After interviewing two managerial candidates last week (Eric Wedge and Bobby Valentine), the Orioles now turn to former Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers manager Buck Showalter. Showalter, who last managed for the Rangers in 2006 and is (like Valentine) currently an ESPN baseball analyst, is expected to meet with the Orioles next week. It is believe that John Kruk, Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney declined interviews for the position (ha ha, I kill me). Showalter has a career managerial record of 882 and 833 and has twice won the AL Manager of the Year award. Showalter has shown the ability, with the Yankees and Diamondbacks to get teams headed in the right direction, but he has not shown the ability to get teams over the hump in the post-season.
eIt is believed that Showalter is the type of personality that Andy McPhail wants on the job. Showalter is a very detail oriented manager who gets his teams ready to play. He is also a manger who has managed under the brightest lights in New York and his personality is plenty big enough to take over the Orioles job. Another strength that Showalter has is his experience in building winning teams. Showalter was hired almost 2 years before the Diamondbacks were scheduled to play in order to have a role in putting together their roster and talent evaluation and acquisition. Showalter’s ability to mold a roster is something the Orioles need.
My main concerns about Showalter are that he has been out of managing since 2006. In demand managers do not usually sit jobless for almost 3 years. Showalter is also known to have a controlling personality that has rubbed front office members and players the wrong way. How long would a strong personality, like Showalter, before rubbing Peter Angelos the wrong way? And would a guy, known for not being a players coach, be able to attract veteran talent to an already undesirable team? Showalter could be a good luck charm. After being fired by both the Yanks and the D’backs the teams won the World Series the following year.
Of the three candidates interviewed so far, who is the most appealing?
In other baseball news, the Oakland A’s released utility player Jake Fox (no relation to Matthew or Michael J.). There has been speculation that the Orioles might be interested in taking a flyer on Fox. Fox showed some potential in 2009 with the Cubs and is a versatile player having caught and played both the corner infield and outfield positions. I would be in favor of bringing in Fox, if for no other reason than he would spell the end of Garrett Atkins. Even though Fox might only be a slight upgrade over Atkins, it is clear that Atkins has nothing left. Fox would provide the Orioles with more roster flexibility and a change to a more hitter friendly park might get his bat going.