Thoughts on the idea that the Phillies could 'target' Showalter as their next manager - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Thoughts on the idea that the Phillies could ‘target’ Showalter as their next manager

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Shortly after news broke that the Philadelphia Phillies were shifting manager Pete Mackanin from the dugout to the front office, speculation began as to whom the Phillies might select as their next manager.

Philly.com, at the end of its initial piece about Mackanin’s firing, threw a little fuel onto a southbound Interstate 95 fire, suggesting the Phillies could “target” Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Later, in this piece, it lists Showalter as one of six possible candidates for the Phillies’ job.

The connection of dots makes sense in that Showalter has worked with – and has a mutual respect for — Phillies president Andy MacPhail and general manager Matt Klentak.

MacPhail hired Showalter in 2010 in Baltimore and Klentak worked closely with Showalter in 2010 and 2011 as MacPhail’s right-hand man.

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Showalter also has an excellent relationship with Phillies’ assistant general manager Ned Rice, who, from 2012 through 2015, essentially assumed many of the duties Klentak had with the Orioles. And Showalter has always talked fondly of Joe Jordan, the former Orioles’ scouting director who is now Philadelphia’s farm director.

Showalter has been with the Orioles for eight seasons (seven full), and that’s by far the longest of his four managerial stops. And the Phillies, as an organization, appear to be heading upward after some awful seasons while the Orioles are careening into a crossroads that, potentially, could sweep them back into a major rebuilding project.

So, it’s a natural leap for speculation: Showalter as a fit for the Phillies.

Except for this: Showalter is under contract with the Orioles through 2018. And I’d be shocked if Orioles’ ownership would let him out of that commitment – especially for a lateral move – if that, indeed, were Showalter’s desire.

We’ve seen this movie before with executive vice president Dan Duquette and his pursuit of the Toronto Blue Jays’ president position, which would have been a promotion since that post oversees all management operations and Duquette’s Orioles’ position is solely baseball operations.

Managing Partner Peter G. Angelos was absolutely clear in his take at that time: Duquette is under contract and I expect him to honor that. As time went on, he softened, but only if the Blue Jays were willing to surrender a few top prospects.

And that was for Duquette, who seemingly has a good relationship with Angelos, but not to the same degree as Showalter does.

In the philly.com piece, it’s suggested that Showalter could vault to the top of the Phillies’ wish list, “if he — somehow — is fired.” Well, it’s inconceivable that Showalter gets canned this winter. And though he could quit on his own, he’d still be tied to the Orioles’ deal for a year.

Around here, the never-ending rumor, of course, isn’t Showalter leaving Baltimore, but ultimately kicking up to the front office with Duquette eventually departing. It’s solely backroom talk, conjecture; it’s also not unfathomable. Managing 162 games takes its toll, and Showalter, 61, has administrative experience from his days helping to build the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks.

In being around this organization for a long time, I’m quite aware that anything can happen. Be ready for the unexpected.

But Duquette or Showalter getting fired this winter also goes against Angelos’ stringent adherence to the sanctity of contracts. Angelos doesn’t like to can executives – he prefers to part company when their contracts expire. (There have been exceptions over the years, but even in the Davey Johnson saga in 1997, Angelos was fully prepared to let the skipper’s contract run its course, but he wasn’t going to be forced into giving an extension.)

Not to mention, despite a disappointing 2017 and growing fan backlash, Duquette’s track record in Baltimore (three playoff appearances in six seasons) is pretty solid.

Again, I never say never. But I’d be highly surprised if Duquette wasn’t allowed to at least fulfill his contract, which expires in 2018.

And I’d be even more surprised — floored, really — if Showalter was in Philadelphia in 2018.

First, I’ve always thought if Showalter left the Orioles’ organization, he’d end up with another former boss, John Hart, now in Atlanta.

But if Showalter is anywhere else in 2018 it would go against everything he has said while in Baltimore. One thing Showalter has consistently railed on while here is the idea of looking for another job when you already have one. He abhors the concept, and has shared that sentiment multiple times. When he hires for his staff, he makes sure that the candidates are fully committed to the work at hand and not entertaining the idea of a better job a year or so down the road.

So, it sure would seem hypocritical if Showalter bolted with a year remaining on his contract – even if he had the OK from ownership. I just don’t see that being his style.

Now, how much longer will Showalter be the Orioles manager? I don’t know.

Will he end up in a front office role in Baltimore after his contract expires next year? Maybe.

Would the Phillies be interested if Showalter were available, no strings attached? Absolutely.

But does Showalter pack up and leave Baltimore before the 2018 season begins?

Again, I’ll never say absolutely not when it comes to the Orioles, but I just don’t see that happening – for a variety of reasons.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. mlbbirdfan

    September 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Is Angelos making all the decisions? How is his health? Good points and probably a safe bet, Buck stays. He did seem to lose interest this season, compared other seasons. Or, perhaps more appropriately, he made some very odd decisions.

    • Mau

      September 30, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Keep Buck if he still wants to manage. Send Duquette on the redeye to Toronto. When looking at the entire picture of the O’s organization I cannot comprehend how you still can support DD’s job in Baltimore. Ultimately the Angelos family is responsible for the shape of the organization but DD has assured the O’s of having a disastrous starting pitching staff for the foreseeable future and has Crushed a hole in the lineup that will continue to pile up K’s and BB’s.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      To both: Angelos doesn’t make all the decisions but he has veto power. Showalter doesn’t lose interest. Trust me on that. As far as Duquette, this is his second full losing season in his entire career. That’s not an accident or coincidence.

      • Mau

        October 1, 2017 at 3:23 pm

        Without Buck, DD would have more than 2. He has scuttled the most important aspect of any baseball organization, its pitching. He’s allowed the league to harvest our young pitchers, never acquired an ace, applied cheap, off-brand bandaids as SP’s and burned out a top-flight bullpen, and Buck, in the process. What’s to like?

  2. GSISDANNO

    September 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Buck isn’t a Philly guy. Won’t happen. I would not object if Duquette departed. He seems clueless as how to build a pitching staff. The Orioles have given away a lot of talent in the past with very little to show in return. Acquiring Wade Miley and Jeremy Hellickson were not impact moves. To paraphrase a Jim Palmer comment that he said about Earl Weaver, “the only thing he knows about pitching is that he couldn’t hit it.”

    • Jbiglen48

      September 30, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      I strongly disagree with how we’ve given so much talent for little in return. Ariel Miranda for wade Miley was not a bad deal. Wade Miley hasn’t worked out but he was an innings eater in Arizona and Boston. The hope was he’d eat innings here and sure up the back of the rotation. Ariel Miranda isn’t a major league quality starter, we lost nothing there. We dealt EROD but we also got Andrew miller back in that deal and he was a key piece for us. The Zach Davies for Gerardo parra deal made no sense at the time, and it has just gotten worse. Davies has been a better pitcher than most people thought but that deal shouldn’t have been made in the first place. Parker bridwell has been pretty good so far. But I’m very skeptical on how long that will last. If you look at his advanced stats FIP sees a fairly large regression coming, so I’d take a wait and see approach on him.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      I’m with JB mainly here. Although I didn’t think the Parra deal would be so bad because I didn’t think Davies would be much. A No. 5 guy maybe. Like the organization I thought he was Tyler Wilson 2.0. But to his credit he has been so much more.

  3. garyintheloo

    September 30, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Let’s be honest. This is already a rebuilding year ahead. You are looking to replace at least three starting pitchers, improve the overall defense, develop a more flexible offense and prop up a bullpen that is looking burnt out with dips from Britton, O’Day, Givens, Castro, etc. On top of that you are running into expiring contracts from core players. Let’s not fool ourselves as in July or August and get off the pot.

    • 54orioles

      September 30, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Bullpen is burnt out because of the so called starting rotation.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2017 at 9:43 pm

      I just don’t see them rebuilding. But I suppose I could be wrong.

  4. pedro

    September 30, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I disagree with all the DD bashing. This guy has built winning teams in Montreal, Boston, and Baltimore. Our farm system has improved greatly, now ranked in the top half, after years of languishing near the bottom. I would like to see DD extended, but I don’t think it will happen.

    • Jbiglen48

      September 30, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Our farm system is pretty much handicapped. There’s only so high a Baltimore orioles farm system can go given our lack of spending internationally. Honestly I don’t know if we can crack the top 10 at any point with the way we essentially punt one of the means to acquire prospects.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      Now you are preaching to the choir JB. My biggest soapbox

  5. 54orioles

    September 30, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Showalter has always been a class act. Has the right motivation skills for the rookie and the veteran. He has taken the O’s further than what a reasonable person should expect. Showalter doesn’t get paid to pitch or to find and bring in pitching. He made an early run with the worst group of starting pitchers in either league. Give him an extension,a raise and two above average starting pitchers and watch the Orioles in October 2018.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      He’s never had a true ace in his time here. Tillman has been the best.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    September 30, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Showalter to Philly seems like red meat served up to the Phillies faithful to drum up interest in a young, but not all that inspiring, team. Even witht the Mac Phail connection I don’t see Buck leaving Baltimore early for anything less that a baseball “Godfather” type position like some NFL coaches have. At the end of the 2018 season, on the other hand, we could see a wholesale changing of the guard at the manager, GM and ownership level (Angelos, despite what many people may think, isn’t a vampire who will live forever). Does the Warehouse want to be known for squandering their time of having Machado, Schoop, Britton et al all on the same team? With such massive organizational changes not on the horizon, bit practically smashing through the windshield, it seems like this offseason needs to be nothing less than a “damn the torpedos” moment. Bring in every top pitcher on the market and tell Angelos to open the safe. This is your last shot. This can go down as one of the greatest eras in the history of a storied franchise, or just another disappointment to a once proud fan base all but accustomed to being the loser. Balls in the Orioles court.

    • 54orioles

      September 30, 2017 at 7:20 pm

      Don’t think that will happen but I wish it would.

    • Dan Connolly

      September 30, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Breaking the bank for free agent pitchers is not an organizational philosophy. And it rarely pays off long-term. But I get your point loud and clear.

  7. Bancells Moustache

    October 1, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    For what it’s worth, Sporting News take on the Philadelphia job is to tout the candidacy of that Orioles managerial giant Juan Samuel

  8. lancette

    October 1, 2017 at 10:52 pm

    As someone who will not renew my Orioles season tickets for several reasons, with Buck Showalter’s incompetence at the top of the list, I officially offer to pay for Showalter’s plane ticket to Philadelphia. I’ll drive him personally if he prefers. Please, Philadelphia — please find a way to get him out of Baltimore. Maybe you like a do-nothing manager who is incapable of making in-game moves. Maybe you like a stubborn spectator who sits in the dugout and utilizes his offensive philosophy of “Close your eyes and swing for the fence and, if that doesn’t work, close your eyes tighter.” Maybe you love having no chance of winning games in which blind squirrels don’t hit the homers. Maybe you love a manager who has zero ability to identify pitchers. If these skills are what you need, Showalter is the man for the job! I’ll even throw in my Showalter jersey as a free bonus gift!

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