In contrast to their roster of mostly underachieving kids, the Orioles have assembled a list of experienced, accomplished managers as prime candidates to replace the recently fired
Johnson, who took the Orioles to the playoffs in 1996 and '97 but hasn't managed in the majors since 2000, is surely the most intriguing new name of the group. But Melvin, who managed the Diamondbacks, Showalter (Yankees, D-backs and Rangers), and Wedge (Indians) are all more likely to accept an offer. Melvin is said to have a positive connection to Orioles owner
Speaking candidly about the last-place Orioles' current struggles and their recent history that includes zero winning seasons in the past 12 years, club president
It's clear that the Orioles favor big-time experience after going with rookies in their last three choices as manager --
Some have heard the Orioles may move quickly on this, but while MacPhail has already set up interviews with several viable candidates, he said there's no timetable and he hasn't even started with all the candidates currently connected to teams (that would include Melvin, a Mets scout who appeared to be
As for the names who have leaked so far, Valentine has been pursued to one degree or another for nearly every managerial opening the past few years, and his seemingly lukewarm stance toward the Indians job last winter leaves the impression he may wait for something closer to his optimum. With uncertainty surrounding potentially more desirable jobs such as the Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Brewers, it's hard to imagine Valentine jumping at the Orioles opportunity. One competing exec said he thought the free-wheeling Valentine and the buttoned-down MacPhail would make an unlikely pairing. And yet another competing GM said, "I can't imagine Valentine and Angelos working together. Bobby would be perfect for the Cubs job if they decide to make a change. He could be the manager and
Johnson's name is perhaps the most interesting to be bandied around the Orioles' backrooms. Angelos has mostly fond recollections of his days with Johnson and is said to be feeling pangs of remorse over losing him 13 years ago in a silly contract squabble. But people familiar with the situation say that while Johnson feels an intense connection with the Orioles and Baltimore, he's at a stage in his life where he's unlikely to jump at the job. Beyond that, Angelos' underlings don't appear as anxious to turn the clock back now, anyway. One person familiar with the Orioles' thinking about him said, "It's not 1997 anymore."
Johnson appeared to have a real shot at an interview three years ago with then-Orioles honchos
The 67-year-old Johnson, who played for the Orioles from 1965-1972, has extremely strong ties to the city (even stronger than in New York, where Johnson managed the Mets to the 1986 world championship). He is said by friends to be enjoying his advisory role with the Nationals, his managerial duties for USA baseball and his nice family set-up in Orlando, and would only consider a managerial job under the most perfect of circumstances.
Johnson isn't the only big name from a bygone era that's been thrown out there. MacPhail is a former exec with the Twins and Cubs, so it's no surprise that former Minnesota manager
While the much younger Showalter (who is 54), Melvin (48) and Wedge (42), are accomplished in their own right, they may not be as picky. And actually, Showalter would appear to be a decent fit. He has the rep for being very proficient with start-up situations as the manager of the expansion D-backs and was able to navigate
Here are some other definite and possible managerial openings for 2011.
Their bosses privately tell folks they worry about
Gonzalez doesn't seem to be as appreciated as he should be by owner
There are all sorts of crazy rumors out there. One thing's for sure, GM
• Mariners GM
• Some believe Seattle will seek a catching prospect -- though there are a few needs there. If so, the Twins, with top catching prospect
• The Mets appear more likely to seek a starter than a reliever, though they could reverse course there. The initial guess is that they wouldn't spend the $30 million for
• The starting pitcher market has a few other arms, such as Baltimore's
• The initial number going around for No. 1 overall draft choice
• Chipper Jones deserves praise for confronting reality and understanding it may be time to retire. He's had a great career and it's a true blessing to know when to go out, too.
• Condolences to the family of longtime Dodgers and Red Sox scout Jerry