The Baltimore Orioles are rumored to be parting ways with manager Buck Showalter at the end of the 2018 season. We may be disappointed with how this season played out, and some of us may want Showalter’s time to be up, but we can surely acknowledge his success during his time in Baltimore
On Friday afternoon, USA Today writer Bob Nightengale tweeted that Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter is expected to be dismissed at the end of this season, and that GM Dan Duquette will likely receive an extension from the club.
I’m going to handle the two implications separately, and focus on Showalter here.
We all kind of expected this would be the case, with the Orioles suffering through their worst season in team history, but there hasn’t been any official news from the Baltimore front office on the matter as of yet. This is all just rumor.
But if it is the case, and Showalter is out after September, we can surely acknowledge that Showalter’s time in Baltimore was a success.
Hired in August of 2010 to replace the previously fired Dave Tremblay and the then-currently failing Juan Samuel, Showalter coached the Orioles to a 34-23 record to finish out the season; a dismal one for the Orioles in which they finished at 66-96.
Showalter helped take the Orioles from last place in the AL East in 2010 and 2011 to the playoffs in 2012, their first postseason appearance since 1997.
In 2014, Buck led the team to their first division title since 1997, took the team to the ALCS, and won the 2014 American League manager of the year.
He led the Orioles once more to the postseason in 2016, where they suffered a tough loss in the wild-card round to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Many have speculated that his misuse of the Orioles’ bullpen in the 2016 wild-card game led to his demise in Baltimore, with many players criticizing him about his choice to not put closer Zach Britton on the mound in the 11th inning. Showalter instead went with Ubaldo Jimenez, who gave up the game winning homer a few minutes later to Edwin Encarnacion.
If this is truly the end for Showalter, it’s a tough way to go out. With the Orioles record currently at 44-108, he’s on the hook for the worst season in franchise history, despite being the best Orioles manager over the past 20 years.
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Prior to this season, he was on pace to become the first Orioles manager to post an above-.500 winning percentage since Davey Johnson in the mid-1990’s.
However the record this year has pushed his record with the Orioles to .496, without enough games left in the season to get back over that .500 mark.
We’ll be focusing on the potential re-signing of General Manager Dan Duquette in the coming days, and we’ll certainly be evaluating potential managerial candidates in the next few weeks.
But for now, as bad as this season has been, we can appreciate Buck Showalter for what he did in Baltimore.
He helped bring back meaningful baseball to fans who were without it for over a decade. And for that, we can be thankful.