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October 2, 2011

Orioles: Still waiting

We were pretty sure we'd know something official by this point on the status of Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter, but there has been no announcement following a summit involving the two of them and owner Peter Angelos on Thursday afternoon. It's no secret that MacPhail will give up his current title as president of baseball operations, but whether he walks away completely or remains in some advisory role remains unclear.

If you had asked me on Wednesday, I would have guessed that MacPhail was going to make a clean break and take some time off with his family. The fact that the announcement has not been made makes me wonder if Angelos talked MacPhail into sticking around for awhile as a special advisor to help the transition to a new front office hierarchy.

I'm guessing Angelos would give MacPhail just about any title he wants in the organization (other than co-owner), because he trusts MacPhail and needs somebody with vast front office experience to call on for advice. Though MacPhail seems to want out, it isn't out of the question that Peter might make him an offer he can't refuse.

I realize there are a lot of Orioles fans who want MacPhail to head on down the highway, but he has had a positive effect on the organization, even if it wasn't apparent in the standings during his 4 1/2 years as GM.

If I was to guess, I would think something will be announced tomorrow that clears up the uncertain status of both MacPhail and Showalter.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:28 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Just baseball


The only Oriole fans who blame Andy MacPhail for the lack of improvement over the past 4 years are those who have forgotten what has happened to the Orioles over the past 15 years. The constant over that period was not Andy MacPhail.

What is this "positive effect", pray tell?

You admit it is not in the standings, where the Os haven't gotten to even 70 wins, much less .500, one time between 2007-2011. To find a 4-year stretch when the Orioles have lost more games than they have in MacPhail's tenure, you would have to go back to when they were the St. Louis Browns.

We have no international presence. Our developmental system is in tatters. The Orioles have less talent in the minors than when MacPhail came in.

Player morale is down, and fan goodwill is completely spent. People like myself who bought into MacPhail's "plan" when he came in, only to see him fail to fulfill even the promises that were within his control, are furious and won't take a leap of faith with this organization.

Attendance, which peaked at 3.7 million paying fans a year, has been in a free-fall decline for 14 years and accelerated to new depths under MacPhail, at less than 1.5 million. And has a Sun writer pointed out, an article about the third string TE for the Ravens draws more readers than anything about the Os. How has MacPhail improved ANYTHING?

Why do we need to keep this guy around? I think Angelos could throw a stone from the warehouse and find someone who could deliver a string of 65-win seasons and last place finishes in the AL East. Does it really take a genius of MacPhail's caliber to sit out free agency, and then overpay past-their-prime vets and flawed younger players before spring training?

I can document 100 specific ways in which MacPhail has been an utter failure. You assert that he has had a "positive effect" but don't deign to explain to us laypeople why you feel that way. I'm sorry, but that kind of statement is not a prima facie argument; in light of all the FACTS above if you really believe MacPhail has had a positive effect you need to provide evidence for that ridiculous position.

Haven't you learned anything during the current ownership? Nothing can occur expeditiously. Procrastination and dithering is S.O.P.

There seemed, a couple days ago, a least a public acknowledgement by the Orioles, that Limbo was not much of a likelihood and that moving quickly was both advantageous and necessary.

And the team seemed in a good position during Spring Training.

I hope the delay in announcements means things may remain the same. Otherwise, it's a waste of precious time. I'm not sure about Andy being GM, but I'm very sure I'd rather Andy than Buck, since replacing a Buck type manager is a harder search than GM candidates.

As per Peter Angelos, I can only speculate on the "offer he [Andy] can't refuse", but that speculation leads me to Andy maybe needing Peter's vote for Commissioner. I can easily imagine that the shrewd Angelos made a gentleman's agreement with Andy about a vote for commish for a revitalized Orioles. Failing to revitalize the Orioles, Peter can simply say, "we made an agreement, you have not upheld your end Andy, so you can leave knowing I won't up hold my end, or you can stick around and I can continue to dangle this vote..."

Total speculation...and I don't know that it's worth it either way.

Adam Jones extension speculations?? 5 years 55 million? zoiks. Just give him the 10 years 120 million at that rate...

This just go along with how the Orioles have been run by Angelos. Overly study, analyze, etc. before doing anything. In legal situations you need to be extremely prepared, in much of life the longer you wait the more likely you will miss out on opportunities that come and go.

Why keep a guy who made no significant progress in the team's on field success and IMO still has serious scouting and player development issues?

Sadly until Angelos goes the Orioles will continue to be the laughingstock of baseball.

No surprise that no action has taken place. That's how it's been ever since Angelos took over the O's. No decision is made timely. Maybe it's a lawyer's nature - no action until every risk can be eliminated. Unfortunately, it's put the team a month behind the rest of major league baseball in almost any transaction. It likely won't improve (nor will the Orioles) as long as Angelos has the team.

In the end, I can't think of a single bad trade MacPhail made with the Orioles. Not all were winners, though most turned out well, but there were no clunkers.

Can you imagine what a team the Orioles would have been if last September's pitching had been combined with this September's offense? That's what MacPhail thought he had, and it is a shame that none of us got to see it.

In llight of injuries to Strasburg (I know he's a Nat), Lowen, and Matusz, I now doubt the wisdom of using high first round draft picks on pitchers. I think that the better strategy would be drafting position players with a top 5 pick, and overpay pitchers selected in the 2nd and 3rd round who have first round talent. I suspect that Matusz will bounce back, but the risk/reward of drafting a pitcher versus drafting a hitter doesn't seem to make it worth it.

I can wait for them to get it right as long as they are ready to go when the major and minor FA season is here. I consider the minor FA very important to adding power arms to compete in the BP for depth. Fielder or a 3B a 2B and a top starter is about all I could hope for at this point. Perhaps a bigger factor would be if we could talk CAL to come back to handle the scouts and especially player developement.

Tim Brown's October 1st Yahoo Sports column on the Angels' GM search included a comment about the Orioles' GM situation near the end. He said that the Angels' ownership situation "already has those in the industry wondering how much general managing an Angels general manager really does."

Then headded this quote from an AL team official: “That and the Baltimore job [under Peter Angelos]. It will be interesting to see who will take them, where you are effectively neutered."

Sounds like a pretty fair statement about Oriole GMs under Angelos, from someone on the inside. I have a hard time seeing how it would be different if Showalter takes the job. He'll end up wishing he was back at ESPN.

Angelos may have talked McPhail into staying around as a "special advisor"???Please tell me, what could McPhail possibly advise any GM on, in regard to baseball? If you want to know how to maximize profit for your owner, he is without question, the man to hire, but baseball advice?? Com'on.

Here's a way to tell who understands how things work in baseball. Common knowledge should tell anyone that the purpose of a sports franchise is for the fans. The fans are the customer. Give the customer what he/she wants. If you'll listen to interviews with Showalter, he often refers to the fans in his comments. If you'll listen to Angelos and McPhail they rarely talk about fans at all. Fans are not of their concern. Any hope lies in the hands of Showalter. Buck seems to be the only one who understands why they play the game.

"...and needs somebody (MacFail) with vast front office experience to call on for advice."

Yeah, that sounds like an ideal working environment for a new GM.

Let's look atv this another way! Suppose Buck & Andy gave Pete an ultimatum that if they were not going after the premier players & spend the money that neither Buck or Andy was coming back. We are waiting on Pete!

As the saying goes, "We finished last with you, we can finish last without you."

Where are the men who will take the O's into contention? Or perhaps more accurately, "Who can be found at bargain basement rates to take the O's back to glory?"

I wish Angelos would head on down the highway

smucky, who spiked your kool aid? andy mcphail has not had a positive effect on the orioles team. they still lose more games than they win and for the exception of the last game this year they never have anything to play for after june 1st. Andy tried to build the orioles with cubby rejects such as arron hill, felix pie and rocky cherry. positive effect? in addition to adding those rejects andy's 2009 draft was the worst in baseball. positive effect?

It might be a good article to see you articulate how "he has had a positive effect on the organization". I know that there might be things, outside of baseball where that could be true. I also believe that any baseball effect would be arguable.

Do NOT count me among those who want to see MacPhail "head on down the highway." He's done some fine things -- just simply not enough in this age of GMing, and in this division. He seems a bit behind the times on some fronts and that's where someone else would help us greatly. However, he still has some great strengths that could help this organization. Keep him around, provided he's not an obstruction to the needs and wishes of the future GM.

Easy to blame MqacPhail, but what we are seeing is just how deep the rot went and how hard it is to clean up. Especially hard for teams who have to rely on their farm system.

A.M. did well to bring the O's J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, and Chris Davis.

Now for a Christmas present, bring us 3 starting pitchers who are at least average.

It is so sad 14 straight losing seasons and Angelos still hasn't got a clue. As long as he continues to interfere in player personnel, and there's no reason to think he won't, the team is doomed to many more losing seasons.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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