Welcome to Overreaction Of The Week, my over the top, uninhibited, Baltimore sports-fan takes on this week’s Orioles activity.
As I’ve brought up before, it’s a foregone conclusion that Buck Showalter will not be the Orioles manager in 2019. When exactly that transition will happen is up in the air. Whether he is in the organization’s front office or the head coach at his alma mater, Mississippi State, the Orioles will need to find his replacement. The new manager will take over a roster that is likely drastically different that this year’s but who is the best candidate for the job?
There have been a few managerial searches that the Orioles can use as a model for their own. The Nationals, Yankees, Red Sox, as well as others, all hired new managers and have seen great success so far. That may be because of their talented rosters, but they have all put their fingerprints on their wins. Dave Martinez, Aaron Boone, and Alex Cora have a few similarities. They are all analytics guys, which has become the norm in managerial searches. Though they’re baseball guys, they’ve bought into the analytics and are willing to use the numbers to make decisions. The other thing they have in common, is that they’ve won as players and/or coaches. Martinez was on the Rays World Series staff and the Cubs championship staff. Boone hit one of the most iconic home runs in ALCS history to send the Yankees to the World Series and Cora is a two time World Series champion. The Orioles should look for similar characteristics, here are three guys to keep in mind:
Raul Ibanez – Former Outfielder and Dodgers’ front office: It feels like just yesterday that Ibanez broke the Orioles hearts with home runs in the playoffs. But, he has an intriguing post-playing career as a member of the Dodgers’ front office, as special assistant to the President of Baseball operations that the Orioles should be interested in. According to FanSided, his role in the front office included “scouting prospects, signing free agents, overall player development and instituting analytic reports”. That seems like the perfect combination of what the Orioles would be looking for in a manager of a young team.
David Ross – Broadcaster, former catcher: David Ross was a key piece in the Cubs World Series championship. so he’s got the winning thing going for him. He was very well liked in the clubhouse throughout his career. If the Orioles have a younger, less experienced roster, Ross’s personal touch could be exactly what the team needs. As a former catcher, I’m more than optimistic about his baseball mind, and being a player on a team that won during the analytics age should make him a prime candidate sometime soon.
John Russel – Orioles Bench Coach: We must consider an internal option here. Russell has been Buck’s right hand man since the beginning, operating as the bench coach since 2011. He does have previous managerial experience, going 186-299 as the Pirates manager from 2008 – 2010. If Showalter does indeed move to the front office, it would make for great rapport to have his old bench coach remain in the dugout as the manager.
I’ll be very interested in pursuing Raul Ibanez as a candidate. His experience in the front office has given him the knowledge and tools he needs to build the Orioles back up. His successful playing career and success in big moments will allow him to relate to a young and eager team. He seems like a great candidate to replace Buck Showalter long-term. The questions at this point remain, when will a change need to occur? And will the Orioles be able to attract a top candidate? We can certainly hope so.
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