Results tagged ‘ Andy MacPhail ’

Juan to the Phillies is official (updated)

Former Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel will not be a part of the organization in 2011. In a move that had grown from speculation to near-certainty the Philadelphia Phillies unveiled Samuel as their new third base coach on Thursday afternoon, a move that shifts Sam Perlozzo to first-base duties starting next spring.

Samuel’s name was not immediately in the mix for O’s manager Buck Showalter’s staff, but after Toronto’s  third base coach Brian Butterfield opted to remain with the Blue Jays, Showalter reached out to Samuel, who gave the new O’s skipper his word that he would return.

But the two sides couldn’t agree on terms, and on Monday MLB.com, citing several sources close to the situation, reported that Samuel’s future would likely be in Philadelphia.  

“[We are] grateful to Juan for the work he has done for us in a wide variety of roles this past season,” president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said in an email to MLB.com. “He is a true professional and class individual.”

Originally signed as a undrafted free agent by Philadelphia in 1980, Samuel spent from ’83-89 with the big league club and went on to garner National League All-Star honors three times during his 16-year career. Samuel, who became the first Latin-born manager in Orioles history when he temporarily took over for Dave Trembley, was enshrined on the Phillies’ Wall of Fame in 2008.

The opportunity to join his former team came when first base coach Davey Lopes announced his departure at season’s end. Given Samuel’s expertise in outfield/baserunning instruction -which is what Lopes handled – his name quickly became a target.

“I feel fortunate that we were able to add someone of Juan’s stature to our coaching staff,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said in the release.  “He was a tremendous Major League player and a big part of Phillies history and I’m looking forward to him passing on his knowledge of the game to our players.  He’s a great addition to our organization.”

Samuel isn’t the only former O’s skipper moving on to a new organization. The Atlanta Braves also named Trembley their Minor League field coordinator on Thursday.

Trembley became the Orioles manager during the 2007 season and maintained that role until he was fired in June.  During his four seasons as Baltimore’s skipper, his clubs combined to go 187-283.

Highly regarded during his 20 seasons as a Minor League manager, Trembley takes over for Tommy Shields, who had spent each of the past four seasons as the Braves Minor League Field coordinator.

What about Juan?

Amid speculation that former Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel would stay in Baltimore and return to his third-base post, multiple sources confirmed on Monday night that Samuel’s future with the O’s is far from certain.

Samuel was not present at the Orioles mini-organizational meetings in Arizona that took place last week, and the sentiment is Samuel is leaning toward other options, which include joining Charlie Manuel’s staff as Phillies first-base coach. Samuel is one of several candidates being considered for the position vacated by Davey Lopes, and given his ties to the Phillies organization as a player — as well as his experience as an outfield/baserunning instructor – it makes sense.   

The Phillies have had conversations with Samuel, who is currently in the Dominican Republic, but no formal offer has been extended. A highly-respected baseball man, Samuel is a candidate to join several organizations as a coach, including the Mets, whose staff is still in a state of flux while they conduct a managerial search.

Following Brian Butterfield’s decision to stay in Toronto, Samuel was thought to be the Orioles leading candidate to return to his third base role, a position he held until manager Dave Trembley’s dismissal in June.

And while there is still a chance he ends up in Baltimore, the organization has yet to reach an agreement contractually with Samuel as they have with pitching coach Mark Connor, hitting coach Jim Presley, bullpen coach Rick Adair and first base coach Wayne Kirby.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail have both declined to comment on the coaching staff until it is complete and official. Showalter did acknowledge on Monday night that there are still some “moving parts” regarding his staff, which would be a third-base coach and a bench coach.

A note of Thanks

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Yesterday officially marked the start of the offseason, and I want to thank you all for reading my stories, blogs and Tweets all year. I got a slew of appreciative comments both on Twitter and in emails, and wanted you to know I’m humbled by all the support in my rookie season on the Orioles beat. It wasn’t always pretty to watch on the field but you stuck around, gave your input and voiced your opinion and it made Orioles.com and this blog a better place. (For the site’s official thank you video, click here.)

So, what now? In case you missed it, I did a pair of stories for the site: one looks ahead while one goes back and details 2010. As I blogged earlier, the O’s have some free agents and will continue to evaluate what needs to be done in a critical offseason. For more on president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail’s thoughts you can check out my story here, or read some of the highlights in his interview with MLB.com in a blog post.

As one Orioles pitcher told me before leaving, no one had an 0.00 ERA.
There’s always room for improvement, so let me know what you think.

Finally, some answers to a few questions I’ve gotten regarding my role with Orioles.com. Yes, I’m returning for 2011 and spearheading offseason coverage. Winter Meetings, trade rumors and all Hot Stove stuff will be covered appropriately. Yes, the nonstop Tweets will continue. You can’t get rid of me that easy. I’ll also be doing features on the Orioles playing in the Arizona Fall League and Dominican Winter League and be catching up with some of the guys at home for the winter. 

Got a question about what the Orioles front office is looking to do this offseason? Or how a particular player factors into their future? Shoot me an email or a message on Twitter with your name and hometown. I’ll post the best ones with answers in an offseason inbox.

One more thing: I’ll be helping out with ALCS coverage for MLB.com, so my byline and blogs will have some non-Orioles coverage during that time. My guess is it will be Yankees-Rays, but the Twins wouldn’t surprise me either… 

A true rebuild & Samuel's thoughts

ESPN.com’s Tim Kurkjian writes what most Orioles fans have been thinking most of the season: this could be the worst of 13 straight years of losing.

Last night Brian Matusz took the loss, his eighth of the year, and you have to wonder how long the Orioles will continue to flail about before a permanent successor to Dave Trembley is put in place. I don’t pretend to know when that will be. Heck, I don’t even know if Andy MacPhail knows. (He said yesterday it all depends on the process).

But I think we can all agree that at this point in the season it’s becoming damaging for these young guys to be marred in the losing culture that has swamped the Orioles.

My question is, how do you turn this around? Do you wait this season out, or do you make a move at the midseason mark and forget about the first 81 games? Do you get rid of everyone who isn’t a part of the Orioles’ future (ie. make a flurry of trades)?

******

I recently sat down with Juan Samuel for a little Q & A when I was in San Diego. It was going to be an off day story, but sometimes you have to let other news dictate what goes up. So, before this all gets stale, I wanted to share a few of his more interesting comments on what’s going on here and what he reasonably expects going forward…(Note: that this was done before Wednesday’s failed bunt attempt with Matt Wieters. So please spare me the emails about Samuel’s bunting strategy)

MLB.com: When you took over the team was already 15-39. How much of a challenge is it to managing a team that far in the hole, and how much can you, as a first-time manager feasibly expect to turn things around?
 
Samuel:  Honestly, I’ve taken the approach that anything that I can do to improve the attitude, to change the philosophy and mentality of some guys, is a plus for whoever might take over. Or whatever the decision might be.
 
To me, it’s a no- lose situation because we were already in the situation that we were in, and I’m using this as a learning experience. I’m enjoying it. I don’t think you know you can do something until you start doing it.  You see things that you could do and things that are working and you say, ‘Wait a minute, I think I can do this.’ But until you are put into this situation you aren’t sure how close you are.

That’s what I’m using this for. For me, its keeping those guys positive, continuing to push and encourage them and have them play a little better.

MLB.com: Given the Orioles injuries and lack of depth, you have a bench that’s short on big-league experience and productivity. Does it make you think twice to call on guys like Scott Moore, who is 1-for-19 with 10 strikeouts as a pinch-hitter, or Lou Montanez -who is batting .140 — in critical situations?

Samuel: Not at all. Because, to me, this is what I have. This is the right guy; a righty [pitcher] up there, Scotty is the left-handed guy we have right now. It’s not an easy job to come off the bench, but I’m going to do it.

Those guys are here. Yes, you’d rather have better choices, but this is what we have. And I’m going to use them in situations probably where they haven’t been used before. But I’m not afraid to throw guys out there. I’m really not.

MLB.com: With that being said, this team has yet to win a series since you took over. Have you seen any improvements, be it in the team’s fundamentals or the general attitude?

Samuel: One thing that I’ve noticed is we’ve been able to run a little bit, we’ve been able to sacrifice [bunt] a little bit.

I remind them, ‘Hey don’t just anticipate or think I’m not going to do certain things. Just be prepared because I do anything at any moment. Be looking for something. I always remind them, we need to stay the course, continue to do what we do and be ready to run. I’ve seen some of those things and some of those guys run the bases the way I think you should run it. [They do need] to take advantage of the mistakes; take the extra base a little more.

MLB.com: When you were named interim manager you talked about accountability and holding players responsible by calling them out. Has there been any of those situations with you as interim manager?

Samuel: Not yet. A lot of guys are passionate, a lot of guys are emotional. And sometimes when guys miss pitches down the middle, they show some passion, some frustration. And I played. I understand. But if you see certain things, repeating itself too much you have ways to get the message across.

MLB.com: President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has made it no secret that he values experience for the next Orioles manager. Given that this is your first shot at the helm, do you view this as a job interview, not just for the Orioles, but for the rest of baseball?

Samuel: Exactly. And if it doesn’t work out [in Baltimore] at least I know, ‘OK I could have done this differently. Next time I get a job I will do this’. You find out where things don’t work and you say ‘OK, I needed to do this’.

I got an opportunity from Andy to basically show to the folks out there to take notice, maybe a Latino player could manage. Because there’s not a whole lot of us
 

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Showalter interviewing this week

ESPN analyst Buck Showalter has been contacted by the Orioles about their managerial position and is expected to meet with the organization in less than a week, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Tim Kurkijan on Wednesday.

Showalter is a former manager with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers. When contacted by MLB.com at the beginning of the Orioles last homestand, Showalter said the Orioles had not approached him at the job, but he would be open to listening to what they had to say.

Showalter had no comment in the ESPN story. If he does interview, it will be the third candidate owner Peter Angelos and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail have reportedly considered for the job. MacPhail said Monday that there is no timetable to naming a permanent replacement for former manager Dave Trembley. 

Koji/Gonzo updates & Perez DFA'ed

Koji Uehara appeared in his first rehab outing for Double-A Bowie tonight, tossing 11 of his 15 pitches for strikes. He appeared in one inning against Erie, allowing a hit and picking up a strikeout. He will also throw on Thursday with no specific plans beyond that.

Closer Mike Gonzalez continues to rehab in Sarasota and has been working on strengthening the area around his left shoulder. He said if he stays on track, he will pick up a ball and begin a throwing program on Monday.

Also, a few people asked about the decision to remove Wilfrido Perez from the 40-man roster, a move that cleared a spot for Alfredo Simon to join the Orioles bullpen. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said the organization was hopeful Perez would clear waivers, since another team would have to put Perez on their 40-man roster if they claimed him. However, they felt Pedro Viola -who they claimed off waivers from Cincinnati – had slightly more upside.
The 25-year-old Perez was 0-1 with three saves and a 10.80 ERA, including five walks and five strikeouts, in five games with Double-A Bowie.

MacPhail: Roberts a growing concern

I wrote earlier today about the Brian Roberts setback, which is basically an upset stomach caused by his back medication. Following the game, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail acknowledged Roberts’ status for Opening Day is becoming a growing concern.

“You have to be concerned now,” MacPhail said.  “To me, you get 10 games into Spring Training before you really start paying attention, but the clock is starting to be an issue.

“It’s getting to be something that’s on my radar screen, even though at the present time our athletic staff feels like he’s going to be ready by Opening Day. By now we have to start thinking about, ‘What if he isn’t ready?'”

When asked if the team would seek outside relief to temporarily fill the hole at second base, MacPhail didn’t rule out the option.

“We will see what’s out there,” he said. “Obviously, we have weekly calls with our pro scouts and we have to let them know what’s going on in our camp. We might have to shift their focus a little bit from what the initial menu was. And then obviously, we are going to have to start exploring more internal options as well.”

In Roberts’ place Robert Andino would figure to be the leading candidate to fill the role. Trembley has said earlier this spring that Andino is the team’s back up middle infielder.Still, Andino has struggled this spring, going 1-for-11 in four games. Other middle infielders in camp include Justin Turner, Miguel Abreu, and Michael Aubrey.

MacPhail No. 12 In SI GM Rankings

Sports Illustrated released rankings for the best GM’s in Major League Baseball today, with the Rays’ Andrew Friedman at the top of their list. The rest of the top 5 is Boston’s Theo Epstein, New York’s Brian Cashman, Florida’s Larry Beinfest and Seattle’s Jack Jack Zduriencik.

Orioles GM Andy MacPhail is No. 12 and here’s what the article had to say about him…

12. Andy MacPhail, Baltimore Orioles

He’s baseball royalty and a possible future commissioner who has built first-rate clubs in Minnesota and Chicago, so the surprise of MacPhail’s work in Baltimore is that he’s there at all, given the Orioles’ notoriously headache-inducing ownership. It’s not a surprise that he’s doing the job the right way. This is a lousy team, but that’s because under MacPhail’s stewardship they’re actually rebuilding properly rather than burning money in a futile bid for 80 wins. In any other division they’d be a comer.

I agree with the top 5 except for Brian Cashman. The Yankees have had so many large blunders contract-wise and wasted too much money on old veterans (that they can afford to bury). Plus their farm system lags behind the Red Sox and Rays (and the Orioles). What do you think?

Atkins gets ready for shift

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(Meeting of the minds: Andy MacPhail and Dave Trembley)

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New Oriole Garrett Atkins was one of the growing number of position players out on the field for Sunday’s workout. Nolan Reimold and Luke Scott (with a lumberjack beard) were some of the other notable new attendees, which definitely put a smile on Dave Trembley’s face. The O’s manager was in a great mood today, raving about the players who had come in early and taking a few minutes to stand on a hill and watch several practices at the same time. It’s safe to say Trembley’s digging the new Spring Training digs.

I’ve got a story going up on the site later about Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen, but here’s the highlights. Tillman was having back tightness so they shut him down today, but he should be fine and ready to pitch a side on Monday. Bergesen is getting better and expects to do 2-3 flat ground sessions before getting up on the hill. By his own estimates, that should be by the end of next weekend. Trembley noted he’s “very, very close.”

In case you missed it yesterday, I caught up with Adam Jones, who is extremely excited to start the season. Jones took some swings with Nolan Reimold, who made his first appearance down in Sarasota on Sunday, looking like someone in need of sun.  He laughed when I told him Trembley asked if he could be any paler. But, he does live just north of Pittsburgh, so give the guy a break.

Reimold spent the winter testing his left Achilles tendon by running on the treadmill, and got to work it out on the field for the first time today. This is what he said prior to the practice. 

“After a lot of running, it still gets a little sore,” he said, “but it’s already better than it was last year. I’m sure I’ll be ready [for Opening Day].”

And Atkins was busy working on getting himself ready and acclimated to a full-time role at first base. The former Rockie said he will try to remember how Golden Glover Todd Helton prepared, and go from there.

“[It's] just a matter of getting out there and getting the reps in, this is my first Spring Training where I’m basically first the entire time,” Atkins said. “So I image in 40 days or whatever I’ll be able to get pretty comfortable over there.”

As for the other side of his game, Atkins said he hit more this offseason than in previous years and was looking forward to taking that into Spring Training.  Sure enough, following his media session, Atkins hooked up with hitting coach Terry Crowley for a session in the batting cage.

Brian Roberts is in Sarasota and Trembley expects the second baseman will likely report tomorrow. His agent, Mark Pieper, stopped by Sunday’s practice. 

*Trembley and his staff will hold an inter-squad game on March 1 at Ed Smith Stadium, with the Orioles coaches expected to hold a drafts of sorts sometime in the next week. Following the game, the Orioles will host a clinic for the Boys & Girls club, as part of their ongoing efforts to be active in the Sarasota community.

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Also, I’m hoping to get enough queries to turn out my
first Orioles inbox soon, so get those questions coming via email, with your name and
location. And as always, follow me on Twitter for quicker updates and more pictures! 

–Brittany
 

  

Bergesen a Lesson?

In the wake of Brad Bergesen’s injury the AP just released a story regarding the Orioles new policy on commercials, which basically includes having a member of the team’s medical staff or baseball operations present for filming.

It’s not really a new policy, a team source told me it’s a non-issue and a basic precaution they are going to take going forward. There’s no newsy manual or any repercussion for Bergesen, who is expected to be 10 days behind when pitchers and catchers report Wednesday, and start practicing Thursday.

Not sure why the AP released that story today, but it really seems to mirror what Andy MacPhail told the Baltimore Sun (who broke the story) last Thursday.

“We have already made some adjustments in terms of making sure we have
medical personnel or baseball personnel present for anything we do in
the future,” MacPhail told the Sun.

–Brittany
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