Baltimore Orioles: Are nearby management changes a preview of 2018?
The AL East and a close neighbor will have new managers in the 2018 season as the Baltimore Orioles skipper approaches the end of his contract.
With all these changes nearby, Baltimore Orioles are fortunate not to have a major change in management.
Buck Showalter will be entering his 20th year as a baseball manager. He completed his eighth year running the Orioles clubhouse. In his 19 years, four were with the New York Yankees, three with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and four with the Texas Rangers.
Showalter is a highly regarded manager with three Manager of the Year Awards on his shelf. He won them in 1994, 2004, and 2014. He finished second in the voting in 1993 and 2012. In 2016, he finished third in the voting.
Changes in the AL East managerial staffs
Joe Girardi, who was one game away from bringing his young Yankees team to the World Series, was let go of his managerial spot on Thursday. In his second year as the manager, he led the team to a World Series win in 2009, so his status change shocked the baseball world.
John Farrell was let go by the Boston Red Sox earlier in the month. In his first year, he led the Red Sox to the 2013 World Series win and in his fifth and final season with the team, he led them to the ALDS, losing to the Houston Astros in four games. His firing was not as big of a surprise as Girardi’s was due to conflicts with Dave Dombrowski. Farrell has since been replaced by Alex Cora who was the bench coach with the Astros.
The Nats are without a manager
In nearby Washington DC, the Nationals are also without a manager after Dusty Baker was let go, too. He also brought his team to the playoffs in 2017 but lost in the NLDS to the Chicago Cubs, who lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Baker’s firing was even more surprising as the Nationals are in a position that is similar to the Orioles.
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Both DC-area teams have several young, talented players who will be free agents at the end of 2018. Wouldn’t it have been better to let Baker continue to lead them to the post season for one more year? Unfortunately for Baker and the Nats, his contract was over and the team chose not to renew it.
All were playoff managers
The big surprise about all of these changes on the East Coast is that all three of these highly respected managers took their teams to the playoffs in 2017.
After finishing at the bottom of the AL East, Showalter appears to be safe in his spot for 2018. In fact, it appears that all of the coaching spots are intact for 2018, although around the league pitching coaches, hitting coaches, and bench coaches are moving like chess pieces.
How much longer will Showalter be around?
Showalter’s contract with the Orioles lasts through the 2018 season. And, at the end of the upcoming season, several top players including Manny Machado and Zach Britton will be free agents. Unless the Orioles do some major changes in 2018, they are unlikely to contend for a playoff berth. He will still have to lead his team against the Red Sox and Yankees. And, they are stacked with young guns and new sabermetrics managers.
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Showalter is considered an “old school” manager where the new school is taking over. The Skipper is highly revered for his experience and temperament in the dugout. Despite this, 2018 could be the last time that he dons the Oriole Bird. As the rest of the league goes, the Orioles could be soon to follow.