MacPhail on Valentine, Showalter
BALTIMORE–Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed on Wednesday evening that the organization interviewed Buck Showalter earlier in the afternoon for Baltimore’s vacant managerial position.
MacPhail also confirmed previous interviewee Bobby Valentine officially withdrew his name from the Orioles’ search, in a report first made public by ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian.
MacPhail said he spoke with Valentine’s agent but had not read the statement in Kurkjian’s article, which quoted Valentine as saying he thought he should turn elsewhere.
“I am honored and flattered that the Orioles reached out with this potential opportunity, but at this time in my career, I feel I should direct my energies in another direction,” said Valentine said in the story.
With the dismissal of Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez on Wednesday morning, Florida president David Samson confirmed that he has already been in talks with Valentine, and it’s well known that the organization will try to find a long-term replacement as soon as possible.
“I could speculate [why Valentine withdrew], but we are still in the middle of the process,” said MacPhail who reiterated he does not have a timetable for finding a permanent replacement for Dave Trembley. “We are at the beginning of the middle of the process.”
That process will start to include reaching out to other Major League teams to inquire about currently employed members of another club’s staff. The first phase, according to MacPhail, was to reach out to candidates who weren’t employed, with Showalter and former Indians manager Eric Wedge each getting an interview.
“I think we want to get it right, whether it’s in two weeks or two months [is] probably not as important as getting the right guy,”said MacPhail who didn’t anticipate making a hire prior to the All-Star Break. “I don’t think, frankly given our place in the standings, urgency is as paramount as it might be to a team like the Marlins who are still a few game within striking distance.”
Showalter’s interview lasted around three hours and MacPhail called it both educational and enjoyable to exchange ideas with the current ESPN analyst.
Showalter was the American League Manager of the year in 1994 with New York and in ’04 with Texas. He also spent three years with the D-backs, leading the second-year team to a 100-win season in ’99.
MacPhail declined to divulge any further details of the meeting with Showalter and said he had no other meetings planned in the near future. Although, even if he did, the notoriously close-to-vest MacPhail admitted he probably wouldn’t share that with the media.
“I’ve taken the position right or wrong that the more low-key we can go the better, “MacPhail said.
“It’s really awkward in these in-season [searches] because you have an existing manager.”
That manager is former third base coach Juan Samuel, who was promoted to Orioles interim skipper following Trembley’s dismissal on June 4. MacPhail said first-time manager Samuel will still be considered for the job, although he has made it no secret that the organization will place an emphasis on experience. MacPhail wasn’t sure if the League would require him to officially interview Samuel, given that he gets to show the organization firsthand what he can do. The Orioles (19-51) entered Wednesday 4-12 under Samuel.
Former Oriole and current MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey is expected to meet with MacPhail sometime in the near future, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. The Sun also said no interview date has been set.