Rumor has it that Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail will not return after his contract expires at the end of the 2011 season.  Though MacPhail has never publicly let on that he will not be returning, two “high-ranking Orioles officials” told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that MacPhail will not pursue an extension with the ball club.

One of the candidates that Baltimore fans may have expected to see was current manager Buck Showalter.  Nightengale reports that Showalter will have a role in the decision, but is not interested in replacing MacPhail.  “I just hope for the best for Andy. This is not one person’s fault. You can’t be this bad, for this long, without multiple reasons.”

Jon Shepherd of Camden Depot listed five internal candidates that could replace MacPhail at the season’s end.  Among them are Orioles Director of Baseball Operations Matt Klentak who at 30 years old “seems to be a favorite of Andy MacPhail and that might mean something to (Peter) Angelos.”

Orioles Director of Amateur Scouting Joe Jordan, Director of Player Development John Stockstill and of course President and CEO of Ripken Baseball Cal Ripken, Jr. are also listed as candidates.  While Cal and Buck are the two fan favorites, I see neither taking over the front office duties of the Orioles.  Ripken did tell local sports talker 105.7 The Fan that he is likely a year or two away from a front office position, but with everything Ripken Baseball does I don’t see Cal taking on the duties this offseason.

Several other Major League teams are making GM transitions as well.  The Cubs are looking to replace Jim Hendry who was fired on August 19.  Andrew Freidman of the Tampa Bay Rays, Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s, Theo Epstein of the Boston Red Sox and Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees are all looking for contracts at the season’s end.