Two full days after the end of the worst season in Orioles history, and there’s been no announcement about the future direction of the franchise.
For the sake of manager Buck Showalter, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette and everyone else in the organization, let’s hope that announcement comes soon.
Showalter isn’t expected to continue as manager in 2019, but since there’s been no indication that the Orioles will go in a different direction, speculation about his future will continue.
There’s no word about Duquette, either. Not only Showalter and Duquette, but everyone else in the organization—coaches, administrators and minor league personnel—is on edge.
The Orioles haven’t changed their general manager and field manager concurrently since 1999 when Syd Thrift replaced Frank Wren and Mike Hargrove took over for Ray Miller, and a full-scale front office makeover may not happen now, either.
But if the Orioles are set to make major changes, they should get started as soon as possible.
Ever since Duquette laid out the organization’s blueprint for rebuilding after Manny Machado was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was clear where the team was headed.
It might have come as a surprise to many how deep and quickly the team would turn over, and it set up possible postseason changes.
With owner Peter Angelos no longer in charge of day-to-day operations, his sons, John and Louis, are making the calls, and the next moves should come now.
If they’re going to jettison Showalter after eight-plus years, the search for a new manager should begin immediately. The Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays are looking for new managers, and presumably some of the candidates for those jobs could intrigue the Orioles.
It’s the same with Duquette. Is he going to stay with the franchise he’s served for seven years? Will he be in the same job? What’s the future role of Brady Anderson, the team’s vice president of baseball operations?
Presumably, all these questions will be answered soon.
When Duquette replaced Andy MacPhail as the team’s top baseball decision-maker, he wasn’t hired until early November. Even though he had a productive and successful first offseason, he inherited Showalter as manager and didn’t have to concern himself with a new hire for the dugout.
If both Duquette and Showalter are moving along, a new top baseball executive has to be selected, and only then could the managerial search begin.
October is a critical month. Lots of preparation can be done. Free agents can be sifted through without the pressure of bidding. Minor league staffs for the next year can be secured, and your own prospects can be evaluated in the Instructional League in Sarasota and the Arizona Fall League.
Oriole fans hungry for news of the next steps deserve to hear quickly, and so do Duquette and Showalter, so they can get on with the rest of their lives—if they’re not going to be a part of the Orioles.
After MacPhail left and just before Duquette was hired, Showalter was around to advise on personnel moves and recommended the Orioles snatch Darren O’Day off the waiver wire, and they did.
But if there’s no Duquette or Showalter, who’ll be there to make those important moves? That shouldn’t be a problem, especially if Duquette’s going to stay on.
Oriole management had two full months to watch the team after the trades were made, and decisions could have been made about the future then. Hopefully everyone involved, and the fans who want to feel involved, will learn what’s next very soon.