Sunday, October 9, 2011

MacPhail steps down, so what now?

The Orioles have announced that Andy MacPhail is leaving the organization and that he will not return as president of baseball operations. It was speculated for months that MacPhail would not return, and now it's official. Another popular rumor was that Buck Showalter would leave his managerial position to take over for MacPhail either as general manager or in another front office role, but Showalter will still be the team's manager next season.

According to Roch Kubatko, here are some candidates to replace MacPhail:
It's impossible to know every name that's been discussed and debated. I've floated a few, such as Marlins assistant general manager Dan Jennings and Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava.

The Sun's Dan Connolly recently expanded the list to include Jerry Dipoto (Diamondbacks senior VP), Gerry Hunsicker (Rays senior VP), former Orioles executives Wayne Krivsky and Scott Proefrock (Phillies assistant GM), Damon Oppenheimer (Yankees scouting director), A.J. Preller (Rangers senior director of player personnel), former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi (Mets special assistant) and Scott Servais (Rangers senior director of player development.)

. . . Also, director of baseball operations Matt Klentak is regarded as an executive who will be a valuable asset to MacPhail's replacement. He's not currently seen as a candidate for the position, but his time is approaching.
MacPhail had his moments, but in the end he couldn't do enough to turn the organization around. The next GM (or president of baseball operations) will need to identify what the organization has done wrong when drafting, developing, and coaching minor league talent. The O's are in an extremely difficult position in the AL East and have to play tough competition year in and year out, but they also don't do themselves any favors by not developing a better group of young players, both through the draft and international scouting. Hopefully the next GM has some ideas on how to rectify those problems.

It's also worth wondering how much power the team's next GM will have. With Showalter still around, will he be the guy wielding the most power? Peter Schmuck thinks so:
There are all sorts of possibilities, but since both Angelos and Showalter are old-school personalities, it's fair to assume they won't be writing the script for the "Moneyball" sequel. If Showalter does not change his mind and unexpectedly jump upstairs, the next GM — or president of baseball operations — will likely be someone with whom he shares some history and someone who will fit into the Angelos comfort zone.

In other words, it will likely be an established fellow with some front office political skills and player-development experience rather than some twentysomething Ivy Leaguer carrying a spreadsheet and a cup of Starbucks into every meeting.
Again, that's all Schmuck's speculation, but it's possible considering how well Angelos and Showalter seem to get along. With Showalter likely to stick around next season and beyond, the O's aren't going to bring in someone that he won't be able to work with. Still, I'd like for the O's to be flexible and hire the best person for the position, not the guy most willing to agree with all of Showalter's opinions.

I like Showalter -- maybe not as much as when he first joined the O's -- but I'm not quite sure I want him to be the guy calling most of the shots for the organization. Still, Showalter does seem interested in the organization's young talent, and if he's committed to figuring out why most of the team's top prospects seem to fail when they join the major league club, then I guess it's fine if he needs to co-sign on whoever replaces MacPhail.

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