Results tagged ‘ Buck Showalter ’

Baltimore Orioles: Does Buck Showalter have a place in baseball moving forward?

I maintain that the Baltimore Orioles made a mistake in not retaining now former manager Buck Showalter. But what’s done is done. Having said that, maybe I shouldn’t include that former title just yet. Showalter’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of the month. So technically he’s still the manager of the Orioles. But I digress.

When Buck first got here he non-ceremoniously announced that this would be his final managing job. It wasn’t a comment that received a lot of fanfare, but I remember him saying something to that effect. One has to wonder if he feels differently now.

Let’s say that he does feel differently. Let’s say that at 62, he wants to manage – next year. Where could he possibly go? I’ll start with the most obvious: the Anaheim Angels. That’s a team that could in theory be a contender now with the right leadership. Furthermore it’s a team that’s used to a veteran manager and a steady hand. Overall, Showalter would very nicely fill a vacuum there.

Minnesota is also looking for a new skipper, and while that’s a team that might need just a bit more building, it’s also a possible fit. The same is true but moreso (in the building part) in Texas. Showalter lives in Dallas, and is a former Texas manager. So that would be a homecoming of sorts.

Ultimately I think it matters what Buck himself wants to do. His credentials as a manager are well-known. If he wanted to manage now I think there would be no shortage of suitors. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he took a year off. Maybe re-evaluate things after next season. But I don’t see Buck going the way of other former Oriole managers and either becoming a scout or a perpetual assistant. If he wants to be a manager moving onward, he will be.

Baltimore Orioles: Is Buck Showalter part of a disturbing trend in MLB?

The Baltimore Orioles won’t begin the search for Buck Showalter‘s replacement until they have a new General Manager in place. That guy will then apparently have full autonomy in hiring a manager. However Showalter wasn’t retained after a season in which anything that could go wrong, did. Maybe that’s a reason to look elsewhere, but it’s also a trend in MLB.

A trend that I would argue has newly changed and for the worse. It’s only because of this season that Showalter has an overall losing record with the Orioles. But I think you have to look at the overall body of work. And the overall body of work says that Buck’s a winner.

Having said that, Minnesota let go of Paul Molitor, who was the 2017 Manager of the Year this past week. Took the team to the post season, was voted Manager of the Year, and the next year was let go. Molitor was THEIR GUY. He played for Minnesota way back when (and I was a big fan of his, for the record). Heck, even Joe Maddon in Chicago was talked about as potentially being let go after the Chicago Cubs exited after the wild card game. Tough crowd.

The worst thing that could have happened for managers across the league is that the likes of Aaron Boone had immediate success in New York. It’s one thing when you see someone like Cora in Boston having success, because Cora had paid his dues as an assistant coach in baseball. He finished his playing career, and worked his way up the coaching ranks.

Boone had literally NEVER coached a game in his life. Meaning at any level…ever. He finished his playing career and started in a media role. He was then hired as the manager of the New York Yankees. Now mind you, I’d put his baseball savoir faire as fairly high given his career and given his family name. But what does it say about the coaching industry when someone who’s never done it and didn’t really earn his way there by experience wins on day one?

What it says is that teams are going to be getting much more fickle when it comes to their coaches. Buck Showalter was hired at the tail end of 2010. The team performed brilliantly after that, finishing on two winning months. 2011 was another tough season, although they had a winning September. At the time, it appeared that the team was on the right track however – mainly because the name Buck Showalter had clout.

But given those same circumstances now, do we think there wouldn’t be Orioles fans asking if Buck was the right guy? Of course there would be. Because a guy who had never done it before was winning up the road in New York, and because in the absence of admitting that you’re in full rebuild mode (which the O’s are now), you aren’t given a license to lose.

That doesn’t mean you should have a license to lose per se. But sometimes you know it’s inevitable – such as the next couple of years for the O’s. Look to the NFL, where the same thing is prevalent. The great Jon Gruden went back to take the helm of the Oakland Raiders, and started 0-3. There were people wondering if that was the right choice.

Having high expectations isn’t a bad thing. But you have to be fair to people. When I look at Paul Molitor, I don’t think he was treated fairly. Two years removed from winning the franchise’s first world series in 108 years, would it have been fair to fire Joe Maddon? I’d say not.

Was Buck treated fairly? Tough to say; his contract was up and both parties’ obligations to one another had been fulfilled. However my point is that I feel it’s a disturbing trend in baseball to suggest that it’s okay to cut someone loose after a short time if they aren’t winning right away. Ultimately, you have to give people a chance. As Showalter himself would say, …these aren’t robots. We’re dealing with human beings here.

Baltimore Orioles: A new breeze blows

Yesterday was a ground-shaking day for the Baltimore Orioles. Buck Showalter is out, as is Dan Duquette. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the hiring of Andy MacPhail smack in the middle of the 2007 season. That set in motion the process by which Showalter and company came to Baltimore. Yesterday bookended that era.

For what it’s worth, Director of Player Development Brian Graham will handle the duties generally given to a GM in the immediate interim. However the Orioles also announced last night that they would be looking to fill these positions from outside the organization. That means that nobody who currently works in the front office or on whatever remains of Showalter’s coaching staff would be under consideration.

So in that sense I hope that Orioles fans will be patient. I would remind you that the first move should be to hire a GM. That GM will then look to hire a manager. MLB isn’t a fan of teams making moves like this during the post-season. So with that said if the Orioles don’t make an outward or public move during October, don’t fret. Furthermore, it’s possible that many of the potential managerial candidates may be coaches on the current staffs involved in the post-season.

However simply because a new breeze now blows in the Warehouse, doesn’t mean that fans should forget what Showalter and Duquette’s tenure meant for this team and this city. They’ll be remembered as winners, regardless of what their record states. Both men released statements yesterday very graciously thanking the Orioles and the fans for the opportunities that they were given.

And on that note let me throw one more thing out there – and I’m speaking specifically about the field manager now. Orioles fans should support whomever the new guy ends up being. It’s not his fault that in essence he isn’t Buck Showalter. You never want to be the guy to follow a legend, and whomever the new guy is will have that on his plate. Buck himself would expect no less than 100% support for the new regime.

There will be times moving forward where fans will look back longingly at the Showalter era in Baltimore. I’m no different than anyone else in that regard. I can’t think of a more professional manager, or one who cared more about his players or the fans and the city. He was at home in Baltimore from day one, and that was evident to everyone. To use a Buckism that I’ve heard more than once, “we’re just lucky that he passed our way.”

Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter will not be returning (updated, Duquette out as well)

The rumors about now former Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter can now be put to rest. Multiple team media sources have confirmed that Showalter will not be returning to the organization. His contract expires at the end of this month.

Showalter apparently met multiple times with John and Lou Angelos, as recently as this morning. There was also apparently talk of him accepting another position within the organization. But it wasn’t to be, which is presumably his choice. It’s unclear whether or not Showalter intends to manage again, return to a media role, or what he intends to do. All that’s clear now is that he’s out and the O’s will have a new man in the dugout next season.

There is one point I want to make, however. Regardless of anything, Buck Showalter isn’t being fired. There are multiple outlets (including ESPN) reporting that he’s being fired. Perhaps we’re talking semantics, but he isn’t being fired. His contract is up, and both parties have completed their obligations to one another. The endgame is the same in that he’s no longer going to be the manager. But to say he’s being fired is 100% inaccurate. More as it comes.

Update, 6PM: According to THE ATHLETIC’s Ken Rosenthal, Dan Duquette is expected to not be retained after his contract is up, along with Showalter. Interesting turn of events for someone who was previously thought to be safe. More as it comes!

Baltimore Orioles 2018: It all came crashing down

Opening Day dawned a bright one for Buck Showalter and his Baltimore Orioles. It was a beautiful day, and Oriole Park at Camden Yards was expected to be full. Come the end of the day, the team had done it’s part – with Adam Jones smacking a walk off homer in extra innings to start the season off right with an Opening Day win against Minnesota.

Fast-forward to the middle of July, and the Orioles were quickly looking to sell off the likes of Manny Machado and any other pieces for which they could get a positive return. That Opening Day win ended up being the highlight of the season. A season in which the Orioles hoped they would contend. But one in which everything came crashing to a halt at once.

They say that you can’t win a pennant in April, but you sure can lose one. I’m not sure when it became evident that the 2018 Orioles weren’t going to make it over the finish line. Admittedly I personally believed that the skill on the team would progress back to the players’ mean numbers. In the case of Adam Jones, they somewhat did. But then you have Chris Davis, who at .168, finished with the worst average in major league history.

With the exception of an early season series win in the Bronx, anything that could go wrong for the 2018 Orioles did go wrong. Again, I personally believed that it was nary impossible for the mental errors and overall bad luck of this team to continue. But I was wrong. The Orioles’ two big spring signings, pitchers Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb, started slow. Part of that was due to little to no time in spring training. Part of it was also due to the fact that when they (and numerous other starters) finally did have good outings, the bats were quiet.

If the Orioles weren’t swept in a series they would perhaps salvage a win in the final game. That seemed to be the pattern up until the end, and including the final series against Houston. So the O’s made the tough decision to be sellers at the trade deadline, trading the likes of Manny Machado and others. The O’s got 15 prospects back, and very much dedicated themselves to a full re-build.

And that’s perhaps the silver lining of this season, as the franchise was newly dedicated to the future. However the path to get to that point was difficult. And once they had re-tooled the roster a bit, it certainly didn’t get any easier. There was seemingly no mercy wherever the Orioles turned over the course of the season.

However the hope coming out of 2018 was the fact that if the organization plays its cards right, there could be sunnier days on the horizon. The Orioles appear firmly planted in attempting to build the team from the ground up, in the manner that Houston and the Chicago Cubs did. Can that be done successfully in the AL East? Beats the heck out of me.

Again, the highlight of the year was Adam Jones’ walk off homer on Opening Day. But it was Jones who also gave us an additional moment to remember on the season’s penultimate day. Many fans had looked forward to that day since perhaps April or May – as the misery would end. However the entire final weekend turned into a love fest between Adam Jones and the city of Baltimore (with Jones’ contract expiring and him appearing set on becoming a free agent). And perhaps…

…the fans themselves were reminded of why they loved this team so much. Win or lose, the Orioles are special. And that’s partly because the fans are special. While there was a lot of grousing (and justifiably so) from the fan base over the course of the summer, the scene this past Sunday at Camden Yards involving Adam Jones left Orioles fans wanting more. Begging for summer to extend even just one more day. That’s obviously not possible. However it shouldn’t go unsaid that when this team heads to Sarasota in February, hope will spring eternal.

Baltimore Orioles: Disjointed final weekend

The final weekend of Baltimore Orioles’ baseball for 2018 would have in theory kicked off last night, however the game was postphoned due to rain. And rain that wasn’t looking to let up at that. Even though this weekend’s opponent, the Houston Astros, have already clinched their division title, seedings for home field advantage are still on the line across baseball.

So last night’s game does in fact need to be played, and it will be – as part of a traditional doubleheader tomorrow. Game one begins at 4 PM, with game two starting approximately 20-30 minutes after the completion of the first game. It’s a single-admission event, so if you already had tickets for Saturday’s game you’ll get two for the price of one. If you had tickets for Thursday you could certainly exchange them for Saturday.

I can only imagine the Orioles’ view of having to play that game, and in the form of a doubleheader at that. But that’s how it works sometimes. You have no choice but to deal with it. Regardless of anyone’s record, it’s also somewhat fitting in a year that’s seen so many cancellations and postphonements due to weather across the league.

One thing of interest that did come from yesterday was Buck Showalter‘s comments about his contract situation. He outwardly isn’t worried about his situation, even with his contract ending at the end of next month (quote courtesy of Brit Ghiroli,

It won’t be difficult. In the whole scheme of life, it shouldn’t be. Shame on me if it is. Do you know how good they’ve been to me? I’m not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens.

Interesting perspective to say the least. His underlying point is that there’s more to life than just this job – or any job. And before Orioles’ fans call out ownership or management on anything, I would recommend they heed what Showalter said about how well he’s been treated. He has no incentive to say that aside from the fact that it’s probably how he truly feels.

So the series with Houston will open tonight at Camden Yards. David Hess gets the call for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Gerritt Cole. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Who’s the next manager if Buck Showalter is out?

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Did Buck Showalter tip his hand?

The Baltimore Orioles were unable to get it together again in Boston last night the way that they did in New York on Sunday afternoon. Dylan Bundy couldn’t keep Boston bats at bay, and they took advantage of the Orioles’ starter’s short outing. Bundy’s line: 3.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

Boston got back-to-back doubles in the second inning, culminated by Holt’s RBI-double to give them a 1-0 lead. Holt would later score on Vasquez’s RBI-single later in the inning. Even further into the inning brought Betts, an MVP candidate, to the plate, and his two-run homer gave Boston a 4-0 lead.

Buck Showalter said after the game that he felt Bundy never really got a fair shake on borderline pitches throughout his short outing (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

This is going to sound like excuses and everything and I’ve got it. A lot of people in our situation and rightfully so. There’s about six to seven pitches … The difference between a 3-1 count and a 2-2 count, I mean, 2-1, 1-2.

Dylan couldn’t catch a break with the borderline pitches. I’m going to be nice when I say borderline. It’s one of those things I’ve learned through the years, go back and take a look at yourself and you end up going, ‘I’d want that pitch,’ or, ‘I wouldn’t want that pitch.’ I thought it was kind of a little one-sided.

I felt that was a really interesting take from a manager. We’ve all heard the rumors about Showalter not returning next season. Coaches and players alike have to be careful when talking about umpires because the league will fine you at the drop of a dime if you’re overly critical. While Showalter did parse his words a bit there, it seemed like he went a bit further than he otherwise would have.

Boston would get RBI-singles by Benintendi and Bogaerts in the fourth to run the score to 6-0. But the Orioles’ bullpen also pitched a solid five innings to close the game, not allowing even a run. The O’s would also net two runs, with Tim Beckham scoring on a fifth inning wild pitch, and Adam Jones providing an eighth inning sac fly-RBI. But the Birds fell in game one at Fenway Park, 6-2.

Going back to Buck Showalter, I really was struck by that quote. Quite frankly I think he probably wanted to go much further than that at various times this season, but again had to keep quiet. Now maybe he’s letting it fly a bit more because he knows anything that comes down from the league can’t hurt him for the most part. That’s purely speculation on my part.

The series continues this evening, weather permitting (it’s supposed to rain all day in Boston). Jimmy Yacabonis gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s David Price. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Listless against Toronto

In a season where the Baltimore Orioles have struggled seemingly against everyone, it seems that’s been especially true against Toronto. And that’s been the case for a couple of years – really, since 2015 in a sense. The Birds defeated Toronto in September of 2014 to win the AL East, but since then it’s really been downhill.

And the ironic part is that it doesn’t seem to matter who the personnel is on each side. Both rosters have undergone massive changes since 2014. Yet the results seem to be the same. It’s a bit uncanny.

The Orioles turned to the Tampa and Oakland methodology last night in terms of starting pitching. Evan Phillips got the start, but in reality he was used as an “opener.” Phillips’ line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

Phillips gave up an RBI-single to Tellez in the second which gave Toronto a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning Jansen smacked a two-run home run, and suddenly it was 3-0. Toronto also got solo homers from Pillar in the seventh, and Diaz in the ninth to round out their 5-0 victory over the Orioles, who only mustered three hits on the night. The Orioles are 4-13 this year against Toronto, with two games left to go (tonight and Wednesday).

The Orioles used the “opener” concept last night most probably out of necessity given the number of injuries in their starting rotation. When Tampa started the concept of the opener earlier this year, I thought it was nuts. I still think it’s nuts – and that’s not going to change.

You might ask why I think it’s a crazy idea. You might sit there and say, why not? It’s a valid question. And one I intend to tackle in the off season a bit. But for now, needless to say it’s a little too against the grain, outside-the-box, and against tradition for the ultimate sport steeped in tradition.

With the loss, the Orioles tied a club record for losses in a season at 107. That’s not the type of history you want to make, and after the game Buck Showalter was asked to wrap his head around that fact (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I’ve got too many things and people depending on me to do certain things between now and the end of the season. I think because it’s unpleasant to wrap around, probably I’m as guilty as anybody of staying tunnel vision about what we’re doing every day trying to do what’s best. So, if that’s an answer to your question.

The series continues this evening at Camden Yards. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Status of Buck Showalter needs to be addressed

The white elephant in the room regarding the Baltimore Orioles is manager Buck Showalter. Or one of them, at least. Everyone knows he’s now in the final month of his contract. As tough as this season’s been, everyone also knows his track record in Baltimore and what he’s meant to the franchise.

I would argue that what he could mean for the franchise in the future should also be evident. If you’re asking whether or not I think Buck Showalter should be the manager moving forward, the answer is yes. Or at the very least I think it should be his job if he wants it. And obviously it goes without saying that my personal view is that the Orioles should offer him a legitimate contract that he would accept if in fact he wants to continue managing. Basically, the decision should be his.

And here’s another opinion of mine; I suspect that there are in fact negotiations going on behind the scenes. Because I do believe that if there weren’t, it would be announced that Buck wasn’t going to be back. However I do believe that something needs to be said, addressed, etc. on this. And soon.

The players on the roster right now do have a right to know in which direction the organization is looking to go. That goes without saying. I do feel that changes in some form are coming, whether that’s Showalter, Dan Duquette, both, or perhaps someone else.

However I also believe that some sort of announcement should be made for another reason…FOR THE FANSIf the organization wants to go in a different direction from Showalter, the fans are going to want to know. Not just for the sake of the direction of the organization, but for the immediate interim as well.

Buck Showalter’s meant a lot to this city since his arrival in 2010. He jumped right in as manager, and immediately engrossed himself in the organization and the city. He spent two weeks prior to being hired scouting the farm system to know what he had to work with. He immediately formed bonds with local charities, and began almost immediately in restoring pride to the organization. It was quite a spectacle…

…and a funny thing happened. They started winning. Not right away, but within two years. That all of course recently came to a crashing halt. However again if Buck’s not going to be back, I think that the Angelos family owes it to the fans to give them an opportunity to show their appreciation to Buck Showalter and his family. That means the possibility of a packed Camden Yards on the final weekend among other things.

Nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. We saw it when they closed Memorial Stadium, we saw it during the Ripken streak, and we saw it again for the 60th anniversary of the team coming here. Again if Showalter won’t be back, I suspect that the fans would like to see a similar display. However to be clear, my personal opinion is that he should be offered the chance to stay.

The Orioles travel to Tampa tonight to open up a three-game set. Dylan Bundy gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Blake Snell. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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