Wednesday, August 31, 2011
CBS: MacPhail will not re-sign with Orioles
According to this article, MacPhail will walk away from his job as GM of the Orioles at the end of the season. That's when his contract expires, but reports are that MacPhail will not seek to re-sign with the team.
The most interesting line in the article is that "MacPhail and Angelos were fed up with each other". Hmmm...really? Could there really be in-fighting in the front office of the Baltimore Orioles? Could someone really be fed up with Peter Angelos?
The most shocking revelation is that Angelos was "fed up" with MacPhail, who was hired in 2007 to take over for Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette. Oriole fans and media alike thought it was a good fit, for better or worse. During his time with the Cubs, MacPhail never spent a lot of money on free agents, made some conservative trades while occasionally making a "risky" move. So it was clear that MacPhail would work within Angelos' comfort zone when he was hired by the Orioles. But right off the bat, MacPhail opened eyes by trading away the O's two best players: Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard.
The trades were universally praised by O's fans and the baseball world even though the returns on those trades have diminished somewhat since. But since those trades took place during the offseason before the 2008 season, MacPhail has been on cruise control for the most part -- acquiring former Cubs reclamation projects like Felix Pie, Jake Fox and Rich Hill and signing expensive bullpen pitchers like Mike Gonzalez and Kevin Gregg, guys who weren't worth their contracts. He made the occasional good move, trading bullpen arms in David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio for Mark Reynolds, who leads the Orioles with 31 home runs and trading JJ Hardy for Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson, who MacPhail signed to a three-year extension.
But Angelos being "fed up" with MacPhail can only mean one thing: and that's probably proof that MacPhail wanted to do more. The one knock against MacPhail was that he was too slow, too methodical. And that may still be true. But if Angelos is "fed up" with you, that probably means you wanted to do too much: Make a risky move, trade away a fan favorite or invest a lot of money in the minor leagues or internationally. This was, after all, MacPhail's self-admitted "dream job". You have to think that someone who felt that way wanted to do more than what MacPhail did as GM.
Within the last few months or year, MacPhail seemed defensive when he was questioned about his moves by the media. He basically admitted that the modern state of baseball had passed him by when he went on a rant about spending big money on international prospects such as Miguel Sano. And those were probably MacPhail's words, which is why I am somewhat relieved that MacPhail will not be coming back. But his defensiveness probably reflects some of the stress he was under from Angelos. We'll only be left to wonder what really happened. But we do know that MacPhail wanted to hire former Indians manager Eric Wedge, and Angelos wanted Showalter. We know who won that battle. And this past offseason, reports are that it was Angelos who pushed to sign former slugger Vladimir Guerrero, ponying up $8 million to sign the future Hall of Famer who has struggled mightily in Baltimore.
But one thing is for sure. And that is Angelos is still the #1 problem in Baltimore. In Flanagan and MacPhail he had two men for whom being GM of the Baltimore Orioles was a dream job. And what are we left with? One of those men just took his life and the other is willing to walk away from his job.
The circus in Baltimore will never leave town as long as Peter Angelos is the owner. So while people will be interested to see who takes over for MacPhail as GM, it won't matter one bit. They won't be allowed to execute their vision and in three or four years, we'll be right back where we are now.
It's actually ironic when you think about it. The Orioles. The O's. The letter "O" is a circle. The number zero is close. The vicious circle continues.
Round and round we go.