Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Random rumor: Edsall to Jacksonville?

If you're a Maryland football fan, then you're probably not a huge supporter of head coach Randy Edsall right now. (And if that's the case, and you haven't done so yet, you need to read John Feinstein's recent column calling for the Terps to end the Edsall era now.) I am not in the Edsall camp, but I also don't think Maryland will get rid of him anytime soon.

Yesterday, though, there was a rumor floating around that an NFL job could be in Edsall's future. Here's that rumor, courtesy of Dave Razzano, a former NFL scout and a sports talk radio host in San Francisco:!/DaveRazzano/status/141667109213179905
The speculation seems to come from the fact that Edsall was an assistant coach with the Jaguars from 1994 to 1997. I guess he must have made some sort of solid impression.

So, yeah, that's about it, and nothing will likely come of this. But considering how bad the Terps were this season and how unprofessional Edsall has seemed at times, it's still amusing that he had to address NFL coaching rumors yesterday.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Apparently it's hard to root for the Redskins these days

Did you know that it's hard to be a Redskins fan? Examiner columnist Thom Loverro does, and he isn't a fan of what's happening on the field. In this column, he mentions that the on-the-field product is still very bad, but he's more concerned with this question: "Are the 2011 Redskins the least likable squad this franchise has fielded in a long time?"

Loverro discusses the showboating of Fred Davis, the jawing of Trent Williams and DeAngelo Hall, Jabar Gaffney's recent Twitter controversy, and he even fits in Stevie Johnson's recent touchdown celebration that mocked Plaxico Burress.

But that's it. That's why it's hard to root for the Redskins. I'll admit, I sometimes cringe when Santana Moss spins the ball when the Redskins are down a few touchdowns, or when LaRon Landry celebrates a huge tackle after surrendering a first down or a big play. But don't most teams do similar things? The Redskins are hardly the only team with players who celebrate tackles, first downs, touchdowns, or anything. And frankly, some of those moments are the most exciting for the Redskins, considering that winning the game each week isn't a viable option. I guess part of Loverro's argument could be that it's a mind-set thing -- the whole act like you've been there before thing, or how to be a professional, or whatever. But the Redskins aren't losing games because some of them like to dance when they get in the end zone.

There are plenty of players fans should enjoy rooting for, and Hall, Williams, Davis, and Gaffney are probably on that list. Here are some others:

Roy Helu
Santana Moss
Brandon Banks
Darrel Young
Ryan Kerrigan
Lorenzo Alexander
London Fletcher
Perry Riley
Brian Orakpo
DeJon Gomes
Josh Wilson
Sav Rocca

Yes, I included Rocca, the punter, who is having an amazing season. And that's not counting Chris Cooley and a couple of youngsters who should be able to contribute next season: Jarvis Jenkins and Leonard Hankerson.

I'd argue that any team that includes London Fletcher can't possibly be mentioned as any kind of "least likable squad," but that's just one opinion.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Race to the bottom: Crucial Week 12

(Note: I had this post nearly finished yesterday but didn't post it for some reason. Anyway, have a Happy Thanksgiving and be safe out there.)

If you didn't read the first post in this series -- which I'll continue each week unless the whole thing becomes irrelevant or tiresome -- I recommend you check that out first. But, basically, the entire goal of each of these posts is to identify the weekly matchups that are important to the Redskins' chances of obtaining of higher draft pick.

Last Sunday's painful 27-24 loss to the Cowboys was hard to stomach, but at the end of the day, it still moved the Redskins a little closer to a potential franchise quarterback. Now 3-7, the Redskins are still tied for the third-worst record, so other bad teams still need to do plenty of losing for the Redskins to continue moving up (or down?) the ladder.

Here are the games including teams that are 3-7 or worse this week (again, while hoping the bolded teams win):

Dolphins vs. Cowboys
Vikings vs. Falcons
Panthers vs. Colts
Cardinals vs. Rams
Texans vs. Jaguars

It would also be beneficial if a few of the 4-6 teams won as well, but we'll be able to sort that out on a week-to-week basis, obviously depending on if the Redskins win. The Dolphins and Jaguars are both 3-7 and the Vikings are 2-8, so wanting them all to win is a no-brainer -- and that's not even factoring in that Miami plays Dallas later today. Both the Vikings and Jaguars took quarterbacks in the first round last year, but if the goal is to get the highest pick possible, more wins by them would be nice.

The other two games were more difficult to decide who to root for. The Panthers and Rams, both 2-8, don't need quarterbacks and would probably go in a different direction in the first round, but as a commenter pointed out the other day, they could always trade the pick to a team who desperately seeks a quarterback. It's impossible to predict trades, but I guess the higher the draft pick, the better. Either way, there are positives if the Cardinals or Rams win, or Panthers or Colts win. The Colts are likely too far ahead in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes, but until they've completely locked up that top spot, anything's possible.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Keith Law is not a huge fan of Chong signing

The deal for Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon isn't 100 percent finished yet, but all indications are that the deal will be completed soon and he'll be with the Orioles next season. There hasn't been much written about the move, possibly because 1) it's not that big of a signing, and 2) not that many people really know that much about Chong.

But, as usual, ESPN's Keith Law is on top of things and gave his quick opinion on the move:!/keithlaw/status/139004365078929408
So much for a ringing endorsement. I'm sure that a more in-depth discussion of the signing will follow once it becomes official. But hopefully Chong doesn't end up being the Korean Kevin Gregg -- or anything close to it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

O's agree to terms with Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon

According to multiple reports, the Orioles have reached a deal with South Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon. Apparently the deal will be for two years and $3.2 million. Here's a brief introduction of the 33-year-old Chong, via the HardballTalk link above:
According to a Korean site linked to by MyKBO, Chong, a submariner, tops out at 85 mph with his sinking fastball and throws a curve. He had a 1.48 ERA, 16 saves and a 39/25 K/BB ratio in 54 2/3 innings for the SK Wyverns last year. He pitched for South Korea in the 2008 Olympics and had a 2.25 ERA and seven strikeouts in four innings as the gold medal-winning team’s closer.
Unlike Koji Uehara, who also signed a two-year deal with the O's at age 33, Chong is a full-time reliever and will not be used in the rotation. With this move, the O's have again decided to sign a reliever to a multiyear deal, but it's hard to get too upset about a contract slightly over $3 million, especially without watching Chong pitch routinely against major league hitters yet.

Without question, the O's needed, and still need, to improve the bullpen -- even more so if they're planning to move Jim Johnson into the rotation. Still, I'm a little skeptical about a reliever who can't throw much harder than 85 mph, particularly when he's pitching in the AL East.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Race to the bottom: Redskins need a QB

We all know the top priority for the Redskins in the upcoming NFL draft is finding a quarterback. And since the season has been going south for a few weeks now, it's time to start worrying about where the Redskins will be picking in the draft. At 3-6 (currently tied for the third-worst record in the NFL), they seem destined for a top 10, or maybe even top 5, pick.

But since I refuse to root against the Redskins, I'll do something different: hope that teams below them, particularly the ones that need quarterbacks, start racking up some wins.

Here are the 10 teams currently tied with or worse (record-wise) than the Redskins:

Colts (0-10)
Rams (2-7)
Dolphins (2-7)
Panthers (2-7)
Vikings (2-7)
Browns (3-6)
Cardinals (3-6)
Jaguars (3-6)
Eagles (3-6)
Seahawks (3-6)

(Let's all take a moment to mock the Eagles for being included on this list.)

Of all those teams, who will mostly likely not target a quarterback with their first-round pick? Probably the Rams (Sam Bradford), Panthers (Cam Newton), Vikings (Christian Ponder), Jaguars (Blaine Gabbert), and Eagles (Michael Vick). The Panthers, Vikings, and Jaguars all used top-12 picks in last year's draft to select a quarterback, so they probably won't look to take another one so soon. But this is all mostly guesswork, and no one knows exactly what teams will do with top picks, especially when Andrew Luck's name gets thrown into the mix. And that's without factoring in potential trades.

Eliminating those five teams, that leaves the Colts, Dolphins, Browns, Cardinals, and Seahawks -- all of whom would likely select a quarterback with their top pick (again, depending on where that pick is and which quarterbacks are available). The Chiefs (4-5) and Broncos (4-5) may also draft a top quarterback if they tail off and lose a bunch of games to end the season.

So with all of those teams in mind, who should Redskins fans be rooting for this week? Let's take a quick look at some relevant matchups (while hoping the bolded teams win):

Jets vs. Broncos
Jaguars vs. Browns
Bills vs. Dolphins
Seahawks vs. Rams
Cardinals vs. 49ers
Chiefs vs. Patriots

Honestly, it wouldn't hurt if all teams with awful records won a few games, but whatever. I'll admit, this is a little wacky, and it'll all be much simpler if the Redskins continue to lose games, which they probably will. But I'm tired of watching quarterbacks like Rex Grossman and John Beck, and this process is the best way I can hope for a franchise quarterback without rooting against my team. And, really, it's not like they need any extra help to lose games anyway.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

O's interested in another (almost) 36-year-old DH?

According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the Orioles may be looking at David Ortiz to fill their designated hitter slot. Although Kubatko admits that the interest is "mostly speculation" at this point, he did pass along the following:
The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham tweeted that [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan] Duquette is meeting with [Fern] Cuza, who represents free agent David Ortiz. Abraham speculated that the Orioles have interest in the veteran designated hitter.
That's not much, but who really knows when the O's are involved?

Ortiz had another solid year last season. He hit .309/.398/.554, surpassing his numbers from the past few seasons. For his career, he's a .283/.378/.544 hitter, which is excellent.

He also turns 36 on November 18 (Friday), which is the same age as Vladimir Guerrero -- and we all know how that signing turned out. Ortiz is probably the better hitter between the two at this point. He's been better the last couple of years; maybe the benefit of mostly DHing in his career has helped him and allowed him to stay stronger at the plate.

I understand that it's speculation, but hopefully the O's have learned from the disappointing Guerrero signing. A young, bad team paying a bunch of money for a DH doesn't make a whole lot of sense. With Guerrero on the roster last season, the O's lost a lot of roster flexibility -- and that's not even mentioning that Luke Scott was already the best option at DH even after they signed Guerrero. At least the Guerrero deal was only a one-year deal; I seriously doubt that Ortiz would entertain anything less than a two- or three-year deal. Guerrero also signed for $8 million; Ortiz would likely command at least $10 million per season.

When considering the O's current roster, signing another full-time DH makes even less sense. Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis are not defensive wizards, and I don't think the O's want to enter the season with both of those guys starting at the corner infield positions. Davis may need to DH sometimes, as will Reynolds. It would also be smart to keep the spot flexible so Matt Wieters can stay in the lineup occasionally when he's not catching.

Could the O's lineup use an upgrade? Yeah, probably. But the roster has plenty of holes, not just at DH. For an organization that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, it wouldn't be smart to sign an aging DH to a multi-year contract just to score a few more runs over the course of a season.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hankerson suffers torn labrum, is placed on IR

A bright spot of watching a bad team is getting the chance to see that team's young players. The hope is that they'll learn quickly and develop, in the process transforming from talented prospects into productive players. Unfortunately for the 3-6 Redskins, one of those intriguing, young players, WR Leonard Hankerson, has been placed on injured reserve after suffering a torn labrum and a hip injury in Sunday's loss to the Dolphins.

The loss of Hankerson is a crushing blow to the Redskins, not only because of their shortage at wide receiver, but because Hankerson just had the best game of his young NFL career, catching eight passes from Rex Grossman for 106 yards.

Hankerson joins defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins, the Redskins' second-round pick, as the second of the team's draft picks to be lost for the season.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Disastrous season continues for Edsall, Terps

I'll admit, I've never followed Maryland football as closely as basketball -- even during the best of times. But it'd be pretty hard not to notice the debacle that is this season, under head coach Randy Edsall. Edsall has had his hands full, and after another blowout loss last night (45-21 to Notre Dame) the Terps now have a 2-8 record and are 1-5 in the ACC.

Since Edsall is the guy to replace the beloved and rather successful Ralph Friedgen, Edsall's time at Maryland will undoubtedly be compared to everything Fridge accomplished. In 10 seasons, Friedgen compiled a 75-50 (43-37) record. His tenure had its ups and downs, but he also helped to turn around a program that had basically become irrelevant.

Here's the Terps' record in each of Friedgen's 10 seasons:

2001: 10-2 (7-1)
2002: 11-3 (6-2)
2003: 10-3 (6-2)
2004: 5-6 (3-5)
2005: 5-6 (3-5)
2006: 9-4 (5-3)
2007: 6-7 (3-5)
2008: 8-5 (4-4)
2009: 2-10 (1-7)
2010: 9-4 (5-3)

After Friedgen's first three seasons -- and really the first season, when the Terps went to the Orange Bowl -- the Terps struggled at times. They also never won more than nine games after 2003. But the only season that could compare to this one on the disaster scale is 2009, which is essentially the season that got Friedgen fired. Friedgen and the Terps turned things around the very next season, which made athletic director Kevin Anderson's subsequent firing of Friedgen even more awkward and hard for many fans to digest.

Edsall has said many times (mostly during the season, I believe) that turning around the program, or at least molding the program how he wanted, was not going to be easy. He has taken some thinly veiled shots at Friedgen and the poor condition in which he left the program, though that does seem a little ridiculous. Still, regardless of how bare the cupboard was when Edsall took over, there's no question that the Terps have been terrible.

Let's quickly compare Friedgen's worst season (2009) to this season. The comparison won't be perfect -- comparing different teams with different players and coaches, strength of schedule, 2011 season is still ongoing, etc. -- but should be interesting.

Friedgen's 2009

Wins: James Madison (38-35 in OT), Clemson (24-21)
Against ranked teams: #12 California (52-13), #21 Virginia Tech (36-9)
Outscored by 119 points (375 to 256)

Edsall's 2011

Wins: Miami (32-24), Towson (28-3)
Against ranked teams: #18 West Virginia (37-31), #13 Georgia Tech (21-16), #8 Clemson (56-45)
Outscored by 98 points (324 to 226)

It's worth noting that in 2009, Chris Turner (who was not very good) was Maryland's quarterback. This year, the Terps had Danny O'Brien, who was named the ACC Rookie of the Year last season when he threw for 2,438 yards, 22 touchdowns, and (only) 8 interceptions. In his sophomore season, which is now over after he broke a bone in his left arm in last night's game, O'Brien has thrown for 1,648 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in Maryland's new spread offense. That's probably not the type of performance that many would have predicted in O'Brien's second season.

The Terps have two games remaining: against Wake Forest and NC State. Both are road games. It's possible that Maryland could win either of those games. Yet, it's also possible they lose by double digits in both.

I don't know the direction that Maryland football is headed in under Edsall, but there is some positive news: 1) Because of Edsall's contract and the athletic department's financial situation, he's going to be here for a while (meaning he should have the time to turn the program into what he wants, whatever that is); and 2) things can't get much worse.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dan Duquette on expensive free agents

It's obviously way too early to declare much of anything about how Dan Duquette will run the Orioles or how successful he'll be, but I do like reading quotes like these (provided by Matt Vensel of The Baltimore Sun):
“Everybody wants to look at the established major league player to come in here and help your team,” Duquette said. “When your club is in a position where you can get over the top, where you can get a player that will be a core player for a long period of time, I think that’s the right time to go into the free-agent market. ... I don’t know that it’s a terrific use of the club’s resources to go into the free-agent market just to say that I’m out there.”
Duquette also said, "We will be active in a lot of markets, a lot of talent markets to field competitive and winning teams. We will be active in several of those markets. . . . The major league free-agency market is probably the riskiest one, right? I’m much more comfortable operating with less risk."

More than reasonable, right? I think those are the kinds of things that most O's fans want to hear from their general manager. At the end of the day, talk is cheap and actions speak much louder, but it will be interesting to see how he handles his first offseason in Baltimore.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Redskins sign WR David Anderson, who likes to dance

Seeking a veteran wide receiver, the Redskins have signed David Anderson, a 28-year-old receiver who was released by the Texans earlier this season. So why Anderson? Mostly because he's familiar with Kyle Shanahan's offense, which should allow him to contribute more -- at least that's the goal.

Anderson was a seventh-round pick by the Texans in 2006, and he's spent his entire career in Houston. In his best season, 2009-2010, he had 38 receptions for 370 yards. For his career, he has 82 catches for 895 yards and three touchdowns. But in two games this season, he only has one catch for nine yards. But at least it was for a first down!

Because of the injuries to Santana Moss and Niles Paul, Anderson's likely nothing more than a temporary fill-in. But there are (at least) three interesting things about him: 1) Per Wiki, his middle name is Kent; 2) he likes Conan O'Brien; and 3) he enjoys dancing after touchdowns. The last two are connected: Take a look at his touchdown celebration in a 2008 game against the Bengals.

Yup, that's Conan's patented string dance. Nice work, David. Unfortunately, he's only scored one touchdown since that Bengals game -- against the Vikings the very next week, in fact -- so he may not be doing much dancing in Washington. Then again, the Redskins not scoring touchdowns will hardly be Anderson's fault. They're already excellent at that.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Is Duquette the favorite?

Dan Duquette may be the top candidate to take over general manager duties, but it's not exactly a simple task to predict what's going to happen at this point. But according to MASN's Roch Kubatko, Duquette isn't such a bad option:
I'd say Dan Duquette is the No. 1 candidate today. He's got a background in scouting and player development, and he's been a general manager with two teams. He played a major role in the Red Sox winning the 2004 World Series, though he was fired in March 2002.

I don't recall many stories about his dynamic personality, but he's sharp and he knows how to make a trade. The guy pried Pedro Martinez from two teams. That must count for something. And he somehow convinced the Mariners to hand over Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe for Heathcliff Slocumb.
He also hasn't been in the major leagues since 2002 -- that's almost a decade. That has to count for something. Then again, with Peter Angelos limiting candidates from doing what they see as necessary to turn the Orioles around, it may not really matter who the O's end up with as GM.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Angelos, O's have turned GM search into three-ring circus

The Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997. That's a span of 14 seasons, and in that time frame, many of the things the O's have done on the field have been rather embarrassing. Name just about anything awful on the field and the O's have accomplished it. That includes terrible overall play -- poor hitting, pitching, and fielding -- gut-wrenching losses, ill-conceived signings, ridiculous coaching moves, bad draft picks, and terrible decision-making all around. So it's not really surprising that the O's haven't won more games for a while, and they haven't exactly set themselves up well to succeed in the near future.

Still, even though the O's are far behind the rest of the AL East -- and a majority of MLB teams as well, for that matter -- they've had a few bright spots here and there. More recently, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis were supposed to form a solid outfield duo. Matt Wieters was supposed to be the next Joe Mauer, maybe even better. And youngsters Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Zach Britton were supposed to help turn around a horrendous pitching staff. I guess there's some time left for one of two of those things to happen, and I'm obviously leaving plenty of things out, but the point is this: With all of the losses, failed draft picks, and underperforming players, the most embarrassing and frustrating situation with the O's may be the absurd search for a general manager that's taking place right now.

This is what has happened so far:

- Jerry Dipoto, who may have been the O's top choice, took his name out of consideration when he accepted the same role with the Angels. There's no question that's a much better job, and it's hard to blame him for making that decision.

- Tony LaCava, assistant GM for the Blue Jays, also took his name out of consideration for the O's job after a second interview (with Peter Angelos involved in the talks). Instead of taking a job with another team, LaCava decided to return to Toronto as assistant GM. As reported by Danny Knobler of CBS Sports (via a few sources), LaCava wanted to get rid of some of Angelos's front office minions, but that just wasn't going to happen. Knobler added:
Specifically, those sources said, LaCava wanted to clear out some long-term front-office people whose jobs have been protected by Angelos. Angelos refused to do that, even though he was willing to pay LaCava a competitive salary and to bring in other front-office people that LaCava wanted to hire (including Mike Berger, currently the director of pro scouting with the Diamondbacks).
So much for fans hoping that Angelos would make an intelligent hire and get out of the way. Unfortunately, there's more.

- Even though he was one of the first interviews the team made, Dodgers assistant GM DeJon Watson removed his name from consideration yesterday. Apparently Watson was not thought of as a favorite to get the job, so he moved on. If you're scoring at home, that's three candidates to take their names out of the running, and that's not counting the number of potential candidates who refused to be interviewed in the first place.

- After being denied permission to interview Twins vice president Mike Radcliff, the O's found out that Red Sox vice president Allard Baird had denied the O's request to interview for the position.

So, as of right now, here are the candidates who have yet to remove their names from consideration:

Dan Duquette, former Red Sox and Expos GM
Scott Proefrock, Phillies assistant GM
John Stockstill, O's player development director

Those three have all been interviewed, and the fourth name currently involved is Yankees vice president Damon Oppenheimer, who may also be interviewing soon.

When the interview process started, the O's had several interesting names on their wish list. Now, though, after being rejected by many of those names, the O's appear to be scraping the bottom of the barrel. That's not meant as an insult to the names involved, but when so many other promising candidates have turned the O's down, it's easy to wonder why exactly anyone would take such a flawed job.

I don't think anyone was expecting the O's GM search to go smoothly, except maybe Angelos. But what is he thinking? Many fans have complained about Angelos's meddling ways for years now, but this is the most obvious example of him getting in the way that I can remember. Maybe I'm forgetting some of his interfering from a few years ago, perhaps with wanting to sign overpriced veterans or refusing to consider others, but now his stubbornness appears to be ruining any chance the O's had at hiring a legitimate, up-and-coming GM. The O's organization has so many holes, and they desperately need a GM who's going to come in, clean house if necessary, and start to run things the right way -- whatever that happens to be. But with Angelos around, that just doesn't seem possible. The O's seem to be headed nowhere quickly, and they need direction and front office leadership. And, as many fans know, a good GM is, um, kind of important.

When asked why no one seems to want the O's GM job, Keith Law may have said it best: "The next GM is set up to fail." But, hey, as long as Angelos's guys are all taken care of and comfortable, who cares about watching a terrible team for the foreseeable future?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

O's GM search continues as LaCava turns down job offer

After Jerry Dipoto, arguably the leading candidate to fill the O's general manager position, was hired by the Angels to fill their own GM vacancy, Tony LaCava, the assistant GM with the Blue Jays, was seen as the new favorite. And then, after LaCava received a second interview (with Peter Angelos present this time), Ken Rosenthal dropped this hammer: "Sources: LaCava turns down #Orioles' offer of GM job."

It's easy to speculate on what happened. Maybe LaCava had a change of heart. Or maybe Angelos wouldn't offer him the amount of power that the O's GM role required. Or maybe he simply realized that things just wouldn't work out. Oddly enough, Peter Schmuck wrote yesterday morning that the O's still weren't settled on a candidate -- something that's even more interesting to read now. Schmuck provided some speculation of his own:
That could mean that Angelos wasn't that impressed with LaCava or LaCava wanted more authority than Angelos was willing to allow. It could also mean that the meeting was just another meeting and not really a late-stage negotiation.
As it turns out, LaCava is denying any issue with Angelos (or is at least taking the high road), saying that he just wanted to remain with the Blue Jays. Via Dan Connolly:
“This was about the Toronto Blue Jays more than it is anything about the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles were classy in everything they did and I think they are going to go down the right path. For me, it was how much I love the Toronto Blue Jays and I really, really treasure my relationship with my general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, and I really want to see this through with him. He created a great atmosphere to work up there, along with president Paul Beeston, and it is very hard to leave them. . . . When I decided to interview, it wasn’t that I was looking to leave. But there are only 30 GM positions and I was interested in it. When I weighed both at the end of the day, I just didn’t feel I could leave the Blue Jays."
He's more than entitled to that rationale; at the end of the day, it's obviously LaCava's decision to make. But you have to wonder, since there "are only 30 GM positions," if he would have taken the job if he got a little bit more of what he wanted. It's possible that LaCava is being completely truthful, but we'll never know for sure.

Roch Kubatko dug a little deeper, asking LaCava whether the O's ownership played any role in him turning down the job:
I asked LaCava whether he had any concerns about interference from ownership in the daily operations of the ballclub. All I can do is ask and pass along his response. Here it is:

"I think [Angelos] gets a bad rap on that," LaCava said. "I didn't sense that at all. I sense he's a man who's obviously very busy with his law firm and other things. There are places where the owner is a lot more involved than in Baltimore. I didn't feel that at all and that's the truth."
Kubatko also noted that LaCava would have had to keep "a portion of the current staff" but that "he could have hired seven guys." Apparently that restriction "wasn't a deal-breaker." Still, it's possible that not having full control of hiring and firings made LaCava think twice about accepting the job.

So now the O's are back to square one. It's not the worst thing ever that LaCava turned down the job, but it's not a positive that someone interested in the job went that far in the interview process and then turned down the job. Hopefully the O's renew the process the right way and target other qualified, interesting candidates rather than taking the easy route and hiring someone like, say, John Stockstill (who's already been interviewed once).

For the most part, people don't know the difference between LaCava and someone else like Dodgers executive De Jon Watson (who the O's previously interviewed). LaCava had been discussed as the better candidate, but no one really knows for sure who would make a great GM or not. But when fans already distrust the direction of the O's under Angelos, something embarrassing like the LaCava debacle ends up having more meaning because it's yet another thing the O's failed to do correctly. Even if LaCava's statements are 100 percent true -- meaning that he wasn't completely set on taking the O's job and that he really did want to remain in Toronto because of how much he loved it -- the O's will be blamed for letting him get away. And considering everything that's been going wrong with the team for a long time now, that's blame well deserved.