Baltimore Orioles Rumors: What we know about the front office search
By Tim Smart
It’s been over a month since Executive VP Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter were dismissed, but the Baltimore Orioles are still without a front office, and they’re currently operating in stealth mode. Is the fact that the Orioles are working quietly a good thing for the organization?
We don’t know when the Baltimore Orioles will hire new leadership within the front office, and we’re not entirely sure what title(s) will be given to the new hires when they get here. Initially, the Orioles seemed poised to hire a President of Baseball Operations and a General Manager, but there’s a chance that the new top executive won’t be qualified for the President title, given the slew of names who’ve been connected to the open positions.
At this point, there are at least eight people who seem to be in serious consideration for the open positions in the Orioles front office, two of whom would seemingly be qualified for a top exec position, and four who’d be more qualified for a GM role.
The two big names are Blue Jays Vice President of Baseball Operations Ben Cherington, and former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti.
Cherington previously served as General Manager for the Red Sox from 2011-2015 and helped lead the team to the 2013 World Series Championship. Colletti served as the Dodgers General Manager from 2006-2014; the team never won a World Series under Colletti, but their .537 winning percentage during that time was good for third-best in the National League.
The six other names allegedly in the mix right now are Phillies Assistant GM Ned Rice, Tigers Assistant GM David Chadd, Astros Assistant GM Mike Elias, MLB Diversity Pipeline Director Tyrone Brooks, Senior VP of Baseball Operations for MLB Kim Ng, and Athletics Assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz.
Rice’s name might be familiar to you as he was an Orioles staffer for 11 years, most recently serving as Director of Major League administration; as a familiar face within the organization, we can see why Rice’s name might be intriguing to some.
Both Elias and Kantrovitz would be coming from analytics-forward organizations in the Astros and the A’s. We know the Orioles research & development and scouting departments are understaffed and quite lacking, considering MLB standards in 2018; both could potentially provide a massive informational boost to an organization long deprived of it.
Brooks spent significant time with the Braves and Indians in the late-90’s and 2000’s before becoming the Director of Baseball Personnel for the Pirates in 2009. Chadd has served as a scouting director for both the Marlins and the Red Sox, and currently works in Detroit as an Assistant GM.
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Ng is a wildcard; she interviewed for the Giants GM job earlier this offseason but wasn’t offered the position. It’s not clear that the Orioles have interviewed her, nor that she’d be interested in the position but she’s certainly qualified for the GM job in Baltimore. Ng is widely regarded as a smart baseball mind, and would seem to fit in Baltimore if given the opportunity.
The common denominator with all of the names here besides Colletti and Cherington is that they’re seemingly more suitable for the role of General Manager, rather than a top executive position such as President or Executive VP of Baseball Operations.
One big thing snag here is that with this process, you’d assume that the Orioles would hire a new top executive; what the given title would be isn’t particularly important. But you’d expect that person to have a significant say in the people appointed to the positions below them. Hypothetical: if Cherington were hired as Pres. of Baseball Ops, we’d expect that Cherington would play a massive role in the hiring of a new GM and manager.
What the Orioles seem to be doing is interviewing candidates for both jobs at the same time, which, admittedly is a bit strange. It wouldn’t make sense for them to hire Elias as their new GM, then a week later announce that Colletti is their new Executive VP; they’d just be undercutting the new top exec, which would be a terrible way to start this rebuild.
One other big question mark is the presence of current Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson. On one hand, Anderson wasn’t present at the GM meetings this week in California, suggesting the Orioles ownership group are serious about the new top executive having complete autonomy with baseball decisions. There were always questions about the front office in Baltimore with both Duquette and Anderson behind the scenes; it appears the Orioles are seeking to change that perception.
I’ve never been a supporter of Anderson, but that’s more than likely because I wasn’t partial to the idea of two top executives overseeing the baseball operations department; I’m more on the side of autonomy than collaboration. Anderson surely knows his way around the Orioles organization at this point, and there are surely positive aspects to retaining his contract, but if he stays, I’m of the opinion that he needs to be more of a special assistant, rather than a decision maker.
We also know that the Orioles have generally been open about these types of organizational processes in the past, but the fact that they’re mostly shrouded in mystery right now might be a good thing for them. Yes, we want the Orioles to make these hires. But with the state of the organization right now, as fans we want the Orioles to be absolutely sure they’re making the right decision.
If it takes John and Louis Angelos a couple extra weeks to ensure they’ve been completely thorough in their interview process, then by all means they should take those extra couple weeks. This is, after all, a massive decision; the future of the Orioles quite literally hangs in the balance here.
It may be frustrating that the Orioles are taking a long time with the interview process, but more than likely it’ll be for the best. It’s a positive sign that the Orioles are taking this decision seriously; they obviously don’t want to rush into this, and they want to ensure they make the right choice.
As fans, we want the same thing. We want new hires who can help the Orioles build out the research and development department. We want an analytics-forward management group who will do a better job collecting data, and translating that data into information for coaches and players. Player development has been a major issue for the Orioles over the past few years; there’s massive room for improvement here.
Whoever the Orioles hire will have their work cut out for them. And we may have to wait another couple weeks to find out just who that is. But we have to assume that the wait is for the best, that the Orioles will put the right people in charge of this rebuild.