If you’ve shifted to the edge of your seat waiting for the Orioles to announce a hiring, sit back and try to relax for at least a few more days.
Nothing is imminent. Nothing is likely to happen this week as the GM meetings run their course.
The interview process hasn’t reached its conclusion, which allows more time for fans to become confused over the reports that keep surfacing. All I can do in the meantime is try to provide at least a modicum of clarity while operating largely in the dark.
The Orioles aren’t commenting on any of the candidates, aren’t confirming or issuing denials. They don’t see any benefit to transparency. They’re attempting to keep a tight lid on the process and have done a remarkable job considering how very little remains private in the age of social media.
Any sources who are cited don’t know everything that’s happening and are operating largely on speculation and assumptions beyond some exact details. Only a few people in the organization are privy to what’s happening behind closed doors, with John and Louis Angelos handling the interviews. And they keep going off-campus to do it.
Candidates aren’t being paraded down the hallways at the warehouse. Otherwise, I’d be on stakeout so long that Eddie Murphy would send over a shrimp salad sandwich.
(My apologies if you don’t get the movie reference.)
Much of the confusion out there stems from reports of the Orioles interviewing for the position of general manager or that specific names are attached to the GM opening. What I do know is that the plan still calls for the Orioles to hire someone to lead baseball operations, likely with the title of president, who in turn will choose a general manager and field manager. So, whenever you read that so-and-so interviewed or is one of the favorites to become GM, perhaps the author of the tweet meant president.
I can only go on this assumption because a president hasn’t been selected and therefore it seems unlikely that GMs would be under discussion. The only way it makes sense is if finalists for president have the same GM preferences and the Angeloses are trying to get a head start.
But again, there’s a specific order here, and president and GM aren’t interchangeable. It’s two positions.
I feel like I’m in a strange hotel room at 3 a.m. and I’m trying to find the bathroom without turning on a light. Except using the illuminated screen on my iPhone isn’t helping me locate everything that I want and need to know about the interviews.
Too many people are assuming that the Orioles will replace executive vice president Dan Duquette and keep the previous front office structure intact, other than changing some of the names. This is incorrect. Two hires, plus a manager, coaches and a bunch of new scouts.
We’ll find out later how many assistants and advisors will be replaced. Duquette didn’t travel light.
There’s no doubt that the top hire will come from outside the organization. It’s one of the few things confirmed by the club, and I haven’t heard anything to contradict it.
Director of player development Brian Graham is handling Duquette’s tasks on an interim basis and he’s taking care of business, as evidenced by all of the roster moves and decisions related to expiring contracts in various departments. He’s the offseason MVE (Most Valuable Executive).
Is Graham a candidate for the GM job? Oh, for crying out loud. It’s up to the unknown president.
(Sorry, I’ve now moved into the phase where I bait myself into becoming frustrated.)
Graham and director of baseball operations Tripp Norton are representing the Orioles at the GM meetings. The Angelos brothers didn’t make the trip to Carlsbad, Calif.
The executives hold these meetings to discuss possible rules changes and the prospects of gaining approval from the players union on them, and to initiate talks among teams and with agents. It’s rare for deals to be consummated prior to the Winter Meetings, to be held this year in Las Vegas, but it’s happened in the past.
Last year, the Athletics traded infielder Ryon Healy to the Mariners for reliever Emilio Pagan and minor league infielder Alexander Campos. The Braves traded shortstop Adrelton Simmons to the Angels at the 2015 GM meetings for shortstop Erick Aybar and starter Sean Newcomb. A day later, the Red Sox acquired closer Craig Kimbrel from the Padres for four players.
Jeremy Hellickson, who later pitched for the Orioles, was traded by the Diamondbacks to the Phillies the following day for minor league pitcher Sam McWilliams.
Hellickson has twice been traded on Nov. 14.
Meanwhile, changes on the international side of the organization won’t affect former Orioles pitcher Calvin Maduro, who received a new contract and will continue to serve as a scout.
Joel Bradley, assigned to evaluate talent in Latin America, Central America, Asia and the Caribbean, won’t return next season. He was one of the scouts hired in 2012 by Fred Ferreira, formerly the director of international recruiting, who was let go last winter.
Maduro and Bradley were the only international scouts based in the United States. Maduro lives in Maryland and Bradley in Florida.
AFL update: Ryan McKenna, playing right field yesterday for the Glendale Desert Dogs, doubled, walked and scored a run. McKenna is batting .370 and has six doubles.
Left-hander Chris Lee worked five innings again in Monday’s start and allowed two runs and six hits with one walk and no strikeouts. He’s carrying a 2.60 ERA and the Orioles must consider whether to put him back in a minor league rotation next spring.