We already know that the Orioles will undergo significant changes beyond their roster after moving away from executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter. There will be ripple effects, the only question how far-reaching.
The press release noted how vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, director of player development Brian Graham and director of scouting Gary Rajsich are “currently” under contract, and the wording jumped off the page and rolled under the sofa.
It’s accurate, of course. They are under contract and the point of the paragraph was to explain how Graham would handle on an interim basis the day-to-day duties that used to be Duquette’s responsibility. But there are plenty of people trying to read between the lines, especially regarding Anderson.
A manager is ejected and the bench coach takes over in the dugout. Duquette isn’t retained and logic says that his top assistant becomes the interim choice. However, Graham was interim general manager in Pittsburgh and qualified to handle the warehouse responsibilities. Anderson was part of the contingent that flew to Miami for the showcase for brothers Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. He’s immersed in the operation.
No one knows whether everyone returns next season. The new hire will have final say. As the release stated, “this individual will have the final determination on all baseball matters that he or she believes will make the Orioles successful on the field, entertaining to fans, and impactful in the community.”
I’m wondering if more former Orioles will come back to the organization. Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray have been hired as special advisors, with heavy emphasis on promoting the product and having a presence in the community and Sarasota.
Do a new manager and coaching staff offer an opportunity for Rick Dempsey to again work with the catchers in spring training? For Al Bumbry to offer center field and basestealing instruction to Cedric Mullins? Without stepping on any toes, of course.
These are just two examples.
I’ve always heard how the Orioles wanted Cal Ripken Jr. to visit in spring training, just as Earl Weaver did a few times, but I never saw him there except when he was promoting a book.
Let baseball’s Iron Man speak to this new generation of players. Pick a topic.
(This is a good point in the blog entry to say again that Ripken isn’t interested in managing, and it shouldn’t be treated as breaking news. However, he’s intrigued with the idea of running a team, and if the Orioles reached out to him ...)
I’d invite Tippy Martinez to work on pickoffs, with Lenn Sakata behind the plate for effect.
I’d invite Jesse Orosco to offer advice on how to pitch into your 60s - while your fastball is in the 60s.
I’d invite John Lowenstein to demonstrate the best ways to show a crowd that an injury isn’t serious.
I’d invite Gary Roenicke to replace him.
Anderson, senior advisor Joe McIlvaine, special assignment scout John Stockstill and scouts Dean Albany and Calvin Maduro attended the workout at Marlins Park.
I’ve been asked whether the departures of Duquette and Showalter have an impact on the club’s pursuit of the Mesa brothers. Not at all.
This is driven by ownership. The Orioles aren’t backing off.
* I’ve seen a few comments regarding the Orioles’ use of “he or she” when discussing the new executive, as if it’s taking political correctness to a silly level.
If former Dodgers executive Kim Ng, the senior vice president for baseball operations with Major League Baseball, is a candidate to replace Duquette, the Orioles absolutely should make the distinction. Otherwise, it comes across as limiting the field.
In a related story, I thing Ng absolutely needs to be considered.
* Which coach on the current staff would make the best manager?
Bobby Dickerson was the choice of one coach who mentioned it without prompting. The subject darted in another direction and he named Dickerson.
(I wasn’t talking to Dickerson at the time.)
Dickerson already brings the reputation as one of the game’s best infield instructors. He’s managed in the minors, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
* Two reasons why I’d interview Triple-A manager Ron Johnson for the Orioles job if I could compile the list:
He’s qualified, respected and has major league coaching experience with the Red Sox, if that matters.
It’s a nice reminder for people like Johnson that they’re not forgotten or overlooked while toiling in Triple-A.
Which brings us back to how we have no idea whether the new executive will want to consider Johnson or anyone else in the system.
The Orioles are fortunate to have quality managers in the system, including Double-A Bowie’s Gary Kendall, Single-A Frederick’s Ryan Minor and the Gulf Coast League’s Carlos Tosca.
* The Washington Capitals bring the Stanley Cup to Camden Yards yesterday? When the season is over and the media is gone?
There go my dreams of posing with Lord Stanley, taking it upstairs to the press dining lounge, filling it with ice cream and seeing how many sprinkles it can hold. Spoons for everyone.
Dreams die hard.