins
Wayne Krivsky, former special assistant to GM, Mets
Tony LaCava, assistant GM, Blue Jays
Damon Oppenheimer, scouting director, Yankees
A.J. Preller, senior director of player personnel, Rangers
Scott Proefrock, assistant GM, Phillies
J.P. Ricciardi, special assistant to GM, Mets
Scott Servais, senior director of player development, Rangers

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (38)
        

Comments

Any of the names from the Rays, Rangers or DBacks should be a "first choice" since those organizations have gotten it figured out as to how to draft and how to develop players.

Oh boy! I can't wait! Sounds like the Orioles are trading one "Used Car" for another. As for Peter Angelos he can't possible know who the "hot" free agent would be for 2012 or even which player would just simply be a nice signing to help this club. Peter Angelos hasn't a clue! Another losing season for the Orioles is inevitable if anything in this article comes true. From "Whiz Kid" to "Tired Old Man" here comes losing season "Number 15". What the Heck is Showalter trying to do? It's funny, I follow the ponies and there was one owner who had an operation called "Someday Farms", he and his wife got their day in the Sun as for me, I am not sure if I or the Orioles ever will! Sigh........!

dan didn't wayne krisvky work in the orioles front office a few years back. just because the red sox didn't get in the play offs i do not see any real reson for theo epstein to leave there,nor do i see a reason for billy beane to leave oakland. i would like to joe jordan and john stockstill take a hike.the thing that would make the orioles a much better team is for peter the great angelos take a hike,then there would a front office that could make the decisions and moves that need to be done.

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Krivsky, a former Reds GM, was an assistant to MacPhail before joining the Mets.

Who are these people number one and number two why can't this team get some sort of stability? You certainly don't build an empire by changing kings every three years!

I really think that at this point Buck has (needs) to take the front office role. While I love him in the dugout, I just think it will be hard for someone to come in and balance their approach with the level of voice Buck is obviously going to be given. It seems that some could see the GM/Manager roles almost reversed in terms of who has the loudest say or is really outlining approach to organizational development.

Also I think I want Buck in the front office because I really think the largest job is grabbing everyone of the affiliates and tying their approaches together, that players are learning to play based on the style/thinking that the Orioles want to see at the major league level. I think that Buck is a leader who can place his stamp across several different geographical and managerial organizations.

This is the line that worries me - Amateur scouting director Joe Jordan and player development director John Stockstill could be in the conversation - The O's haven't drafted very well and they haven't developed their draft picks very well. These guys shouldn't be in line for a promotion, they should be shown the door.

Dan,

What are you thoughts on Mac Siebert, he is currently with the Mets as a special assistant. If you dont know the name, Mac built Tampa through the draft before Freidman.

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I know Seibert's name. That's about it. Haven't heard it in relation to this job, but I'm sure I haven't heard a lot of names that are getting at least a little consideration.

I'd love to see Billy Beane as an O's GM and the ability to work with a $80MM payroll.

Unfortunately, he's just as popular for micromanaging like Showalter and Angelos, sooo......don't see it happening.

Dan -thanks for all the great updates. Wasn't Scott Proefrock in the Oriole's organization as well. I remember being upset when he joined the Phillies.

For the love of God, not Ricciardi. I live near Toronto and watched him with the Jays for years.

He's not much better than MacPhail. He can get a team younger and doesn't have a bad philosophy, but he makes some mindboggling moves, plays favourites with certain players (whom he usually overpays to get), and can't get his team over the hump.

He's the last thing we need here.

I think Buck takes it but if not John Hart with whom he has ties from Texas. Buck goes upstairs with power that he wont get anywhere else. Sadly, he will soon be passed by the whiz kids/new generation. If he does go upstairs, who is the new manager, Gary ALlenson-long time Norfolk manager- or somebody new like Bo Porter the Nationals coach, or Torty Luvello? Your thoughts on the manager are welcome.

I like BUCK as a manager but feel his influence would be even greater as the GM with his energy and the power and influence to do something about the international areas, scouting and player developement. I think he could find a good manager to work with him.

Billy Beane, in your dreams. That hire would single handedly clear out ALL of the FO wannabes and begin a true organizational restructuring.

That probably won't happen in our lifetimes.

The thought that the names of Jordan and Stockstill could even come up is truly sickening. Both will be looking for new homes soon. Hopefully.

Joe Jordan? The only list he should be on is those to be "Immediately FIRED". This guy is every bit as responsible for the O's downfall as anyone in the entire organization. He can't recognize talent worth his weight in farts. Make him a Cub Scout and do it NOW!

Can I apply for the job? :)

the real question is..which of these names is crazy enough to want the job.

I think that this position has a LOT to do with getting along and personality. In other words, whomever is selected, it has to be someone who would match up with the owner and Buck. And I think that we all agree that Buck is easy; Mr. Angelos is tougher.

Dan --- looking for just an opinion here --- how would you list the top 3 from your alphabetical list in terms of potential ability to match-up personality-wise?

What happened to all the talk about John Hart? He has a relationship with Buck doesn't he???

Anything your hearing at all on John Hart?

What in the hell is the mystique about Billy Beane ? Just exactly what have the A's accomplished over the past decade ?

And just what have Jordan and Stockstill done that's been so terrible ?
Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis, Brian Matusz, Manny Machado, Dylan Bundy, Ryan Adams, Jonathan Schoop, Xavier Avery, Nolan Reimold, Oliver Drake, Matt Angle, Kyle Hudson, Joe Mahoney, Zack Britton, Jake Arrieta..... not a bad group.

Can't McPhail even quit without dragging it out for weeks. It is unbelievable how pathetic he is. He better not take some sort of reduced role where he can continue to slow down every action the club makes.

I know a decision was expected by many last week, I will be surprised if we learn his fate before the World Series. Truly pathetic how slowly his brain works.

Frankly, I'm surprised there aren't more candidates given that the basic qualifications (judging by the last 14+ years) are:
-to sit out free agency every year, and then sign a bunch of players nobody else wants for too much money
-to develop a comprehensive plan for improving the organization from top to bottom, by increasing our international presence, investing in player development, and upgrading coaching and scouting throughout the organization. And then not doing it.
-to reduce the number of fans attending games by at least 10% per year, both by producing a terrible product as well as innovative techniques like raising prices after an unprecedented stretch of losing, and instituting a walk-up tax to discourage game-day purchases.
-to deflect all criticism of and demand for accountability from the owner and organization overall
-to reduce scouting expenses by testing/developing players at the major league level, and focusing acquisition efforts on cast-offs from the GM's former team
-to delay necessary managerial moves for as long as possible so as to slow the flow of accountability up the management chain.
-finally, to deliver an AL East doormat year in and year out, with win totals never breaking 70 (much less .500)

Given that the demands are so low and I expect compensation to be generous- why aren't there more GM's interested? If I was Brian Cashman or Theo Epstein I would be knocking down the door to get out of NY or Boston, where they actually expect winning and practice accountability, to this cushy position.

Why wasn't Thad Levine on that list. He should be #1 on the list. He is a genius and he is a die hard O's fan. He has worked with Klentak before so Klentak could move up to Assistant GM. It is a win win situation. Buck can stay in his role and so can most of the coaches.

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Why wasn't he on the list? Because I don't think he'll be the next GM. If I am wrong, I'll give ya kudos Brian. But I don't see it happening.

I’m wondering if MacPhail’s last task is to find a successor. Makes sense to me. I honestly think that he wants the best for this organization, but just didn’t yield results and can’t figure out what he did wrong. He has always been quiet about what he is planning so for all we know they’re in the middle of contract negotiations as we speak. We’re all kind of working under the assumption that he’s not returning because we haven’t heard anything about him returning, and there is nothing “un-MacPhail-like,” about that.
Given the shocking and completely unacceptable level of failure in this organization in the past 14 years, heck 30 years really, the hire should come from outside of the organization! Even someone who began as a ticket taker for the 1983 team, and worked at every other level, has seen precious little in terms of winning ways and now that former ticket taker should be getting set up for retirement. Anyone who has been around since Ray Miller was the coach should certainly be out of the question. Is there anyone that has been here that long?
Joe Jordan and John Stockstill are LUCKY that they still have their jobs. First thing that needs to be done is getting rid of both of them. They have had ample time to show that things are at least headed in a better direction and they have not done it. Players consistently fail to meet expectations and our minor league teams are as barren of talent as parts of Afghanistan. I can’t figure out why they aren’t under greater scrutiny. That is the one area where we should expect faster results; the lower level minor league teams rarely field the same team two years in a row if they can even field the same one player two years in a row.
I’m still hoping to hear more about Chuck LaMar. He has yet to not greatly improve a team particularly in the realm of minor league and player development. He knows the AL East and knows winning. I’m a bit shocked he’s not on your list. His son just began studies at the Naval Academy so being in Maryland may be a good thing for him. He’s also working in Philadelphia and Washington.

I won't weigh in with a who, but I will weigh in with a what. The Orioles need to hire someone who Peter Angelos trusts.

I know, I know. Angelos has a worst winning season percentage as a Baltimore owner than Robert Irsay. I get why I hear laughter as I type.

But, if any GM (actual title to be determined later) is going to have any autonomy whatsoever, he's going to need the one thing Andy MacPhail actually already has -- the trust of the owner. (I'm fairly confident Angelos wouldn't hire a woman; hence, the use of male pronoun.)

Do not interpret this as a vote ... wait, we don't get a vote ... a plea to keep MacPhail. Acquiring Jones and Hardy hardly makes up for the Atkins-type of acquisitions that led to no 70-win seasons out of four with a AAA team also wallowing 30 games below mediocrity at its final incarnation.

It is often said -- especially from the nastiest of places -- Angelos is only interested in the bottom line. While blue-chip and solid second-tier free agents were avoided like the plague (and I don't care if they would have signed or not), the moves by the Orioles weren't totally with an eye on that bottom line.

Roberts was signed to a big deal. Markakis was signed to a big deal. Koji got significant money. Hardy wasn't cheap, and he was extended. Reynolds will be set for life on Angelos's watch.

Although seven years late, Guerrero and Lee accounted for most of the $15.25M they were signed to by the Orioles. If Angelos was just interested in the bottom line, that fifteen mil could have filled out a few cargo pockets while leaving the team to its "youth movement." (Sorry, the visual of the 82-year old Angelos wearing cargo pants was too good to pass up and not share.)

Money spent wisely? No need to debate this player by player. The point is money was spent.

Now, who knows if anyone can gain enough trust for the purse strings to be further opened. That would be nice. Everything the Orioles now need has the adjective "front line" attached -- front line clean-up hitter, front line lead-off hitter, front line starter (or two, oh my), front line reliever.

But if Game 162 has any lasting effects beyond exposing players to a playoff atmosphere (remember, the Red Sox needed that game so trying to beat them served that purpose), it hopefully energizes Angelos to wanting to win to the point of doing what it takes.

What it will take is a fairly extensive list. Some of that list can be accomplished with the dollar amount already being spent. The Orioles will need someone with front office savvy, organizational skills to improve all aspects of scouting and development, and someone who is at least as good as Showlater when it comes to evaluating talent in the first place.

None of those attributes matter, however, if Angelos has to act on every little nuance thereby limiting the GM to be. We've seen that act. We know how it ends.

Are problem is not who the G.M. is . It's the Baltimore Oriole fans don't want to give a G.M.time to fix the problem . Are you telling me , that Andy Macphail doesn't know what he is doing . Did he get stupid over night ? Everybody wanted Andy and Showalter . Now the same people want his head . As bad as this team was and maybe it will take another year or two to fix it . A lot of people before him screw it up , not him . You have to give the baseball people time . Sure you can get another G.M. But you know what in two years you will be asking for his head .If you really love the O's you will shut up and let the people do their jobs .
Curt S.S. Md

Grady Sizemore could be available....http://www.examiner.com/baltimore-orioles-in-baltimore/should-the-o-s-pursue-grady-sizemore

What about the O's current video coordinator?

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Great, great guy. Not sure he is a current candidate for GM.

I don't understand this idea of what "fits" with GMs. I suppose I understand it if the implication is that Epstein or others wouldn't want to be with a club with such a poor track record.

But in real baseball, in the real world and in winning franchises, the "fit" is the guy that can do the most good for your team. I'm not a huge Epstein fan, but if he's not a fit simply because he wants to spend money and Angelos doesn't - that problem is Angelos' and no one else's.

What doesn't fit about wanting to win and find any way to do it?

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The budget, the personalities, the city, the division ...

Dan, I'm wondering why you skip over Billy Beane as a candidate for the Orioles job.

You definitely sound facetious when you write: 'speculation that (the Angels) might attempt to get Oakland’s Beane to LA is shortly after the movie 'Moneyball' landed in Hollywood', but if that's the case, why are you so dismissive of having him in Baltimore?

On the other hand, if you're serious, words like 'speculation', 'might', and 'attempt' don't make it sound like this is remotely a done deal (or even one in the preliminary stages) with California.

If that's the case, then the question remains the same: Why are you so dismissive of having him in Baltimore?

If you think about where the Orioles are right now in rebuilding, the team being a medium-sized market, and the oft-mentioned idea of using the Rays as a model for doing more with less, Beane seems like a perfect fit, IMHO.

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Except it is believed he wants to stay on the West Coast and being a mid-market in the AL East is a whole different ballgame.

Way back when Buck was managing the Rangers quite well, their totally worthless GM, John Hart, was in the last year of his contract, and Grady Fuson was the VP of player developement or what ever, and was due to step up tp GM after Hart moved on. Instead, his young intern, Jon Daniels was moved up (and gave his former boss a lucrative consulting contract) , and Grady and Buck were moved out. How they made the movie Dumb and Dumber without Hart and Daniels is beyond me. They were truly roadblocks to earlier Ranger success. I suggest Grady Fuson for consideration in Baltimore if McPhail moves on, because other than Nolan Ryan, Grady and Buck moved the Rangers forward more than any other non-players. We should also do whatever we can to land Michael Young who has been unhappy with the Ranger organization. He can play any infield position while nailing down 200 hits year after year.

No one has mentioned Cal's name as of yet. I think he belongs in the mix.

Wow, all you so called geniuses are missing the obvious and best plan: McPhail out, Buck to the front office and Francona as manager.

GERRY HUNSICKER !!!!!! Is the only man for the job.

Hey Dan, you should put in for the GM job. You seem to be the Orioles know-it-all.

You better hope MacPhil stay's . That the whole problem with the Oriole's . Every two or three years we cahnge managers or generial managers . I hope to God they both stay .
Curt S.S. Md

I know this sounds bizarre but how about Buck moving upstairs and talking to Terry Francona about managing ? if these two could see into the future together it might be worth a shot.
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Don't see it happening. Addressed it in a former blog.

What about Mark Shapiro with the Indians? He is a born and bred Orioles fan, whose hero growing up was E-D-D-I-E. Additionally, he grew up friends with John Angelos which should make it easier to deal with the whole family. I recognize that he is President of the Indians, but he could be both President and GM, couldn't he?

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No, he gave up the GM title to become president. Mark's fantastic, but he seems to be very happy in Cleveland.

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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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