Monday, October 10, 2011

Hoping that the unorthadox can work

With Andy MacPhail officially no longer the Orioles GM, and Buck Showalter staying in the dugout, a new GM will need to be hired. And the sooner the better since the postseason will be complete in a little over two weeks. To say the Orioles have a lot of work to do this offseason is an understatement.

But the question of who will hire this new GM is tricky. One would hope that it is Buck Showalter who is involved in the process, and that he hires the best candidate based on their vision and determination to put a winning team on the field. Peter Angelos is proved time and time again that he cannot make the important decisions that result in the Orioles improving their record. He hires "yes men". And in Andy MacPhail, Angelos hired a GM who was not going to spend a lot of money on free agents, international signings or draft picks.

But therein lies the rub. If you look at a baseball front office as a hierarchy, and you should, since that is how they usually exist, the GM is the second most powerful person in the front office. So why would Showalter, a manager, be involved in the decision to hire his boss?

I believe that a GM and a manager should be equals in most ways, the same way an accounting manager and a sales manager would be viewed as equals in a company. They represent two different departments. But baseball is baseball and the Orioles are the Orioles, and GM's are the ones who make most of the decisions about baseball operations -- including who the manager should be.

So why would a GM want to come to Baltimore when he is hired by one of his subordinates? Why would a GM want to come to Baltimore where he's forced to keep Showalter on as manager? Why would a GM want to come to Baltimore when the word on the street is that Showalter is Angelos' favorite and have to contend with that preexisting relationship?

These are the confusing and cumbersome situations that have been created time and time against under Angelos. In the past, he's muddied the chain of command, hiring several people to do a similar job, which has only resulted in backstabbing and general chaos in the front office. At least under MacPhail, there was one person who was the lightning rod for the organization. MacPhail had his flaws, no doubt, but at least the Orioles appeared to be a little more well run while he was the GM. Especially when it came to trades. MacPhail was able to pull the trigger quickly, whereas previous GM's had to get Angelos' approval, which could take days, killing most deals.

But as the Orioles start to interview GM candidates, we're left to hope that the unorthodox process of a manager hiring a GM can work. Because from a fan's perspective, Peter Angelos is the last person who should be hiring people.

And that's what Orioles fans are left with -- hoping against hope that something positive can still come out of an Orioles organization that still has Peter Angelos as its owner.

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