Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Big offseason looms for Orioles, but will anyone care?

In the week or so following the tragic news of Mike Flanagan's suicide, reports came out about GM Andy MacPhail stepping down after his contract expires at the end of the 2011 season. MacPhail himself has been silent on the issue, but the reports were picked up by USA Today and CBS Sports so they look to be accurate. Then came Keith Law's tweet about Director of Scouting Joe Jordan stepping down as well. Needless to say, it was a brutal week for Orioles fans. And all of it could be tied back to Angelos in many ways.

By now we've heard all the theories about Flanagan's death and the role Angelos may or may not have had in pushing Flanagan to commit suicide. But the more damning news is that MacPhail doesn't want to come back and continue what he called his "dream job" upon being hired. Until recently, it seemed like all was kosher between MacPhail and Angelos, with Big Pete dropping sound-bytes like "Andy isn't going anywhere". But it seems that a wedge has been driven between then, and not Eric Wedge, the manager that MacPhail wanted to take over for Juan Samuel last season. Angelos wanted Showalter, and as you can see, Showalter is the current manager of the team and confidant to Angelos.

Jordan on the other hand is a more curious situation. He's had some questionable drafts (Matt Hobgood) and some first round draft picks that didn't pan out (Billy Rowell) but one has to wonder the role that the Player Development John Stockstill has played in Jordan's resignation. After all, Jordan can only select players in the draft. After that, it's up to Stockstill to harvest the juice from the fruit, and the Orioles are notorious for their spotty player development.

So with these two job openings needing to be filled this offseason, it could be a busy winter in Baltimore, especially if these two major departures lead to an organization-wide overhaul of personnel.

But does anyone care?

Last time I checked, Peter Angelos still owns the team. He'll likely hire one of his good ol boy friends like John Hart or promote someone within the organization like Matt Klentak, current Director of Baseball Operations. From what I have heard of Klentak, he would be a good candidate for the job. However, as long as Angelos is the owner, one has to assume that Klentak (as well as any GM) would have to maneuver through Angelos' mine field of restrictions. Case in point: Angelos' refusal to allow MacPhail fire Dave Stockstill (John's brother) when MacPhail took over as GM in 2007. Instead, Stockstill was exiled to International Scouting. Maybe that is a less than desirable position in Baltimore, but the rest of baseball hires intelligent and forward-thinking people for that position, not people who are about to be fired.

What's even worse, is the thought of one of Angelos' confidants like Dave or John Stockstill being promoted to GM, or someone like Rick Dempsey. Angelos has a fondness for these people, so nothing would surprise me at this point.

So as this season winds down, and GM candidates are discussed for the Orioles, I don't think you'll find many Orioles fans who give a shit. We've been through this song and dance before, several times, and it always ends the same way.

Remember the feeling you have right now, O's fans. Because in a few years, you'll likely feel it again.

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