I’m not sure exactly when the Baltimore Orioles became the laughing stock of Major League Baseball, but I’m going to guess that it might have something to do with an off season in which the team spent $25 million plus on acquiring Kevin Gregg, Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero while their closest competitor for years in the AL East was busy miraculously shedding the worst contract in baseball from their payroll.
Now, a little less than a year later, the organization, given the opportunity to start anew with the departure of Andy MacPhail from the front office, looked to be on the right track by interviewing two of the most highly respected non-GM executives in baseball. Their advances were rebuffed by both men, and suddenly the organization is back to mocked as the OriLOLes.
So, why is Baltimore such an unappealing place to work? I mean, we’ve all seen The Wire, so there’s that. But as the saying goes, there are only 30 Major League Baseball general managers’ positions in the world. When one opens up for you, you best grab it. Nonetheless, both Jerry Dipoto and Tony LaCava turned down offers for the job.
It’s often been speculated that owner Peter Angelos isn’t shy of reminding front office types that he pays the bills. This, combined with his reportedly close relationship with manager Buck Showalter wouldn’t likely inspire feelings of autonomy for the incoming GM.
The reasons for LaCava preferring a lesser position in Toronto to being the head honcho in Baltimore extended beyond all this. According to Danny Knobler of CBS Sports:
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).
Echoing the Jerry Rafferty refrain “clowns to the left of me; jokers on my right, Knobler continued:
The Orioles GM job is a difficult one, one rival executive said, because Angelos is such a force from above, manager Buck Showalter exerts strong influence from below.
This brings us to their newly expanded list of GM candidates, as the Orioles, twice rebuffed, have set meeting times to interview both Philadelphia Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock and Minnesota Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff. Baltimore has already spoken with in-house candidate John Stockstill and Dodgers assistant GM De Jon Watson. There are also rumours that the Orioles have requested permission to speak with Tampa Bay Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti and Chicago White Sox assistant GM Rick Hahn.
Yeah, good luck with that. I’m sure Friedman is begging to work in Baltimore.