Baltimore Orioles: Only half a season to establish themselves?
The Baltimore Orioles go into 2018 with both manager Buck Showalter and General Manager Dan Duquette in the final year of their contracts. Both men signed extensions following the historic 2012 season. Those extensions both expire after next season.
It goes without saying that one would assume that the organization is feeling both Showalter and Duquette out to see what they’re thinking in terms of whether or not they would want a new contract. Of the two, I suspect that Showalter is the most likely to return. But you never know. He also might pop into Duquette’s spot if Duquette isn’t interested in returning. There are a lot of variables.
And yes, that could affect how the 2018 season plays out. If it appears that Showalter specifically is not likely to return to the dugout, the current team might only get a half year look-see. If at the trade deadline they’re struggling and appear to be out of the playoff race, I would expect the O’s to sell en masse.
The idea being that you’re going to have a major change at the top come 2019, and in bringing in a new manager you might as well have a whole slew of new players. And young players at that. Of late, the trend in MLB is that younger managers are getting the nod over proven talent. I’m not saying that I agree with that, because I don’t. But that’s where the industry is going.
So would the Orioles bring in a young manager to succeed Showalter if in fact this ended up being his last year in the dugout? Again, I’m not one to go with unproven talent anywhere. In anything, I always prefer the strong arm of experience as opposed to someone who’s never done the job. All I can say is that the trend has been to hire younger managers. And that’s happened several times this off season, while it appears that names like Girardi and Farrell will be sitting out the 2018 season.
At the end of the day, it’s really up to this team how long they’re together. If they have a great first half of the season and are right in the thick of the playoff chase, what I wrote above will be totally irrelevant. And that’s what most people in the organization would prefer. But if the perfect storm of Showalter not returning and things not going well early happens to occur, it wouldn’t surprise me if they sell off and go young.
Incidentally, my prediction is that Buck Showalter signs a two-year contract extension. After that time is up, again my prediction is that he either retires from baseball or heads up to the front office. As for Dan Duquette, it wouldn’t surprise me if he leaves the organization after his contract is up. But nobody knows anything for sure in either case.