Os managerial search updates
BALTIMORE– As of Sunday afternoon, the Orioles are believed to have two managerial candidates officially in the mix, with former Indians manager Eric Wedge and current ESPN analyst Buck Showalter both interviewing for the position vacated with Dave Trembley’s dismissal on June 4. Bobby Valentine was also brought in to interview, but removed his name from contention on June 23.
Beyond that, there’s been plenty of speculation as to who the Orioles might inquire about as well as several candidates publicly lobbying for the job. Former Oriole Don Baylor was the latest in the latter category, telling the Boston Globe on Sunday that he’d love a chance to manage back in Baltimore.
“That’s where my heart is at,” Baylor told the newspaper. “That’s where I learned to play the game. It’s tough to see the struggles they’ve had there. The [American League] East is now three teams.
“I know it’s been difficult for the great fans who supported that team for so long and grew up in the tradition there.”
Baylor’s name has not been mentioned as a candidate, and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail had no comment on the story. It was MacPhail who dismissed Baylor -1995’s NL Manager of the Year in Colorado – from his last managerial job with Chicago. Baylor was replaced as Cubs manager prior to the ’02 All-Star Break.
MacPhail is scheduled to meet with former Oriole and current MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey on Tuesday, and although Dempsey has made it no secret he wants the job, he told several media outlets he’s not sure if the meeting is an official interview. Interim manager Juan Samuel will also be considered, although neither candidate fits the description MacPhail has stressed the most: prior managerial experience.
“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 said last week that he didn’t anticipate making a hire prior to the All-Star break.
Given the young makeup of the Orioles roster, the experienced Showalter appears to be the leading candidate at this stage. The American League Manager of the Year in ’94 with New York and in ’04 with Texas, Showalter also spent three years rebuilding the D-backs. He led the second-year team to a 100-win season in ’99.
“He’s probably one of the most prepared people I’ve ever worked with,” said Orioles pitcher Kevin Millwood, who played under Showalter in Texas and still plays golf with him in the offseason.
“Whether you mesh with a group of guys or not, you never know how that’s going to work out. But I think he’s definitely qualified.”
Millwood said the biggest factor in a managerial switch is getting the players’ respect, which is something he felt Showalter could do right away.
“I know guys respect [interim manager Juan Samuel],” Millwood said. “If you are going to bring somebody else in, I think to play hard for somebody you have to respect him.
You would think [Showalter would get respect]. [But] you just have to wait and see. I think everybody is being prepared for what’s coming.”
With the first phase of the managerial search over, the organization is expected to start 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 contact candidates who weren’t currently employed elsewhere.
“We have a list, we’re working back from,” MacPhail said.