Results tagged ‘ Mets ’

A few tidbits..

*A reminder that the Orioles have until midnight tonight to decide whether to offer arbitration to Koji Uehara and Kevin Millwood. More details are up on the site here.

Do I think the Orioles will offer Uehara arbitration? I don’t know. I know they want him back, and it would seem like a good idea, in my opinion. He is due a substantial raise for essentially half a season, so they could gamble and pass but they have money to spend and a fan base that’s tired of guys being passed over. 

*Willie Randolph is close to joining Buck Showalter’s staff, and is in discussions with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail about a contract. I’ve been asked a few times what the holdup was and from what I heard it had nothing to do with monetary factors, like the Juan Samuel situation. Showalter simply took his time going through candidates. After Don Wakamatus opted to go to Toronto, Showalter was deliberate in mulling over numerous candidates, some who knew they were in the mix and some who didn’t. In the end, assuming Randolph agrees to terms, and I think he will, it’s a pretty impressive group of two former managers (inc. John Russell) and a bullpen coach (Rick Adair) who has also served as a Major League pitching coach. Lots of experience and expertise.

*Don’t expect much of anything on the Hot Stove concerning the Orioles, or anyone in the next few days. With a short holiday week a lot of GMs will be traveling and while there could be a few minor transactions it’s unlikely anything notable involving the O’s will go down.

*Also, an interesting premise by NY Daily News columnist Mike Lupica, who deems the Orioles “lucky” to have given Buck a chance. Here’s a snippet of the story with the full column up here

“So everybody loves Buck now, and not just in Baltimore. Everybody wants to know why their teams didn’t hire Buck in the years after he left Texas. I hear guys who thought Buck was obsessive and controlling and manipulative – the short list – now asking why the Mets didn’t hire him. Terrific.

But he’d been fired three places and had to go back to ESPN, so often a shelter for fired coaches and managers and even general managers, before the Orioles were smart enough to give him a shot. Suddenly, nearly 20 years after the Yankees first gave him a shot, Buck is the hot kid all over again.

You know what owners and general managers really know about the managers they hire in the end? That they never know.” 

Randolph talking terms with MacPhail

Orioles manager Buck Showalter is expected to finalize his coaching staff in the next day or two and it figures to be one that boasts vast experience and expertise, with at least one -and possibly two – former Major League managers.

Ex-Mets skipper Willie Randolph, a close friend and former colleague of Showalter’s, is the O’s top choice for the sixth and final position on staff, with the organization currently discussing contract terms. The move is not official and it’s still being determined whether Randolph would serve as third base coach or bench coach. 

Given his infield experience and well-known love for teaching and instruction, Randolph’s name surfaced along with Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson and Orioles instructor Bobby Dickerson on a list Showalter carefully deliberated on following Don Wakamatsu’s decision to go to Toronto.

The Baltimore Sun was the first to report on Monday night that the two sides were negotiating a possible deal that would bring Randolph -fresh off a one-year stint as the Brewers bench coach – to Baltimore.  A source close to the situation confirmed that Randolph is in contract talks with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, and cited Randolph’s work with young players like Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks and emphasis on development as key in Showalter’s decision.

Reached at his home on Sunday evening, Randolph declined to discuss specifically coming to Baltimore, but made it clear he wouldn’t view a coaching job anywhere with one eye elsewhere.

“In my case you are looking for an opportunity that fits,” he said. “And you give your heart and soul to that. But it’s not like I’m doing this just to manage. I have a passion for the game, and the young players. I love what I do. It’s not about using a situation to try to get ahead.”

Showalter has declined to comment on any portion of his staff until the process is complete, as has MacPhail. Particularly with the way things unraveled in contract talks with Juan Samuel -who left for Philadelphia – it’s important to note that while Randolph is a strong possibility, it is not official.

The O’s have agreed to terms with hitting coach Jim Presley, pitching coach Mark Connor, bullpen coach Rick Adair, first base coach Wayne Kirby and former Pirates skipper John Russell, although some details regarding Russell’s position depends on Showalter’s final hire.

Some coaching thoughts..

The Mets have hired Terry Collins as their next manager and multiple reports have speculated that Collins could bring in close friend Dave Wallace to serve as pitching coach, although Dan Warthen did an admirable job this season.  The Pirates are also closing in on naming a coaching staff for new manager Clint Hurdle, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, with four hires expected to be made official soon. 

So, it’s safe to say Rick Adair isn’t going off to greener pastures and will be the O’s bullpen coach for next season. Manager Buck Showalter is down to one final coaching spot, although it could be either third base or bench coach that gets filled depending on his last hire. Former Pirates skipper John Russell could serve either position and it stands to reason that he would be bench coach if Showalter promotes Bobby Dickerson –the O’s roving Minor League instructor turned interim Triple-A manager –to his big-league staff. The pair haven’t spoken formally about that, but Showalter knows Dickerson well from their days in the Yankees’ Minor Leagues.  If Dickerson isn’t named to Showalter’s staff, he will return to his role as roving instructor, assuming Gary Allenson heads back to manage Triple-A Norfolk.

It’s less clear what would happen if Showalter hires Rob Thomson –who has served as the Yankees third base and bench coach — or former Mets skipper Willie Randolph, who is fresh off a one-season stint as Brewers bench coach.

Those scenarios are still under discussion and Showalter has done a pretty good job of keeping his cards close to the vest. Thomson is well thought of in the Yankees organization and could be hard to lure away, while Randolph is a baseball lifer who would jump at the chance to join Showalter’s staff.  While some former managers would consider joining a staff only in terms of whether the situation would help them “get ahead” for another gig, Randolph has a passion for teaching and instruction and a friendship with Showalter that extends beyond baseball.

A final decision could come in the next few days, particularly now that the Mets and Pirates made headway in filling some vacancies on Sunday night.

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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.

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