Buck Showalter was named the Orioles manager on Thursday, a move that will officially put him in the dugout when the team returns home on Tuesday. An official press conference is scheduled for Monday, and Showalter’s deal runs through the 2013 season.
The rest of the Orioles coaching staff will remain in place with interim manager Juan Samuel moving back to third base and current third base coach Gary Allenson going back to Norfolk to manage the Tides.
The 54-year-old Showalter has a tough task in helping a young Baltimore squad reestablish itself in the American League East. The Orioles are 31-70 and are well on their way to clinching their 13th consecutive losing season.
The man that friend and current Oriole Kevin Millwood called “the most prepared individual” he’s ever met, Showalter will be the Orioles 10th manager since Peter Angelos became the principal owner of the Orioles in August 1993. He will assume the full-time position vacated by Dave Trembley on June 4.
There has been no word on who Showalter will employ on his coaching staff although president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has said that the new manager will get to select his staff.
Showalter, who recently served as a baseball analyst for ESPN, met with Orioles brass several times, including a nearly three-hour formal interview on June 23. MacPhail, who is notoriously close to the vest, confirmed the meeting but did not publicly comment on any of the O’s candidates, a list which included MASN broadcaster and ex-Oriole Rick Dempsey, former Indians skipper Eric Wedge and ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine, who later withdrew his name.
Given MacPhail’s emphasis on experience the notoriously detailed Showalter quickly became the front-runner, with several national media outlets speculating the deal would be completed long before it was actually made official.
“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,” MacPhail said on June 23, which was also the day Valentine officially withdrew his name in hopes of landing a job with Florida.
“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 was named American League Manager of the Year twice — in 1994 and 2004 -and has compiled an 882-833 record in 11 years with the Yankees, D-backs and Rangers. He is credited in many circles for jump-starting the Yankees dynasty of the 1990s, and both New York and Arizona won the World Series the year after he left. Showalter’s last year managing was ’06 with the Rangers, which is where he struck up a close relationship with Millwood, who 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,” Millwood said. “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 feels 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.”