“Virtually every level of the [Orioles] organization is in flux,” The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes in his latest subscription-only piece, as he describes how John and Lou Angelos (the sons of owner Peter Angelos) are taking an increasingly larger role in the team’s regular operations. The elder Angelos “is less involved than at any point in his” 25 years of owning the team, Rosenthal notes, and it could mark significant changes in how the O’s do business in the coming seasons. Most directly, the changes could impact executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter, both of whom are in the final years of their contracts.
Despite the Orioles’ success in Duquette’s tenure, there has long been speculation surrounding his future in Baltimore, particularly after the Blue Jays made a strong push to lure Duquette away in the 2014-15 offseason. Duquette “is frustrated by his loss of power,” Rosenthal writes, as Lou Angelos, Showalter, and VP of baseball ops Brady Anderson also have significant voices within the team’s front office. Anderson, in fact, “was the point man” in Baltimore’s signings of Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman this offseason.
It isn’t clear what direction the Orioles will take if Duquette did leave after the season. Anderson may prefer to remain in his somewhat undefined role (which hasn’t always pleased some past players and coaches) rather than become an official general manager, while it’s also possible Showalter could move into a front office role rather than continue in the dugout. Sources within the organization aren’t sure if Showalter would prefer to keep managing or shift to a baseball operations position, though he could conceivably do both in some capacity — a GM would be hired to handle day-to-day business while Showalter acted as the de facto front office head while still managing the team.
Of course, much could also depend on the direction of the Orioles’ season, as the team could look to trade one or more of its prominent free agents (i.e. Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton, Brad Brach) if it falls out of contention. A total rebuild seems unlikely, as Cobb just signed for four seasons and the O’s would still have a core group that includes Jonathan Schoop, Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Trey Mancini, and older veterans like Chris Davis.
Though John and Lou Angelos have been involved in a wide variety of the Orioles’ operations, “concerns exist in the industry about their ability to run a franchise” since Peter Angelos carried such a dominant role in the team’s business, Rosenthal writes. There are some indications, however, that the Angelos brothers’ influence is helping the franchise act in a more efficient way. For instance, since the owner’s approval is no longer constantly required, some of the decision-making process has gone from “painstakingly slow” to “more streamlined.” Some in the front office feel that the new direction will lead to the Orioles spending more on young talent pipelines such as the international signing process, which the O’s have (somewhat notoriously) almost entirely avoided in recent years — sources tell Rosenthal that “Peter Angelos never found anyone he trusted to run the international department.”