It’s hilarious to me that a month ago Andy MacPhail’s departure from the Baltimore Orioles was a done deal. It was a sure thing that was being reported by all kinds of media around Baltimore. Today, MacPhail’s future is much more disputable and some are reporting the opposite from those August and September certainties.
MacPhail’s contract is set to expire at the end of October and initial reports linked Orioles manager Buck Showalter to be his successor. Dan Connolly of The Sun reports that MacPhail and Orioles owner Peter Angelos met last Thursday after the Orioles bumped the Boston Red Sox from the American League Wild Card. Had MacPhail decided to leave the team it likely would have been in that meeting. Roch Kubatko is MASN reports that MacPhail is “still deciding what he wants to do.”
Fourteen straight losing seasons always make fans want change, but this season I felt that MacPhail had arguably his best year with the O’s. For starters he locked up a franchise shortstop in J.J. Hardy who the team signed to an extension in the middle of the year. He also brought in the team’s only true power hitter in Mark Reynolds and dealt an older injury prone relief pitcher (Koji Uehara) for a starting pitcher (Tommy Hunter) and first/third baseman (Chris Davis).
Bullpen arms have always plagued Andy Mac during his time in Baltimore. Both Mike Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg have proven to be major disappointments, but Gonzo was dealt to Texas for reliever Pedro Strop who showed much promise down the stretch this year.
MacPhail should also be credited for the moves he didn’t make this offseason. He refused to give Adam LaRoche a two year deal and instead signed Derrek Lee who served as trade bait to Pittsburgh. Meanwhile LaRoche’s season ended just a month into the year and he’s locked into a contract next season with Washington while Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols hit the free agent market. Many O’s fans wanted Adam Dunn to make the trek down 95 and go from Washington to Baltimore. That would’ve been a disaster. Dunn imploded this season with the White Sox and was nearly booed out of his town his inability to hit American League pitching.
Still MacPhail hasn’t gone down in history as the guy that turned the Orioles around. His tenure thus far has continued a tradition of losing and the development of young pitching took a major setback in 2011. So why should Orioles fans want him back? Consistency. Wiping the slate clean and starting over always takes more time. If MacPhail and Showalter think they can right the ship then let them finish what they started.