Now that Tony LaCava has turned down the Orioles' general manager job, who will get it instead?
Better question: Who would want it?
LaCava was very kind in his public remarks Tuesday, claiming in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that his decision "was about the Toronto Blue Jays more than it is anything about the Baltimore Orioles." And it's true that LaCava is very comfortable in his job with the Jays, where he has the title of vice president and works closely with general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
It's also true, according to multiple sources inside and outside the Orioles organization, that this was very much about the Orioles, and that it helps expose some of the problems that exist in owner Peter Angelos' regime at Camden Yards.
Specifically, those sources said, LaCava wanted to clear out some long-term front-office people whose jobs have been protected by Angelos. Angelos refused to do that, even though he was willing to pay LaCava a competitive salary and to bring in other front-office people that LaCava wanted to hire (including Mike Berger, currently the director of pro scouting with the Diamondbacks).
The Orioles GM job is a difficult one, one rival executive said, because Angelos is such a force from above, manager Buck Showalter exerts strong influence from below, and the Orioles play in the tough American League East. People who know LaCava said that Showalter (who has taken part in the interview process) was never an issue, and LaCava already works in the American League East.
That leaves Angelos.
So who gets the Orioles job now?
It won't be LaCava, and it won't be Jerry Dipoto, who interviewed with the Orioles before taking the general manager job with the Angels. And, according to sources, it's very unlikely to be either De Jon Watson or John Stockstill, the only two other candidates interviewed before LaCava was offered the job.
One official said that the Orioles have already set up more interviews this week, but he wouldn't say who was coming in. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reported that the O's have asked permission to talk to officials from the White Sox, Rays, Phillies and Twins, and Dan Connolly of the Sun reported that Phillies assistant Scott Proefrock (a former Orioles assistant) will interview Thursday.
With the free-agent signing period beginning Thursday, and with the major-league general managers scheduled to meet starting Nov. 15 in Milwaukee, there's more pressure than ever on the Orioles to get someone in place quickly.
The problem, more obvious than it ever was before, is that too many potential candidates regard the Orioles job as a bad one. And the way the general manager search has been conducted has only added to that perception.
It was clear that Dipoto strongly preferred the job with the Angels, and it's now clear that LaCava preferred remaining in Toronto as an assistant to getting the bigger title (and better pay) with the Orioles.
Eventually, the Orioles will find a general manager. But how far down their list will they need to reach?