The Baltimore Orioles are making previous managerial experience a priority in their search for a new manager.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports that the Orioles have bandied around former Orioles manage Davey Johnson's name, but an interview may not happen. Heyman says that Johnson is happy in his current position as an advisor with the Nationals and as manager of USA baseball, while some Orioles officials feel that it is not appropriate to look to the past as a solution.
Johnson helmed the Orioles during their glory days in 1996 and 1997, compiling a cumulative 186-136 record. He won the World Series as manager of the Mets in 1986. He hasn't managed in the majors since a two- year stint with the Dodgers ending in 2000.
President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has interviewed former Indians manager Eric Wedge and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine in a search MacPhail says may take the entire season or longer. MacPhail is also expected to interview Mets scout Bob Melvin, formerly of the Mariners and Diamondbacks. Buck Showalter will also speak to MacPhail.
Valentine has been one of the most sought-after managers in recent years after returning from a successful stint as manager of the Chiba-Lotte Marines from 2004-09. He has 13 years experience managing in the majors and took the Mets to the World Series in 2000. He has turned down other managing opportunities and seems to be waiting for the right situation. MacPhail admits that may not be Baltimore.
"Let's be honest, I'm not sure this gig's for everyone," MacPhail told Heyman. "We may have more interest in some guys than they have in us.''
Melvin and Showalter may not be as picky. Melvin was expected to be the successor to Jerry Manuel in New York before the Mets' recent turnaround that sees them a half-game out of first place, but Melvin certainly wants to get back into managing and was a catcher back from 1989-91 with the O's.
Showalter is an accomplished manager with the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers on his resume. His tenure with the Yankees proved he can build up a team in a big city with George Steinbrenner breathing down his neck. He also has experience assembling a team from the ground up, being Arizona's first manager. Unfortunately for Showalter, his final year with both teams was the year prior to each team (1996 for New York, 2001 for Arizona) winning the World Series.
"He got the Yankees going, and he got Arizona going,'' a baseball executive pointed out to Heyman. "He's known as a control freak. But maybe they need some control over there.''
The Orioles are currently 30 games under .500 at 18-48 and are on pace to lose 118 games. Whoever takes the O's over will have quite a tall task on their hands, albeit with clear talent. Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman are future frontline starters while the offense boasts Adam Jones and Matt Wieters among its young nucleus.
-- Evan Brunell
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