Let me start by saying I don’t know if John Stockstill would be a good general manager or not for the Orioles. But I do know he has a strong resume in the game in a variety of roles and is well respected by a lot of people.
Some of the comments I have read and reaction to this are just over the top. It is one man, with a solid resume in the game, getting a chance to interview for a top position.
No Orioles fan needs to begin rooting for another team, no fan needs to move out of town and no one needs to walk out on any ledges this morning and look down and think about it. Some perspective, people.
Let me repeat something here: Because the team has lost for 14 years in a row doesn’t make everything it does and everyone it employs bad.
I think some of the criticism Stockstill has gotten this year and some of the angst I have read in fan comments about his getting a chance to interview is just not fair.
His resume in the game can stand up to those of Jerry Dipoto, Tony LaCava and De Jon Watson. But since he works for the Orioles, many fans seem to conclude he must be less than competent.
Sure, for a while, he headed up the Orioles’ international operations and the Orioles have not produced much on the international level. But that is more due to the club’s unwillingness to put resources and dollars into this department for scouts and signings than due to anyone who headed the department.
For the last two years, he headed up player development and the minors. The minors have not produced a lot of talent in those two years. But in assessing any club’s minor league performance in the 2011 season, you may have to go back two, three, four or more years and look at their drafts and other factors to completely size up the situation.
I have talked to Stockstill many times since he moved into his most recent O’s position. He has been very helpful to me in my coverage of the minor leagues.
I do think Stockstill has been involved in plenty of decisions that have helped the Orioles, from the Koji Uehara signing and opening the door to Japan to bringing Mike Bordick onto the minor league staff.
He was very involved in the decsion to have Jonathan Schoop move to second base this year and play alongside Manny Machado. He kept the pair together at Single-A Delmarva and Single-A Frederick and both came up big late in the year in leading Frederick to a Carolina League championship.
He was one of the key people that encouraged Zach Britton to throw his changeup more at Double-A and Triple-A, a pitch he must have command of and success with to have major league success.
These are just small examples and I am sure there are many others that Stockstill has at least had a hand in. No, they didn’t make the O’s go from worst to first, but they all have helped the Orioles.
He used this past season in the minor leagues to “let some players play.” Some played well and some did not. He turned loose some young players this year at short-season Single-A Aberdeen - like Mychal Givens, Connor Narron and Wynston Sawyer - to see if some of these top 10 draft picks would sink or swim. Aberdeen had a terrible year record-wise, but the club learned more about some of those players, even if it what it found out was not positive news.
He decided to move LJ Hoes to the outfield and off of second base most of this year at Double-A Bowie and Hoes, with the pressure to get better defensively at second removed, responed by batting .305 for the Baysox.
None of this means he is the man to lead the Orioles out of 14 years of losing. But I think there is no downside to his getting a chance to be heard by Buck and Peter Angelos. He has been here long enough to have some serious opinions as to what needs to be fixed.
Even though he has been in prominent roles in the front office, he has never been the one guy calling the shots.
He gets his shot today and we’ll see how he stacks up against the rest of the field.
Finally today, if you’d like to leave a comment about what had to be one of the greatest games in baseball history last night, feel free. I thought Joe Buck’s call of “We’ll see you tomorrow night,” was just perfect. He dad said it in Minnesota 20 years ago and it fit and was apporpriate.
This amazing baseball postseason has reached its final day.