A few notes…
*First, the expectation is the GM situation will be resolved before the free agency period begins later this week. That’s a very fluid situation right now, and it could change –literally– hour by hour, or minute by minute.
I still believe Tony LaCava will be the Orioles’ hire, but as Yahoo Sports reported, De Jon Watson has met with the O’s brass several times as well. I’ve been asked if there’s a chance they both get hired on, either as co-GMs or as a president/GM tandem and the answer is no. It’s important to have one voice as the ultimate decision-maker and –particularly when you factor in the fact that manager Buck Showalter will have a lot of say, having more than one GM-type doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Toronto has been preparing for the possibility of life without LaCava –who is Alex Anthopoulos’ right-hand man –for the last few weeks. While it would be a very large blow for Toronto, there’s an increasing concern about what personnel LaCava –who is incredibly well respected in the organization — would take with him if he was to get the Orioles’ GM job.
*Now that the Cardinals are World Series champions –raise your hand if you saw that one coming– the free agency period is set to begin on Thursday. With a whole lot of stories about “so-and-so filing for free agency” I wanted to clear something up real quick:
Players with six years of playing time automatically become free agents after the World Series under MLB’s new rules. In the past, players had a 15-day period to decide whether to file for the privilege.
The Orioles two notable free agent eligibles — Cesar Izturis and Vladimir Guerrero — are among nearly 150 free agents this winter and neither are expected back. Izturis was injured most of the season and was brought back to be a backup infielder last season, while manager Buck Showalter made it no secret he wasn’t a fan of being handcuffed with a DH-only type such as Guerrero.
So, what do the Orioles need this winter?
PITCHING, PITCHING and more PITCHING. That’s first and foremost and should be way before any Prince Fielder talk and the hoards of other rumors and speculation that will bombard baseball writers for the next few months.
*On a lighter little note, the Five Four brand has named Orioles outfielder Adam Jones the company’s first ever brand ambassador. More info on that, with Jones modeling some clothes, can be found here.