The great and tempestuous Bobby Valentine will be interviewing with General Manager Andy MacPhail regarding the current managerial vacancy, and I can honestly say that I am impressed. Not necessarily with Bobby Valentine (more on that later), but with the fact that Andy MacPhail is choosing this time not to sit by and wait another month or so before actually starting to interview candidates. As you know, MacPhail has a bit of a tendency to sleep on things… and sleep some more. In fact, I wonder at times whether he just takes a siesta every time he has a big decision to make. This time however, he is at least being proactive, though we will have to see whether that can land the Orioles a manager who can command the clubhouse and get the best out of his players.
I have talked about Bobby Valentine in the past, back in the beginning of the season when the Orioles were just starting their epic free fall. Of Valentine, I wrote:
On paper, Bobby Valentine has all the experience necessary. He is a household name whose experience in reaching the World Series with the Mets and in winning championships in Japan would surely enable him to command a clubhouse with few strong personalities. He routinely laid down the law with his Japanese players, benching them if they bunted against his wishes and insisting on instilling his style of play, with an emphasis on the long ball. He has a strong win-loss record in the majors, but there is one reason why Bobby Valentine couldn’t be the Orioles manager. Valentine has been fired twice in two countries for personal conflicts with the front office and ownership over a variety of issues. I just don’t see Andy MacPhail or Peter Angelos taking on a manager with any history of adversarial relationships with ownership. I also wonder about his patience with a young team.
All of that still stands, though if Andy MacPhail thinks he can deal with Valentine, then many of those concerns go out the window. Regardless, Valentine would not be content this upcoming offseason to see the Orioles stand pat and not make significant moves to improve the team. He is not a company man the way Dave Trembley was. However, I doubt that Valentine takes the job even if he is offered. He wants back in major league baseball, and probably wants to go on as many interviews as possible to try to play himself up as a major candidate for a big job. An ego and a personality like his does not want to go to the worst team in baseball in the toughest division in baseball, not when there will probably be better openings at the end of the season. The best way to get noticed is to look like someone else wants you. Then again, after interviewing for the Indians vacancy last season and having that go to Manny Acta, he might be eager just to get back in the clubhouse.
At least early on, it doesn’t look like Juan Samuel has done anything to change anyone’s mind of him as an interim-only manager. The team is still failing to score and frankly, losing games at a pace just as poorly as before, which makes one wonder if any manager is going to right this ship.
However, another name has also surfaced as a candidate- club officials have been in touch with former Indians skipper Eric Wedge, who is considered by many as a mild-mannered player’s coach, wouldn’t quite fit the Orioles needs if they want to get a manager who isn’t like Dave Trembley. Additionally, his 7 seasons in Cleveland took the Indians to the playoffs but didn’t do anything to make them seem like world-beaters. Then again, his 97 losses in his final season last year would fit in well with the Orioles organization.
Was that too harsh?