One thing we know for sure: the Baltimore Orioles will have a manager next year. Reports say that it won’t be Buck Showalter, although nobody knows for certain as of yet. I’m on record as saying that I think Buck should be at least offered a contract to manage next year – if he wants the opportunity. And even if the next guy far surpasses Showalter’s accomplishments in Baltimore, that’s a stance I’ll take to my grave.
But let’s assume for just a moment that Showalter in fact isn’t the manager next year. Who is? Speaking for myself, the three candidates that make the most sense are former St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, former New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi, and former Boston manager John Farrell. At least two of those names are going to make Orioles’ fans uneasy. (And Girardi’s turned down an opportunity to manage the Orioles in the past.) But the fact is that all three are accomplished managers and are available.
Notice however that I said the candidates that make the most sense. I didn’t say that those were the best candidates. In general, I like coaches and managers who have done the job before at a high level. I get it that at some point someone has to take a risk on a guy in terms of elevating him to the top spot. I’ve just never wanted to be the person to roll the dice. I’d rather know what I’m getting in someone who’s proven he can do the job at this level.
But I really think that would be the wrong approach for this team – and I don’t say that lightly. A full rebuild is no joke, and it’s not for the faint of heart. The Orioles might really want to consider finding a young manager in the form of someone’s bench coach or a base coach so as to help bring these young Birds along. And here’s the other thing; whomever the manager is (presuming it’s not Showalter) might not be here long. By that, I almost mean he could be a placeholder.
Most guys would jump at a shot to manage a big league team. So if a Sandy Alomar Jr. (currently Cleveland’s first base coach) or if a Kevin Long (currently Washington’s bench coach) were offered a two or three-year deal to manage the Orioles, they might consider taking it. (And incidentally the Alomar family already has some ties to Baltimore.) It would come across as perhaps a provisional type of move. However it would give Dan Duquette and the Angelos brothers a chance to see what they have both in players and in a manager
Obviously if the organization is going in the right direction on the field towards the end of that contract, they would consider extending the manager. Again, in general I like experienced managers – such as Buck Showalter, who again I maintain should be the manager next year in my view. But the Farrell’s and Girardi’s of the world are going to want a big contract both financially and tenure-wise. If after two or three years the rebuild isn’t going as smoothly as the Orioles would have liked, they would either have to eat the remainder of the contract or continue plugging along at that pace.
With last night’s rain out, the O’s will play a split doubleheader today at Boston’s Fenway Park. Ryan Meisinger gets the start for the Orioles in the first game, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s David Price. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.