Three needs for the Orioles, and maybe one more job for Showalter

Former Orioles skipper Buck Showalter’s name is coming up for some of the various managerial openings around Major League Baseball. He’s been somewhat connected to the openings in San Diego and with the New York Mets. He could be a candidate if there is an opening soon in Philadelphia.

Showalter certainly did great things in Baltimore. Ironically, he left the Orioles with an overall losing record at 669-684 (.494). But a lot of that, of course, was due to the last-place finishes in 2017 and 2018 and the 115 losses of 2018.

Showalter is also a big reason - maybe the single biggest - that the Orioles ended 14 straight years of losing and returned to the playoffs in 2012. From 2012-2016, his Orioles teams - not the Yankees, Red Sox, or Astros - led the American League in wins and made three playoff appearances. Under Showalter, the Orioles won the AL East in 2014 and came within one step of the World Series.

But of the four times his teams finished in last place in 17 full seasons, that happened three times in Baltimore. He was considered old-school and not very reliant on analytics or advanced statistics. He seemed to want to be involved with every decision, even the smallest detail that had little or no bearing on a win or loss. His reputation was that he was good enough to get a team to win and near the top, but something would derail the train before it reached the top. That seemed to play out in Baltimore too.

It’s my opinion that he lost the clubhouse - along with some staff and fans too - when he didn’t use Zack Britton in the 2016 AL wild card game. From there it was a long, slow fall to the bottom of the majors. It was a crash-and-burn scenario that led to a front office and dugout makeover after the 2018 season.

Does all this tarnish Showalter’s otherwise pretty solid record? Does it hurt that he is considered old school and clashed with then general manager Dan Duquette? Will he emerge with another managing job somewhere? If he does, how will O’s fans feel about that?

Jonathan-Villar-Fielding-Black-Sidebar.jpgWhat do the O’s need?: published its “Three Needs” article on the Orioles. It’s a look at what non-contending teams may look to do before the 2020 season. For the Orioles, the needs are -

* Go Wild On Pitching
* Market The Middle Infielders
* Extend Or Trade Trey Mancini

The Orioles are not really going to go wild on pitching, but sure, some rotation upgrades would be nice. But, as I have written before, this article points out that “It’d obviously be foolish for the team to go splashing cash on veteran free agents, and attracting the most appealing buy-low candidates will be tough given the difficulties of pitching against AL East sluggers in Camden Yards.”

So yeah, get pitching. But where that truly fits the situation and doesn’t take a multi-year deal? That is the problem.

Trade Jonathan Villar and/or Hanser Alberto? The O’s should be open to that but not expect bountiful offers, which might just lead them back to the Baltimore. Trade or sign Mancini? That is oft-debated among fans here.

Here is that story. What say you about the three needs?

Back to Buck for a second, it seems Manny Machado would not mind a reunion with Buck.

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