Os start to expand interviews w. Proefrock
A day removed from the news that Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava would be staying in Toronto, the Orioles have expanded their list of initial candidates and will bring in Phillies executive Scott Proefrock to interview for their general manager vacancy.
The news, first reported by FOXSports.com Wednesday night, was confirmed by an industry source to MLB.com. Proefrock — who is current Philadelphia’s assistant GM –was a name that came up for the Orioles job before the interview process began, and it makes sense given that he is familiar with the organization, having spent three seasons as Baltimore’s director of baseball administration.
The 51-year-old Proefrock served as director of baseball administration with the Tampa Bay Rays from 1995-96 and assistant GM from 1997-2005. He also worked in scouting and player development for Pittsburgh and Atlanta before that and was hired on to join the Phillies front office in November 2008.
However, Proefrock doesn’t have the extensive background in scouting and player development as some of the Orioles other candidates — which are down to Dodgers assistant GM De Jon Watson and Baltimore’s director of player development John Stockstill – an area which the organization cited early on as being very desirable given their farm system’s struggles. But he does have ties to the area, residing in Maryland with his family in the offseason, and he served his time in Baltimore under the tutelage of president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, whose job is essentially what he would be interviewing for.
With LaCava declining the Orioles’ offer on Tuesday, Baltimore will open the free agency period as the only organization without a GM/president-type, meaning the process of bringing in new candidates for interviews should be expedited. Watson remains a candidate after a favorable first interview, while Stockstill is seen as more of a wild card given the way the organization’s player development has come under fire.
The Orioles’ other two candidates –LaCava and Jerry Dipoto, who accepted the Angels’ GM position – are out of play, and it’s very possible they bring in a few more names to go along with Proefrock, who will interview sometime this week.
My personal take on the situation is that –while Watson and Stockstill remain in play — if the Orioles were particularly high on either one of them, they would have offered them the GM job already. It’s obvious that LaCava, as classy as he is, thought long and hard about taking the job –otherwise it wouldn’t have gotten that far — before ultimately deciding it wasn’t in his best interest long-term.
It’s important to note that LaCava didn’t seek out the Orioles job: they came to him. And while clearly manager Buck Showalter’s choice, and a good one at that, he elected to bide his time in Toronto and wait for a better situation. A lot of the rumors that LaCava was worried about future autonomy and personnel moves are true to some extent. To exactly what extent, we won’t ever really know.
I’ve gotten asked a lot who will take this Orioles job, particularly with rumors that Dipoto had no plans to take it either, which was reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney on Twitter today. Someone very capable will take the position –it’s one of only 30 GM jobs in baseball — but the problem for the Orioles now is the perception. Forget being the team’s second or third candidate, the news with LaCava now has the Orioles’ GM job –true or not — looking more like a lame duck position where Andy MacPhail’s successor won’t get total control. That’s not exactly an ideal situation and something that you can bet will be addressed in all of their discussions with potential candidates.
Here are a few names to tentatively cross off your list: Mets special assistant JP Ricciardi and the Rangers’ A.J. Preller and Thad Levine. As of Wednesday, the Orioles haven’t reached out to either organization, although all three of those names have been previously rumored. It’s very possible they go after some of the names you heard at the beginning of this search, such as Tampa Bay’s Gerry Hunsicker or the White Sox Rick Hahn, although both of those guys are content in their current organizations and roles and I can’t see the Orioles GM job –which is already getting a less than desirable rap around baseball — being enticing enough for them to want to leave. Another name to keep tabs on is Twins executive Mike Radcliff, especially considering his very-well respected background in scouting.
UPDATE: According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have reached out to Radcliff. So there’s another name to add to the list.