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October 3, 2011

Still waiting for clarity

Everybody is still waiting for both shoes to drop in the Orioles front office, where the respective status of president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and manager Buck Showalter remain both intertwined and apparently undecided.

There was reason to believe that the decision on MacPhail would come down last Thursday, following an afternoon summit with owner Peter Angelos, but there obviously remains enough up in the air for MacPhail to withhold any announcement about his future.

Of course, MacPhail's status must be determined before there is any serious consideration of a change in role for manager Buck Showalter, who is spending several days in Florida looking at some of the club's promising minor league prospects taking part in the instructional league.

Until there is a detemination on both fronts, it's hard to do more than speculate about the eventual composition and hierarchy in the Warehouse. MacPhail had given every indication that he would not remain after his contract expires at the end of this month, but the fact that he and the club have not made a quick announcement clearly indicates that Angelos wants him to stay connected to the club in some capacity. If he does, then it seems more likely that Showalter will remain in the dugout.

There could be an announcement at any time, but since it was expected before now, there's no way to predict exactly when it will come.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 7:05 PM | | Comments (45)


Is this considered an update? What the heck is new here?

My only comment - this is how the Orioles operate. Slow and slower. Its how the free agent signings are done. When Flanny was let go he kind of dangled in the wind. Its unfortunate.

Aren't the "Sun's" spies working overtime here? I mean hasn't anyone spotted Terry Francona strolling down Eutaw Street while whistling Rain Drops are falling on my head? Or Chuck LaMar landing at the BWI airport wearing a fake mustache? I mean somebody has to know something, don't they?

Honestly, what's the rush? We're not even out of the first round of the playoffs, and it seems that many of you want the Orioles to hurry through a very big decision. Seems the wait is on Showalter and what he wants to do, and this is not something decided in just a few days time. There are a multitude of things to consider, let the process take its course.

If Macphail stays with this Orioles in any capacity, the organization will miss a rare window of opportunity to move forward. Andy channels Angelos and no matter where he may be placed, will have a tremendous amount of negative influence. If he stays, you can kiss 2012 goodbye as far as making the capital investments necessary to make the team competitive in the AL East.

I've got my fingers crossed. Macphail needs to go.

With the drag out it appears Andy is still involved like all his moves or lack there of.

Maybe they are waiting till after the playoffs to announce hirings. I'm thinking buck is manager and they hire John hart as gm.

Think of all of the Oriole GMs who have been fired over over the past 15 years for reasons that Angelos deemed necessary. Yet for some reason, McPhail is being begged to stay. Why? Because Angelos wants McPhail to guard all spending. McPhail is a "yes man". He'll do what ever is necessary to keep the bosses money in the bosses pocket. He's easy for Angelos to control and he isn't interested in winning.

To me, it sounds like Buck wants to stay in the dugout and the Os are trying to get permission to interview select candidates from outside the organization to replace AM. If they can't get the candidate that they want, Buck may move into the FO or AM may stay for another year. --twb026

Buck is "looking at some of the club's promising minor league prospects"? Well since the Orioles have fewer than 5, it should be a short trip.

This organization is a mess. As bad as the big league club has been, it's light years ahead of our junky minor league teams. I feel sorry for the fans in Norfolk and Bowie who pay money to watch our "prospects." At least Frederick seems to have a few keepers.

Pete has two speeds,slowest and stop.Don't look for anything to get done anytime soon,because then PA can claim the status quo,still can't find good people to come here,blah,blah,blah,same old song and dance.What a waste of a once special franchise,the laughingstock of professional sports.

This just in...

there could be an anouncement at any time...

In other news

...there wasn't.

slow and slower is fine if it's productive. they may want to try another approach.

I hope they both stay......
That's the only way the Oriole's are going to emprove . They need to stop changing people every year or so .
Keep the people you have and shut up fans . The two people we have are baseball people and no what they are doing .
Curt S.S. Md
Please reply !!!!!!!!!!!March-draftt

The purpose of waiting to make an announcement may be twofold. I recall a MLB ruling or "common courtesy" requesting such announcements not be made during the World Series as to not take away the hype of the series. This may also apply to the playoffs. Secondly, maybe they're waiting to see what other clubs are doing as well, possibly a candidate for either position may shake free as a result of changes. If a decision were made today and a good candidate becomes available after the WS, we'd be kind of S.O.L. A couple of weeks for the decision isn't a bad thing but on the other hand, we shouldn't have been prompted to expect the answer the day after the season ended as we were.

I have to agree with Bill! This slow deliberate decision making is why coaches move on and why free agents don't take the O's serious and drives the fans crazy.

This how the O's operate i.e. Angelos . He is in a hurry to nothing especially win games.

Bet they hire a young, first time GM and let McPhail tutor him. Reality...Showalter will have all the power.

Bill...the playoffs are still going on. The O's promised nothing yet. It was the Sun (and no knock at the reporters, they're just keeping us up to speed) who speculated we'd hear immediately.

Give it some time, amigo.

Six days and counting since the front office status was supposed to be completed and announced to the public. If nothing else, it shows that Andy Mac is still in the picture.

Hopefully, they'll have a front office by the winter meetings so that they can go somewhere nice for a week and accomplish nothing.

What prospects are they looking at?

Why did the O's send suspects to the AFL instead of true prospects like Machado or Schoop?

What major leaguers were asked to go to Sarasota after the regular season and what are they working on?

Are there any O's going to the Caribbean wintere leagues this year?


I agree with Bill. The Orioles move very, very slowly and i think Angelos is the reason for this. He takes way too long to make decisions, many of which should be delegated in the first place. Basically, he gums up the works and prevents the baseball people from doing the best job they can. Whether free agents, trades, or organizational shakeup, the problems start with Angelos and his inability to move quickly on anything.


I've been trying to figure out for weeks why the Orioles think it's conceivable that Buck would make a good GM-perhaps you can shed some light on their logic. Because to me, he's the breed of GM that was pushed out of baseball 20 years ago and I think the O's would be the only club in the league with an old-school manager type guy as GM.

This is typical Andy. He and the Orioles had the entire second half of the season to figure this out; its not like the expiration of his contract sneaked up on anyone. Completely pathetic he did not sit down with Angelos earlier to figure this out. If we are going to get new leadership in the front office, its important to get the new people in there early so they can evaluate the front office personnel and player personnel early enough to not hinder this offseason. If Buck moves upstairs, he should be given time to find a new Manager so that he hit can hit the ground running with player personnel and not be distracted with finding a new manager late in the offseason. This is just so typical of Andy it is comically pathetic.

Note the Yanks, Tigers, Phils, Brewers, Rays & Cards all have their Class A affiliate in the Florida State League. Its the conditioning & qualilty of competition.

Why do you think all the major colleges are recruiting in Florida...12 months of outdoor training.

Its time the Orioles started to expand the organization's resources....Sarasota FL.

Does anyone think the O's should consider either Jordan or Stockstill for the GM position (if available) as was suggested yesterday?

I think both should be banished for chronic ineffectiveness.

What's the rush? I don't know, maybe a new GM will come in and want to evaluate his roster and will need time to determine the near term and long term plan for the club. Maybe it would be nice to have this review being done now, as oppossed to when free agency begins and other teams start making moves. Maybe the new GM will want to come in and evaluate other front office personnal, and will decide a few need to be replaced (which seems obvious). It will then take time to interview other candidates and get those candidates up to speed on the team and where it stands. Of course, the new GM will likel want to wait to get evaluations from these new people before deciding on his long term strategy, which will have enormous implications for this year's offseason strategy.

In short, the rush is the fact that O's have a lot of problems, need a lot of solutions, and it will take time to get new people in place and move forward. None of this can happen until Andy's role is defined, and there is simply no reason it should take this long for Andy to make a decision that he has been staring at for well over a year. What is he considering that he has not considered for the past 12+ months. The man is a joke who needs to leave because him staying in any role will be damaging.

Many of you make good points. Now i dont want Showalter as GM in any capacity. 1 he has shown nothing that would hint that he would be good and 2 he has falter in the past when he's wanted control. Also he's the opposite of the trend, friedman, cashman, theo all young gms. Billy beane. Thats the future. People smart enough to combine sabremetrics and common sense/scouting. People that know how to delegate and trust others. Now i havent hated mcphail, he's made good moves, bad moves and even good moves that just didnt pan out. Ironically the move that everyone was soo happy for (vlad) was one of his worse moves (signing gregg and overpaying for m gonzalez are two others ) but him staying could be a hint that they are willing to bring in a younger gm, and that buck would be staying in the dugout.

I hope so at least

It never ceases to amaze me how many uninformed and misinormed people can stay with the idiot talk that the man who spends millions of dollars trying to bring the team to a winning status is purposely trying to make the team lose. Did not one of them ever take a logic course? The owner would make a lot more money if the team won, why would he want them to lose?

I think McPhail stays on for another year and grooms Klentak OR they bring in Hart.

The Oriole's are improving . As soon as the kids start pitching better , things will improve faster then you think . We need to keep the people in office we have . Stop changing every year or two .
Thanks Curt S.S. Md


C'mon, Man! When the streak reached 10 years Brooks Robinson was asked what he thought about it. Brooks said "Ten losing seasons in a row. That's pretty hard to do." Sports experts such as Ken Rosenthal and Keith Law have said that if Angelos really wants to compete in the ALEast he will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars hiring more scouts, upgrading the talent in player development, scouting the Caribbean and signing marquee talent.

Not trying to win is trying to lose. MASN grosses 165 million a year and Peter G. Angelos makes more in one class action settlement than most mid size companies make in a lifetime. He has enough money to spend tens of millions of dollars getting buildings names after his parents. He probably gives more money to charity as a tax write off than he spends on the baseball team. He has the only publicly funded sports stadium in professional sports today.

Fourteen losing seasons in a row. That's pretty hard to do.

Come on guys !! What there to think about ? Either your staying or not staying . What do you want to do .If you don't want to be here then leave . Quit playing around . I want both of you to stay, but enough is enough !!
Curt S.S. Md

If they can't say what they are doing until after the playoff's . So be it . At least tell the fans after the playoff's you will be informed about MacPhail and Showalter .
Curt S.S. Md
Enough People !!

We’re still working on the assumption that MacPhail is leaving. His contract expires at the end of the month. MacPhail likes to keep things quiet and may be doing just that. It’s possible that MacPhail has been given the task of choosing his successor. Anyone who has been in the front office of any of the four teams in the AL playoffs would have an impressive resume. However, at the moment they may not be available to be interviewed. I know free agents can’t be approached until after the World Series ends who is to say that the same rule isn’t being applied to front office people. In any case MacPhail stepping aside with a new guy to take over would appear a bit more professional. There are lots of people who need to be looked over it’s not going to be an overnight process.
There could be a new division of labor happening as well. Perhaps Showalter and MacPhail are working out who will do what. MacPhail signs the talent, Showalter works on minor league development. MacPhail has done some things right and can’t be expected to be perfect. I’d be perfectly fine if he hung around for another two years.

The way the Orioles operate is nothing short of embarrassing. It's not as if MacPhail is making his mind up this week. He knows his plans yet once again him and Angelos choose to leave the fans in the dark. The best organizations move swiftly and decisevely. But we all know that isn't how Angelos has ever done things. Worst owner in professional sports with the record to prove it. The worst thing that could have happened to Orioles fans was the Nats moving here. It allowed Angelos control of a cashcow network. Where has all that money gone? Not into the team.... That we know!

Look folks, it's going to take more than 4 or 5 years for the NEXT GM to turn things around. The impatience exhibited by O's fans (including myself) will not be rewarded by harping on the GM.

The team and its farm system is completely dysfunctional. Instead of investing millions in scouting (like the Yankees, Red Sox & Rays do), Angelos would rather sign over-the-hill FA's. Until that dysfunctionality goes away, expect more of the same.

We need to stack our farm system with 15-20 or so good young arms and out of that hope that three or four solid prospects pan out. Then Angelos needs to open his wallet and sign two young veteran pitchers to round out the staff.

Will it happen? Probably not. But where we're heading is not the solution either. A GM needs time to turn things around. Impatience is not a virtue, unfortunately.

People, there is nothing forbidding a team from announcing front office changes until after the playoffs. Stop being retarded. Every year, teams make front office changes during the playoffs. The only thing, which isn't even a rule, is MLB requests that teams don't announce any changes during the World Series, but there is still 3 weeks until the world series. MLB is not retarded enough to make teams wait to make changes until after the world series becuase they realize teams with front office turnover need time to transition (only the O's are not smart enough to realize that).

As far as waiting to interview people, I highly doubt that every single person the O's intend to interview as a candidate is on a playoff team. There is no reason they could not start interviewing other candidates. Not only that, but if it is clear that MacPhail is stepping down, there is no reason they could announce that is the case, and shore up Buck's status, so that they know if they are looking for a GM or a manager. Then they could use the time to at least internally put together a list of candidates they do want to interview. Its not like they are going to announce Andy is stepping down, candidate X hired for X role, and Buck is doing X all in one day. Whether they need a new GM or a new manager, there will be some process that will take time to find the replacement, and it would be helpful to start that process sooner rather than later.

0 Zero Zilch Nada sense of urgency.....EVER

I don't get a lot of the remarks on this blog. Everyone wants to poo-poo the organization because it doens' throw money around after every free agent--I guess these are teh fo0lks wwho think we should eb first in line to throw $30M a season agfter Albert Pujols. Stop t people. This team scored aboat load of runs, we had a line up with 4 guys over 20 HR's and 2 with over 30. The problem is the young pitchers, who the season depended on, didn't step up. That's it. McPhail did his freaking job so get off his back. Players do have to play after all. Top free agents don't come here because, like sheep, they wantto go to the "winners" which are the larger market teams (TB and Minnesota, well, maybe not this year, the lone exceptions) and a team with an average attendance of 20K isn't large market, even with a TV deal. We're not printing money over here where the best seats cost $2500 and the corporate boxes are fully subscribed. (From talking to a lot of companies, I know that many of them have cut back on expenses like that over the years) From the delay as well as Angelos's previosu statements of support, Im guesing they're making a push for McPhail to stay and are givign him as much time as he wants to decide to do that. Buck in the front office is horrible move. Bringin in a new GM, even John Hart, is a bad idea as the GM has to be free to pick his own manager--not just come into a situation where the manager may be someone he worked with before (Buck and Hart are stong-willed guys, they may not be eager to work together again). We can't keep changing regimes every other year just because the win total isn't where we want it to be. McPhail has gotten tremndous value for the moves he's made. For sure, some haven't worked out, but they don't all work out for any team, Yanks and Red Sox included.

MacPhail cannot be blamed for the miserable luck with the injuries. This team hit well enough to contend. The starting pitching did not happen. Our problems seem finite, albeit large. A productive off-season will finally bring us a contender. For two years, we've had one-sixth of a contender....let's get the other five-sixths !!

I'm not an Angelos or McPhail fan, but some of the bashing comments from the hindsight know-it-alls are just plain stupid.

BaltimoreGeof, I don't think everyone is killing the team for not throwing around money at free agents. That would be OK if they were drafting and developing well. Unfortunately, they are not. People are frustrated that the team does not sign free agents, has been cheap in the draft, has been cheap with international free agents, and has a terrible record with drafting and development. You mention the young pitchers have not done their job. Well guess what, the bigger problem is the minor leagues are barren of any P help, aside from the Bundy Brothers, one of whom has not pitched professionally yet and its still a 50/50 shot whether or not he pans out and the other has not had any success above A. This terrible strategy of failing at every aspect of team building has yielded 14 straight losing seasons, and at this time we are nowhere near being a contender unless a miracle happens.

Typical Oriole mismanagement -- a lackluster GM can't even quit effectively.

This is a illustrative of the way the O's operate from the top down, and will never change as long as Angelos is alive. Were this a more traditional company, it would have been out of business a long time ago.

What a massive shame, and an embarrassment on our great city.

While we wait an see if an under-performing GM will be allowed to quit, other teams have already made management overhauls, and are moving forward.

The O's remain stuck in neutral -- as usual. Stuck in neutral since 1998.

If everything stays as it is, what a slap in the face to Oriole fans. That could have, and should have been decided long before the season ended. In stead we were promised big changes starting the day after the season ended. Promises are made to be broken by this organization as we have learned over the last 14 years. As most of those who have posted before me, I agree that as long as P,A, is the owner we will have a last place finish , or at best, an also ran in the A.L. East.

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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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