A few Orioles notes & opinions

*You already know by now that Arizona Diamondbacks executive Jerry Dipoto had a lengthy interview with the Orioles on Tuesday for the vacant GM/president position. But it’s still helpful to reiterate what I said in Tuesday’s story: that Dipoto is a very strong candidate. The Orioles liked him a lot before and, from what I was told, that hasn’t changed. In fact, Dipoto –who has a solid background in player development and ties to the Virginia area — probably improved his standing.  Yesterday’s interview with Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava also went very well and, in my opinion, both guys are great candidates and would be excellent fits for the organization.

It remains to be seen if the Orioles will have any more interviews, but –and again this is my opinion — if you already brought in two noteworthy candidates who are very well respected around baseball, why bother bringing in more people to interview? Let’s act swiftly- offer the job to one of them and then go from there. Dipoto is reportedly high on the Angels’ list as well,  so it would certainly benefit the Orioles to be speedy. And it would also make this reporter a little less paranoid when leaving my phone to go for a run.

*Speaking of running, there is still plenty of time to sign up for the second annual KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5K run/1M walk on Saturday, Oct. 29 in Canton Square.  Orioles manager Buck Showalter will be present, along with his wife Angela, and there are more details on this great charity event here.

Under Armour is providing shirts, so you know they will be pretty sweet. I’ve already signed up, and you can register on Active.com or come to the prerace party Friday to register. There’s some great food deals from the local restaurants, so come by and sign up, get a beer and say hi.

*I’ve gotten a few questions about the coaching staff for next season, so this bears repeating as well. While none of the other coaching positions have been finalized — along with the scouting director job, they likely will not be until the GM situation is resolved — it is expected that John Russell will remain the team’s bench coach. Russell started the 2011 season at third base before switching positions with Willie Randolph in June. To be clear, Randolph was on a one-year deal and not asked back. He would have gladly accepted a position to return to the Orioles staff in 2012, but is now a free agent of sorts.

*The free agency period will begin before you know it, and the rumors and speculation will be everywhere: on Twitter, blogs, newspapers, websites. I’ll do my best to address them as accurately as possible and plan on speculating (everyone’s favorite winter word!) on possible Orioles targets in the next few days.

*Did the Orioles forget about the Brooks Robinson statue, which will be unveiled with little fanfare on Saturday? The answer is an emphatic no. The team actually has plans in the works for a much bigger celebration honoring their Hall of Fame inductees next season.

*I continue to believe that Koji Uehara will find a way back to the Orioles. Uehara, who was traded to the Rangers midseason, struggled mightily in a Texas uniform and was left off the team’s World Series roster.  It’s hard to not feel for the guy, particularly because I remember him blinking back tears when he was traded while the team was in New York. For all the ire directed at Michael Gonzalez –who has flourished since his August trade to Texas — he was genuinely remorseful for how his time unfolded here. And while Gonzalez, who is a free agent this winter again, won’t be coming back to Baltimore, Uehara still owns a home in the area and has talked with people close to him about wanting to return.

*As for my World Series prediction, I got to stick with the Rangers. The Cardinals are  a scrappy bunch, as evidenced from Game 1, but I’m still going Texas in a seven-game series. What do you think?


Enjoy your colunns and tweets. Will gm candidates be concerned with Showalters close ties to Angelos and his seemingly desire to be involved in gm decisions?

Excellent question, and one that I think won’t go away even after they hire a GM. Best case scenario, in my opinion, is they get a guy to work more in tandem with Showalter- overseeing player development, scouting, etc. — rather than directly above him.

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Thanks for your hard work and insight this season. At what point do you think the [new] front office will work on beefing up the scouting infrastructure? Doesn’t it seem like the Orioles have had far too many “blue chip” or “can’t miss” arms ..and even position players? I could start a lengthy list, but that would be painful. I just want to get your thoughts on why the team appears to be so far behind on scouting talent and if there is an inherent problem at least partially stemming from insufficient resources on the international front. Go O’s!

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