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Handicapping the Managerial Hunt

Baltimore Orioles Joe Girardi Sam Perlozzo Dave TrembleyFollowing today’s whirlwind of Orioles news, this is what we know:

Sam Perlozzo is out, replaced on an interim basis by bullpen coach and longtime minor league manager Dave Trembley. The rest of the coaching staff has committed, for now, to sticking around.

Former Cubs and Twins executive Andy MacPhail is in as the team’s new chief operating officer, filling a position left vacant by the departure of Joe Foss in May.

Beyond that it’s all speculation. Reports indicate the team will meet with former Marlins manager Joe Girardi, and all signs point to them at least offering him the opportunity to replace Perlozzo. That said, there’s no guarantee Girardi wants the job. There’s also no guarantee the O’s will give him the salary and authority he’s likely to command.

In order to try to make sense of it all, what follows is a breakdown of the potential candidates along with some completely unscientific odds on whether or not we’ll see them heading up the black-and-orange. I’m not basing this on anything other than my own reading, research, and thought, so take it for what it’s worth.

1. Joe Girardi (5-3)
If they tell him what he wants to hear, pay him well, and give him the authority to run the team as he sees fit, you have to figure he’s the guy. But those are very big “ifs”.

Girardi’s a hot, young candidate with a reputation for getting the most from his players. He’s also got a rep for being hard to work with, and his track record spans exactly one season. Hiring him makes a lot of sense but could backfire in a big way if there aren’t also some significant organizational changes. You can bet he knows that.

Also worth noting just for kicks: Girardi was once traded, in 1995, from the Rockies to the Yankees for…wait for it…Mike DeJean.

2. Davey Johnson (4-1)
His name keeps coming up for two obvious reasons. One, he’s the last Orioles skipper who managed to field a winning team. Two, he’s not really doing much right now.

You have to figure he’d take the job if it’s offered, but he’s been out of the game for a long time. This would be a very, very risky move. But it might work.

3. Jerry Manuel (6-1)
Manuel had a very decent run with the White Sox from ’98-’03, going 500-471 and winning Manager of the Year in 2000. He seems ripe for a return to the bench, and it’d be hard to argue with the hire. On the other hand, it’d also be hard to argue too heavily in favor of it. We had a guy just like Manuel here already with Mike Hargrove, and look how well that turned out.

4. Dusty Baker (20-1)
Baker will eventually find a job somewhere, and the Orioles could do worse. He’s got a good track record and seems like the kind of guy who does a decent job motivating his team. He’s also completely uninspiring.

5. Dave Trembley (30-1)
Well…why not? Trembley’s got a wealth of minor league experience and probably knows the game as well as, if not better than, any of the other major candidates. Suppose he leads this group to a road sweep of the Padres — what then? Stranger things have happened.

6. Jim Palmer (47-1)
I said before that I thought Palmer might be the guy. That looks increasingly unlikely, so feel free to chastise away. But I’m still putting him on the list because his connections to the team and the owner, and his desire and heart, are too strong to ignore. It’s a possibility at least.

7. Buck Martinez (100-1)
Buck’s odds are so long because I heard him say on the radio tonight that he’s basically got no interest in the job. If I hadn’t heard that I would have put it at something more like 30-1. He knows the players, knows the organization, and has a wealth of experience. Hiring him would make a certain kind of sense, but at this point I don’t expect it.

8. Someone Else (150-1)
Since the Orioles don’t really talk much about their process, who really knows what’s in store?

I’m heartened by the moves they’ve made so far, and I think a long-overdue, fundamental change is finally underway. But I’ve been wrong before.

6 comments to Handicapping the Managerial Hunt

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I want to present an even-handed take on the situation (which won’t include such craaaaazy angles as Jim Palmer). I like that both Girardi and Johnson are well thought-of in the warehouse, even though the last guy who managed us from the Yankees was a putz. Let’s remember that one of the big problems with Lee Mazzilli was how he told guys to do stuff because “that’s how it was done on the yankees”. I’m not saying Girardi would do that, but he seems to really dig how the Yankees do stuff. But, I’ve heard him on YES (the Yankees Entertainment and Sports television network), and he’s a smart guy. He’d definitely be able to do something better than what we’ve seen.

    I’m not a fan of the idea that he’s such a great manager that he should be able to pick and choose what jobs he takes and that going to Orioles would be a step down for him, and he’d be wasting his talent (I’ve heard this from oh so many Yankees fans and even a handful of Red Sox fans, who want to see him in Baltimore…douchebags). He’s got one semi-successful season under his belt! Sigh…

    Anyway, Davey Johnson or Joe Girardi are both great picks, if only for two reasons:
    1) They are so different from Perlozzo and Hargrove and Miller and, from what I know, Mazzilli, in that they are more firey and as has been put, “they take less shit from everyone” – which is I think the big problem with Sammy. He couldn’t get the team to be firey and do little things like run out ground balls or pay attention when on base. Johnson, especially, would take pride in wearing blacka nd orange, and I think that would translate down, like what Jim Leyland has done in Detroit – making his players really proud of wearing that old-school ‘D’.
    2) Sentimentally speaking, we can’t overlook the idea that the warehouse, and Peter Angelos, are basically saying that the last decade was, in fact, completely their fault. The message is loud and clear: “We fired Davey Johnson, and we haven’t won since, and we realize that the losing is on us because we fucked it up.”. That’s REALLY important, given who Peter Angelos is. What’s next, them putting Baltimore on the jerseys and apologizing that it wasn’t done 20 years ago?

  • sci

    Wow. A brutal assessment of the O’s by John Donovan on cnnsi.com. That may be one of the bleakest articles on a sports team I’ve ever read, if not the bleakest.

    Are we really 29th of the 30 farm systems? Still? That can’t be…

    I’m hoping, with Andrew, that Angelos is admitting his system (and it is his own invented system) is fucked up. The MacPhail hiring shows that in some way he is admitting it. We’ll see. I think these moves, on the face of it, are definitely good things. Time will tell.

    I think it’s obviously Girardi as first choice, then if he rejects them it’s probably Dusty Baker. MacPhail knows him.

  • Mike L

    joe girardi…ok, i really dont think davey johnson is coming back. the whole reason he was let go is angelos didnt like him in the first place. and secondly angelos has too big an ego to to go to someone he doesnt like and admit he was wrong, and say “we need you. please come back.” firey mangers seem to get it done lately, i.e. ozzie guillen, jim leyland, and girardi’s one yerar of success. considering the team he had. and i am really not sold on dusty baker. i dont know why. but i just see him being another mike hargrove. a good manager, but just wont get it done. but instead of johnson lets go back even futher…

    Whats earl weaver up to these days. you wanna put fans back in the stands, bring that ol’ no.4 outta retirement, and put the fire back in the team. so hes gotta be pushing 75, 80 years old, but it would be nice. the opitomy of orioles magic. i’m sure earl still knows how to get tossed out of a game or two.

    i think john kruk has a better chance of being hired than weaver coming back, but it would be nice. did anyone else see krukies rant on the o’s on sportscenter this moning. i hope girardi wasnt watching cause he might change his mind if he is thinking about coming here. things along the lines of “no one in their right mind should take that job. you couldnt pay me enough to take that job. we stand no chance in a divison with the yanks and sox, especially being dead last in home runs and runs scored.”

    the hits just keep on coming. we get the luxury of facing 8-1 jake peavy with an astounding 1.82 era tonight. awesome. go get em dave.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Yeah, the Orioles hate is on real thick in all the major sports outlets. What do you expect, though? These guys know that to get ratings, they have to broadcast exactly two teams: the Yankees and the Red Sox. Add a little Mets, a little Barry Bonds, and a touch of whoever was in the playoffs last, and that’s all you need for solid ratings. Mostly though, like 95% of their audience, wants to hear about the Yankees and Red Sox. But there’s a certain professional dilemma that they should be covering the good teams. So, they’ll root for the Yankees and Red Sox and throw shit at their hypothetical rivals, if anything at all. It doesn’t hurt that they’re based in the New England/New York area.

    I’m not saying we, or anybody else in this division, is up to the standards of the Red Sox or the Yankees (right now, anyway). I just take those opinions with the grain of salt they deserve.

    I thought of something else, too. Remember the Free the Birds rally where all of Angelos’ big mistakes were put on a sign and taped to Babe Ruth? One of them was getting rid of Mike Mussina (and I’d imagine B.J. Ryan fits that category, as well), which was pointing out how he interfered with signing/trade decisions. So MacPhail is hired to presumably to that for him. Another was firing Jon Miller, so another well-respected broadcaster with no thought of cheerleading is brought in in Gary Thorpe (who I’ve really enjoyed). And let’s not forget, firing Davey Johnson, and now we hear that the two guys Angelos et al. want most are two Davey Johnson-esque managers.

    I think I’m seeing a very slight pattern here (you have to look through my rose tinted glasses to see it, admittedly, but tell me where I’m wrong)

  • danny

    Cal anybody.
    WHy noT

  • jr

    I think Trembley is the best bet, at least for the rest of the season. Why? He knows the players and they know him. But even more important, he knows how to play “small ball” as he has shown the past few nights. He does not sit back and wait for the extra base hits, he pushes each player to get on first, steal second (or go on a hit and run), scratches for each hit and run. That is what we need – a guy not afraid to take risks, one that will demand every player contribute. Run out every pop fly, pay attention when on base, think ahead, play the “old oriole way”!

    Jim Palmer would be nice; he knows the game as well as anyone around but could he stand players that do not put out 100% of what they are capable of ?

    Why hasn’t anyone mentioned Cal? What I said above goes for Ripkin also.