I just got off the phone with Tony LaCava, who earlier today turned down the Orioles’ offer to become their president of baseball operations.
LaCava insisted that, in the end, he didn’t want to leave Toronto. And he understands that most people will think he’s crazy.
“I really enjoy my job in Toronto, and I have a GM that I work with (Alex Anthopoulos) who’s like a brother to me,” LaCava said. “We’re very, very close. We have a really good dynamic between us. I wasn’t looking to leave, I wasn’t looking for any other jobs. I’m content and happy and committed to what I do. Obviously, GM jobs are special and unique, and when one opened, I felt I had to explore it. And I have to tell you, I was impressed with the interview process. Louis Angelos and Mr. (Russell) Smouse and Mr. (Peter) Angelos and John (Angelos), and Buck (Showalter) was there for part of it. I enjoyed our baseball conversations. I thought they were good. And I think they have a really strong idea of what they want to do and I think they’re committed to doing the right stuff.
“I just really want to see it through in Toronto because I’ve put in nine years there and it’s a great dynamic. The GM and I are very close and it’s a really great place to work right now. This is what I wanted to do.”
LaCava said the chance to work with Showalter would have been a “big, big plus for me.”
“I do think he’s as good as there is in the game,” LaCava said. “I have all the faith in the world in him. You don’t have to worry about the clubhouse, the bullpen, whether guys are prepared. All of that is taken care of with Buck. Whoever gets the GM job will be lucky to have him as manager.”
I asked LaCava whether he had any concerns about interference from ownership in the daily operations of the ballclub. All I can do is ask and pass along his response. Here it is:
“I think he gets a bad rap on that,” LaCava said. “I didn’t sense that at all. I sense he’s a man who’s obviously very busy with his law firm and other things. There are places where the owner is a lot more involved than in Baltimore. I didn’t feel that at all and that’s the truth.”
In closing, LaCava said that the Orioles “attempted to do something good for me and my family. It was my personal decision.”
One final note before I close this GM discussion for the night and turn my attention to the Gold Glove Awards, and maybe my dinner: LaCava confirmed that he was given authority to bring in some of his own people. A source close to the situation said he could have hired seven guys.
As I wrote earlier, LaCava was told that he had to retain a portion of the current staff. This information comes from a variety of sources inside and outside of the organization. LaCava didn’t comment. But two sources close to the situation said it wasn’t a deal-breaker. He would have worked around it.
I’m just passing on what I’ve heard. That’s all I can do in this situation. And I’ve talked to, texted and e-mailed enough people to fill up Camden Yards.