MacPhail Decides On Future With Orioles

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has reached a decision about his future with the team, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Two high-ranking Orioles officials told Nightengale that they expect MacPhail to walk away without pursuing an extension.  Said MacPhail to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun: "You can get two sources to say the moon is made of green cheese."  He told Nightengale, "Let's just get to the end of the year.  And see what unfolds. We'll see. We'll see."

The Orioles have brought several GM candidates up internally, according to Nightengale. GM Brian Cashman, whose contract with the Yankees expires after the season, tops Baltimore’s list, according to Nightengale. Orioles manager Buck Showalter says he’s not interested in moving to the GM’s office, but he’s expected to have a role in the team's decision.


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46 Comments on "MacPhail Decides On Future With Orioles"


3 years 11 months ago

My “wish” list:

Cashman
Ng
Levine
Ripken
Byrnes

Lookouts400
3 years 11 months ago

Why Ripken?  He has no experience whatsoever running a baseball team.  He’s never been in a front office, never done anything. I cannot think of a worse choice for the Orioles. 

Stephen J. Puopolo
3 years 11 months ago

Although he doesn’t have any Front Office experience, from what I’d been reading he does have an eye for spotting talent. If that’s the case then him working with Buck might actually get the team back on top sooner than later. Also if I remember, even as an owner of the Ironbirds he’s got experience with day to day operations that would help him.

3 years 11 months ago

Agreed.  With all of it.

niched
3 years 11 months ago

Being a GM isn’t just about spotting talent. Teams have scouts to do that. The other big part of being a GM is the ability negotiate and about being able to recognize value (either in a trade or in signings).  MacPhail has shown he is a very skilled negotiator and when it comes to trades, but he hasn’t shown much in the way of signing free agents.  

MacPhail’s problem isn’t so much his skills as a GM as much as it’s his conservative philosophy of rebuilding doesn’t really work unless he is allowed to take his time to rebuild the franchise from top to bottom and hire who he wants (like Andrew Friedman is able to do in Tampa). Neither Angelos nor the O’s fan base are patient enough to let that happen. What MacPhail needed to do was sign more quality free agents, but he didn’t either because free agents don’t want to come to Baltimore or because MacPhail wasn’t skilled at persuading them (and paying them enough) to come to Baltimore.

People can criticize MacPhail all they want, but it’s hard to see another GM doing what he needs to do with Angelos as owner of the team — unless someone with the clout of a Brian Cashman comes in.  The idea that Cal Ripken would make a good GM seems very dubious to me.  Ripken certainly has clout. I could see some top free agents seriously considering signing with Baltimore if Ripken were heading up the team. But I doubt Cal ever had to sit in a room with a bunch of sharks like Scott Boras or other MLB GMs and try and extract the most value out of a trade or a free agent signing.  Superstars like Cal never had to fight or negotiate for anything off the field.  Guys like Cal get everything for free.  But a GM doesn’t get anything for free.  He has to be very strong with other skilled negotiators.  Hence the sad irony of Peter Angelos, who is one of the best negotiators in the world but unfortunately knows little about how to build a franchise of talented baseball players.

The_Porcupine
3 years 11 months ago

Saying he needed to sign more free agents is the antithesis of rebuilding.  Would the Orioles be any closer to contending with Teixeira and Burnett on the team?  No.  And a team has to have rebuilt itself enough to entice free agents to come to them.  The Orioles haven’t been enticing for a free agent in a while.

And what does “a conservative philosophy for rebuilding” mean exactly? 

I agree with most of your point.  Simply put, the Baltimore area is not patient enough to wait for a full rebuilding process, though I don’t think Angelos has been as much of a problem during McPhail’s tenure.  It takes time to rebuild as one wave of high upside prospects isn’t enough to launch a team into contention.  You need at least 2-3 waves of prospects because some of the first wave won’t pan out.  Orioles fans pinned all their hope on Matusz, Britton, Tillman, etc. and none have really made it yet (though Britton looks good and the door hasn’t closed on Matusz yet).  I think most baseball people will tell you only 1 out of three top prospects make reach their potentional, so should Baltimore expect any different?

To me the biggest problem is being in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees.  No I’m not piling on hate to those frachises.  But you pretty much have to wait for one of those teams to have an off year and hope that your team is in the right place to capitalize on the opportunity. 

niched
3 years 11 months ago

“Saying he needed to sign more free agents is the antithesis of rebuilding.  Would the Orioles be any closer to contending with Teixeira and Burnett on the team?”

At the beginning of this year the O’s saw themselves as a team at the end of the rebuild phase, not in the middle of it. And really, if 2 of Britton, Matusz and Arrietta had great seasons this year, then hell yeah they’d  be a lot closer to contending, maybe even actually contending if they had someone like Teixeira also on the team.  Obviously Burnett does not help them much because he’s not pitching well.  Britton, Matusz and Arrietta all could still be really good. Or maybe only two of them will be good, but like you suggest the O’s have to do something because there’s no guarantee any of them will be an ace or even a #2 or #3.

The O’s could do what the Pirates did and just trade any veteran they can of any value for top young prospects (i.e., Adam Jones, JJ Hardy, Markakis, Guthrie, etc).  But they could also take a hybrid approach and build with mid-tier free agents and by trading only one or two of a Jones, Hardy, Markakis, Guthrie, etc., and also become more aggressive in international development and scouting.  It doesn’t have to be only one approach or the other.  It can be a mix of both.  I think they should trade Hardy and Jones because they have the most value in a trade, but keep Markakis, Reynolds and Guthrie because what they’d bring in a trade isn’t enough compared to their value on the field.  But even if they did trade Jones and Hardy, they could still go after quality free agents.  If the O’s were able to trade Jones for, say, a couple of pitchers from the Braves, then those players may be able to contribute right away.  In which case good free agents may be more attracted to the O’s now and not just a year or two from now.

“And what does “a conservative philosophy for rebuilding” mean exactly?”

His “grow the arms and buy the bats” philosophy, where he buys more through trades than on the free agent market, is what I was alluding to. I think most people agree MacPhail is quite conservative in his style as a GM. Too conservative for most.

Lookouts400
3 years 11 months ago

He’s usually not anywhere near the Ironbirds. He’s not involved in the day to day ops, besides, player acquisitions for the minor leagues is done by the parent club.

Ripken’s existence consists of making appearances and trying to build his youth baseball academies. 

3 years 11 months ago

An eye for talent? Like forcing the team to hire his dad as manager, and for years, Billy in the infield?  He also had a reputation behind the scenes, as being all alone in the clubhouse, especially during the streak- staying in a separate hotel apart from the team, not being a team player. Not sure those are desirable qualities to be the team’s leader.

3 years 11 months ago

Whoa whoa.  His whole family has a high baseball IQ.  Also, nobody has experience working in the front office until they are hired in a front office.

Personally I would love Levine being the GM with Ripken directing player development.  I wouldn’t hate him being a GM though.  Angelos could make SO MANY worse choices.  And likely will.

ugen64
3 years 11 months ago

“Also, nobody has experience working in the front office until they are hired in a front office.”

there are positions in the front office other than GM you know. I can’t think of a current GM (at least a successful one) who didn’t start off in a lower position. looking within the AL East for example, Cashman started out as an intern 12 years before being named GM; Friedman was director of player development for 2 years (but he had plenty of business experience before then), Epstein spent several years with the Padres before being hired by Boston, and Anthopoulos started working with the Expos 9 years before being named GM.

not only that, only a tiny fraction of current GMs were actually good MLB players (much less stars), so I’m not sure that Ripken’s stellar playing career would really help him that much in a GM role. in fact, it seems like of the GMs who got thrust into a top role with little experience, it’s mainly because they had an extensive business or quantitative background in other fields, not because of their playing career… look at Maddux, he’s just a special assistant to the GM right now right?

3 years 11 months ago

First I would say that any position not called GM is still in the front office.  My point was you never know how someone will do in the front office until they work there.

Also, the Ripkens have a long history of success both on and off the field in baseball.  Again, that’s what I was getting at.  His playing career (.276 hitter by the way does not make him a “great player”.  He was a great player for his intangibles i.e. dedication, hard work, perseverance, etc) does not preclude him from being a great GM either as you seem to be suggesting.

Rabbitov
3 years 11 months ago

I’d want him because if the Orioles lose he’s the first GM we can’t get mad at. He’s Cal Freaking Ripken. 

basemonkey
3 years 11 months ago

One of the strange ironies of baseball names is that the Yankees GM was named “CASHman.” Ha.

Rip is on the record that he wants to be in the front office for the Os, but that won’t be this year. Maybe next year. Though if that were to happen, it would be a huge swift kick in the pants for the franchise.

3 years 11 months ago

MacPhail? Worst last name ever.

Isaac
3 years 11 months ago

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahaahjahahahaahahh I feel pretty bad for him even though his name us hilarious

MattCMoore
3 years 11 months ago

Its safe to say that the Orioles will MacPhail to make the playoffs in the next 100 years no matter what…

3 years 11 months ago

har har. so clever.

NatsTown
3 years 11 months ago

I laughed way too hard at this

Lookouts400
3 years 11 months ago

Seems like you just discovered that there’s a baseball exec named MacPhail.  He’s only been around for 25 years and his father for 25 years before that.

Natty_Boh
3 years 11 months ago

and his grandfather 25 years before that, both of which are in the hall of fame.

Rabbitov
3 years 11 months ago

You are 25 years late on this joke. I am sure you do well at dinner parties. 

Stephen J. Puopolo
3 years 11 months ago

I don’t think I’d want Cashman. Too much of a whiner and always had a blank check. I’d like to see how Ripken does.

3 years 11 months ago

Remember, cashman was against the deals for Soriano and Jeter being what they were.  I’d love to see what he does in a proper front office when he gets to make all the calls.

Stephen J. Puopolo
3 years 11 months ago

The only problem I have with that is that if we were to want to see what he can do with a budget, I think we might end up setting us up for an even bigger fall than if Ripken were in place.

3 years 11 months ago

There’s no sure thing in this situation.  Everything is going to be a little up in the air.  HArd to say what you’re going to get from anyone, you know?

Rabbitov
3 years 11 months ago

Proper front office? Come on Jeff. 

3 years 11 months ago

Yeah… I am ashamed.

niched
3 years 11 months ago

I’d like to see MacPhail stay but add Ripken to the equation. MacPhail could handle the trade negotiations and signing details for minor leaguers while Ripken could court big free agents and oversee player development.  I think O’s fans are taking MacPhail for granted.  He made some great trades while with the O’s.  He just was not effective in the free agent market.  Maybe Ripken could handle that part of it.

But I’d really rather see Ripken as an owner than as a GM. I just don’t see Ripken accomplishing much as a GM, and the team needs a new owner before it will start to win again imo.

not_brooks
3 years 11 months ago

MacPhail also refuses to spend money in the international market and the Orioles player development, which has been awful for 15 years, hasn’t improved since he took over.

Andy MacPhail is a dinosaur. He won a couple of championships 20 years ago and he’s been using 20-year-old methods to try to win more. Can someone remind me of how has that worked out? And remember, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

niched
3 years 11 months ago

You can blame MacPhail for not investing in the international market and player development, and you may be right.  But I can’t help but suspect that the roadblock there is really Angelos, especially in things related to overhauling personnel.  I doubt Angelos would let MacPhail hire who wanted to hire throughout the entire system.  But I may be wrong.

Not sure what you mean by 20-year old methods.  Since when are great trades 20-year old methods?  The O’s need to do more than they’ve done so far, but I think MacPhail is more scapegoat than suspect.  I hope Angelos hires someone who can stand up to him and take the reigns, but I’d like to see MacPhail stay on as a consultant (if possible).  MacPhail has shown to be a brilliant negotiator in trades, and a young, new GM could learn from him.

Of course the best start to fixing the O’s problems is for Angelos to sell the team.  But in the meantime, all we can do is debate about who would be the best GM with the best approach in the context of having to deal with the worst owner in baseball.

not_brooks
3 years 11 months ago

MacPhail also refuses to spend money in the international market and the Orioles player development, which has been awful for 15 years, hasn’t improved since he took over.

Andy MacPhail is a dinosaur. He won a couple of championships 20 years ago and he’s been using 20-year-old methods to try to win more. Can someone remind me of how has that worked out? And remember, almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

3 years 11 months ago

With complete autonomy, I have little doubt that Cashman could deliver a winner in Baltimore on a $80-90M budget. 

If he has to deal with the same handicapping parameters that Angelos has fettered MacPhail and previous GMs with — substandard investment in international drafting and development; rampant cronyism throughout the organization (I’m looking at you, Stockstill brothers!); untradeable pet players — then it doesn’t matter whether the Orioles hire Cashman, Cal, Theo Epstein or the reincarnated spirit of Harry Dalton to run the club. They’ll remain looking up at 4th place in the AL East until they day comes that some other club is cursed with worse ownership than their own. 

3 years 11 months ago

This.

John Kappel
3 years 11 months ago

Explain to me why so many people want Brian Cashman? He doesn’t draft that great or scout that well. I very much highly doubt that he can even come close to duplicating the success he has had in New York without another huge market big spending team. That narrows it to New York, Boston, Chicago, and LA. Only the Cubs have an open position for him right now and it will take him probably 4 years to build a winner there. 

3 years 11 months ago

draft & scouting = scouting director.  Not GM.

I would love to see what he could do when properly challenged.

That’s like saying Theo is no good because the Red Sox have such a high payroll.  Not a good way to judge a GM.

3 years 11 months ago

well in a perfect world drafting should be a joint effort between the scouting director and gm. also in a perfect world Angelos will let the people he pays to make baseball decisions make them with out throwing his two cents in all the time. ah a perfect world would be nice

aa
3 years 11 months ago

Does that mean we’ll stop signing Cubs retreads?

3 years 11 months ago

Jim Hendry seems like a perfect fit for the Angelos era, no?

JTrea81
3 years 11 months ago

Would love to see Cashman as Orioles GM.  He’d be the best realistic hire that they could make. I’m just glad we won’t have to suffer through another year or more of Andy MacPhail’s conservative decisions that always seem to backfire.

fivebeesforaquarter
3 years 11 months ago

There exists no such universe where Cashman is a “realistic” hire for the Orioles. 

Sorry, but I find it very hard to believe Bob Nightengale has any real insight into the Orioles organization. 

Without resorting to pointless speculation, why in the world would he leave NYY to work for one of the worst owners in professional sports? 

3 years 11 months ago

His owner isn’t exactly delightful either.  Remember the whole going over Cahsman’s head on the Soriano signing?

fivebeesforaquarter
3 years 11 months ago

Yes, but his current owner can also allow him to spend basically anything to acquire the best talent there is to be had. 

Obviously, that’s not happening in Baltimore. 

To your other point, I also think he was against the Jeter extension. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing what Cashman can do under more constraints. It’s just not going to realistically be with the Orioles.

The_Porcupine
3 years 11 months ago

I think all the hate for MacPhail this year is an overreaction to the fans unrealistic expectations.  The Orioles were not as close to contending as fans wanted to believe.  They expected Matusz, Tillman, Bergeson, Arrieta to be the reincarnation of Smoltz, Maddux and Glavine.  Or at least Zito, Hudson, Mulder.  That was never going to be the case.  Only 1 out of 3 top prospects live up to that potential.

MacPhail has brought more talent into this organization during his tenure than the previous regimes have in the last 10 years combined.  I don’t remember any trade that he’s made in which the Orioles could be considered to have lost (though I’d rather have kept D. Hernandez than pick up Reynolds).  He’s also drafted high end talent. 

And how much fault should he shoulder if free agents don’t want to come to Baltimore?   The excuse that the Orioles should just spend more money to bring in free agents is unrealistic.  The difference making free agents can get equal or more money from other teams like the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, etc.  Would I rather go to one of those clubs or the Orioles?  Hmmmmm…..

Additionally, and most important of all, MacPhail has kept Angelos mostly in check during his tenure.  He’s been able to keep the organization focused and organized unlike any and all of the Gm’s that took the job before.

You can argue whether he is the right guy for the team given the fan’s expectations of “winning now” if you want.  But you have to recognize the accomplishments he’s made.

not_brooks
3 years 11 months ago

Sorry, but I fail to understand how Andy MacPhail has been any different from Syd Thrift, Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan.

Sure, Andy’s made a nice trade or two to help the organization in the present, but past Adam Jones, can you name one player he’s acquired via trade that has actually helped the Orioles for the long term? Heck, past Luke Scott, does anyone even remember who the Orioles got for Miguel Tejada? “Oh, but MacPhail got rid of Miggy right before steroid news came out!” So what? Did that actually help the organization for the long term? Nope.

And how about the rest of the chumps from the Bedard trade? Chris Tillman looks like another casualty of the Orioles pathetic player development system. George Sherrill was dumped for two chumps. Who else was a part of that trade?

You say that MacPhail has brought more talent into the Orioles organization during his tenure than the previous regimes did in 10 years combined. Where is that talent, my friend? Nick Markakis was here before Andy. So was Jeremy Guthrie. And Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta. Matt Wieters was drafted by the previous regime as well. 

So where’s MacPhail’s talent? AAA? Nope. Just a bunch of 25-year-old AAAA chumps there. Unless you believe in Ryan Adams, who was in the organization prior to MacPhail’s tenure.

Down to AA Bowie… L.J. Hoes and Bobby Bundy are products of the O’s first draft under MacPhail. Can’t say the same for Joe Mahoney.

I guess A-ball is where the talent is: Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Trent Mummey and Tyler Townsend are MacPhail era guys in Frederick.

But after four plus years, shouldn’t we see more evidence of MacPhail’s talent infusion than a handful of guys in the low minors? And where are the pitchers?

Sorry, fella, but I’m not seeing these accomplishments that I’m supposed to recognize. When you’re looking at a big league team that hasn’t improved over the past four seasons and your only minor league talent is at least two or three years away, you’ve got to seriously question upper management.

Natty_Boh
3 years 11 months ago

I would like to see the Orioles make some steps toward progress before Ripken takes over the team, if he ever does. I would hate to see his career tainted by leading a sinking ship, and as an Orioles fan, I hate to say it but I think the ship is sinking guys. This is the year that we should have seen at least SOME progress if Macphail’s plan was working at all. If anything, they have regressed. Yeah Vlad and Gregg were bad signings but the rest of the team, particularly the starting pitching, has taken a step backwards. The one positive from this season is JJ Hardy. Yeah Reynolds has 30+ dingers but he is not clutch with the bat at all and he was HORRIBLE at 3rd base, I will say he’s been great at 1st though. All that said, this team is absolutely nowhere near being able to compete, even in a different division, we have a losing record in the AL west, AL east, and interleague, barely a winning record in the central. No way should we hire Cal until we know that we are headed in the right direction.