LaCava declines Os offer, to stay in Toronto

Earlier on Tuesday, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos talked about how difficult it would be to lose assistant GM Tony LaCava, a widely regarded baseball executive who was the Baltimore Orioles’ top choice for their president/GM vacancy.  But Anthopoulos no longer has to worry.

A day after meeting with the Orioles’ top decision makers –including principal owner Peter Angelos – LaCava turned down Baltimore’s offer to become GM and will instead remain in Toronto for the 2012 season, according to  industry souces. The news, first reported by FOXSports.com, comes as a surprise given how far along in the process LaCava was –he had a lengthy first interview on Oct. 19– and leaves the Orioles without a GM with free agency set to begin on Thursday.

It’s unknown what the next immediate step will be for the Orioles, who could expand their candidate pool and conduct more interviews, or offer the position to either of the two remaining candidates: Dodgers assistant GM De Jon Watson or Baltimore’s director of player development John Stockstill.

Watson, who met with the Orioles several times as well, according to Yahoo! Sports, remains in play, while Stockstill is seen as more of a wild card, particularly given the organization’s struggles in the scouting and player development area. Watson, who interviewed for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM job last year that went to Kevin Towers, just completed his fifth season in charge of the Dodgers’ Minor League system, which was named the best in baseball in 2010 by Topps. Watson joined the Dodgers from Cleveland, where he was scouting director, and he also was scouting director for Cincinnati.

LaCava, 50, is regarded as one of baseball’s most savvy talent evaluators and served as a scout for the Angels, Atlanta Braves, Montreal Expos and Cleveland Indians before joining Toronto’s organization. He was moved up from assistant to the GM to assistant GM in October 2007 and the duties of director of player development were added in ’09. The Orioles job was the third GM position LaCava has interviewed for two other GM jobs previously– Pittsburgh and Seattle – although this is the first he has turned down the job after being offered it.

 

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