Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter to Philadelphia?

It goes without saying that the Baltimore Orioles are lucky to have Buck Showalter at the helm. People can debate whether his moves are good or not, but the fact is that he’s the best manager the O’s have had since the mid-1990’s. If there’s a better candidate out there, I’d be interested to see him. Showalter is under contract as the Orioles’ manager through the end of next season.

So you can imagine my surprise when over the weekend NBC Sports Philadelphia (formerly Comcast Sportsnet) named Showalter as one of the ten potential candidates who could fill the managerial vacancy in that city. I suppose I understand the interest given that former Orioles’ GM Andy MacPhail is the current boss in Philadelphia.  But…they do realize that Showalter is under contract, don’t they?!

Teams being interested in another team’s current manager is nothing new. Farrell up in Boston was in essence traded from Toronto when the BoSox came calling. But that was different in a sense, as Farrell never really clicked in Toronto; basically they didn’t really want him any longer. Boston did want him. So they made a deal.

My understanding is that the Orioles still very much want Showalter as their manager. And for good reason at that. Now with that said, I don’t think that his name appeared in that article out of the blue. There’s a very real possibility that the Philadelphia Phillies might not only want Showalter, but have an idea of how they could get him from the Orioles.

Obviously Showalter and MacPhail are familiar with one another, as I said above. Furthermore there’s also apparent tension at times between Showalter and Dan Duquette in the front office. However that’s not necessarily a bad thing per se. GM’s and managers often don’t see eye-to-eye. At the very least, both Showalter and Duquette respect what one another means to the organization.

If Philadelphia really wants Buck, obviously they could wait a year and then in essence he’d be a “free agent” (absent an extension). However they need a manager now, and odds are someone isn’t going to be willing to sign a one-year contract to manage. A few years ago as you’ll remember Toronto wanted Dan Duquette, and at the end of the day after squabbling back and forth the Orioles were willing to part with him – for a price.

But keep in mind that the two situations aren’t the same. While Duquette would have in essence had a better job in Toronto, the Blue Jays also went out of their way to go about getting him the wrong way. They did their negotiating through the media, and all but announced that they wanted Duquette as executives were flying in for the annual winter meetings. Kind of a bush league move. And that’s why the Orioles and Peter Angelos wanted a king’s ransom in return for Duquette. A request that Toronto denied, hence Duquette still being in Baltimore.

But this is totally different. Obviously this wasn’t a bombshell dropped by the Phillies’ organization, it’s just a news story. However if they were really interested in Showalter, it goes without saying that he would come at a price. If I’m the Orioles, I only consider this if I have the opportunity to literally gut Philadelphia’s farm system. And I don’t say that figuratively…

…I mean it literally. The Orioles would need to get top prospects in return, preferably pitching prospects. Pitching prospects who are a heart beat away from the big leagues at that. If Philadelphia isn’t willing to pony up, the Orioles shouldn’t even listen.

At the end of the day, this isn’t happening folks. Buck Showalter’s the best thing to happen to the Orioles in years. They aren’t just going to give him away (unless it’s an offer they can’t refuse). Plus, Buck loves Baltimore. He’s made that clear with his comments and his actions. He’s also said that the Orioles would be his last managerial stop. Now granted things can change, however he’s said that numerous times.

I wouldn’t expect this to be a major storyline this off season. I could always be wrong, but my money’s on Buck managing at Camden Yards on Opening Day, 2018.

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