Baltimore Orioles: Is it time for a change in the dugout?

Buck Showalter‘s contract with the Baltimore Orioles is up after this season. GM Dan Duquette’s is as well, but that’s another story for another day. With tonight’s 2-1 loss to Cleveland, the Birds are now 6-17. So…should the O’s make a change in the dugout following this season? Or perhaps even now?

I’m getting asked that more and more as someone who covers the team. And I’m seeing people more and more talking about it on media such as Twitter. So obviously it’s on the minds of the fans. And I suppose that the record indicates that has to be the case. More on that later.

Kevin Gausman put forth a winning effort in tonight’s game. Gausman’s line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K. With this outing, Gausman went deeper than any other Oriole starter this season. I wouldn’t even say that he made one bad pitch. Granted Alonso’s two-run homer in the second stood up for Cleveland in terms of winning the game, that was simply a slider that was muscled out of the park.

The Birds would cut that lead in half in the bottom of that second inning on Chance Sisco‘s RBI-single. But that was all they could muster. And those two runs were all Cleveland could muster. Which is why this was another opportunity lost for the Orioles, who are direly trying to right the ship.

And some would say they’re trying too hard. Which is why again some people are tossing around the idea of a managerial change being a good idea. However to that point, I would submit that you can’t tell players to “try less.” Are guys pushing? Yes. But that’s a good thing, because you know how direly guys want to win.

Showalter came to Baltimore in August of 2010 on the heels of a start that was much worse than this one. It was also a team that wasn’t anywhere near as talented as this team is – that came later. And he had an almost immediate impact in terms of professionalism, as well as wins and losses.

Buck Showalter’s a professional manager who’s done nothing but baseball for his entire life. And I won’t lie, I think that letting go of a manager of his caliber would be the worst move that a team could make. How many truly great managers are there in baseball?

The obvious rebuttal if you’re on the other side of the discussion is how many managers are there with better records than Buck? And maybe that’s a valid point. However what’s not a valid point is what people think happens after a manager is let go. You have to have someone better to replace that guy if you’re going to make a change…makes sense, right?

So…with whom do you replace a guy who could be a borderline Hall of Fame manager if he won a World Series? People love to tell me that they should go young and hire this guy or that guy. And the thing that most of these options have in common is that they’ve never managed before. Heck, some of the ideas I’ve heard were guys who have never coached.

So does it really make sense to take the keys away from a steady hand, and hand them to a kid who’s never driven before? The answer to that question is an obvious and emphatic NO. So what’s the alternative? Stay the course.

Tim Beckham exited tonight’s game in the eighth inning and appeared to be in discomfort. Buck Showalter said after the game that it they’re concerned about Beckham’s achilles and groin. He had achilles problems during spring training. How long he’s out of the lineup if at all remains to be seen.

The Orioles will now move onto a fairly winnable series as Tampa comes to town – a series that they would do well to sweep if possible. Alex Cobb gets the start for the Orioles against his former team, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Faria. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

6 Comments

Out of curiosity, what would be an acceptable moment for you to consider a manager change in season as the right move?

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When the manager’s lost the clubhouse. Buck’s been with many of these guys for a long time. If you look at Sam Perlozzo and Dave Trembley as examples, they both lost the clubhouse at a certain point. Buck’s a guy who had immediate “street cred” when he came into the clubhouse due to his experiences in the past. And I can tell you that nothing’s changed in that regard.

But even with the likes of Perlozzo and Trembley, there has to be a plan if you’re going to get rid of the manager. When they fired Sam Perlozzo I don’t think they really had a plan. I think they just fired him for the sake of firing him. When they fired Trembley they elevated Juan Samuel as the interim manager. That’s noteworthy because “interim” indicates that it’s temporary. So I suspect that the plan was to get Buck or Bobby Valentine (who was also available) in as soon as they could. Thanks for reading!

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If things aren’t going well teams should always be thinking about making a change. The reds did it, not sure why we can’t.

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Richard, I wish it were that easy. In this case, Showalter’s a good manager. He always has been. You don’t cease to be good at your job. Managing a baseball team is all about strategizing and out-thinking your opponent. Now granted you also have to have the players produce on your behalf, and that’s what’s failing them now.

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Jace Peterson is hardly going to solve anything.

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Actually it’s a good move. In the interim it gives them depth, and New York is paying his salary. If at some point they can’t use him any longer and they need to cut/DFA him, New York will still be paying his salary. So for now he’s needed but if in the future there’s no spot for him (very possible) they can just DFA him and it’s no sweat off anyone’s back. Thanks for reading!

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