The Orioles are expected to move on from longtime manager Buck Showalter following the 2018 season, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. That meshes with yesterday’s report from Fancred’s Jon Heyman, which called Showalter “likely” to be replaced.
Nightengale adds that general manager Dan Duquette is expected to receive an extension. It seems ownership was impressed by his handling of the team’s trade-deadline sell-off, which launched a full-blown rebuilding effort that had been contemplated — but not ultimately pursued — over the winter.
If the reports prove accurate, Showalter would be at least the second manager not asked back for the coming season; the Rangers announced earlier this afternoon that they’ve fired Jeff Banister and will be searching for a replacement following the season. Showalter has been the Orioles’ skipper since taking over partway through the 2010 season, helping the team to three postseason berths — including an AL East division title in 2014. Baltimore steamrolled the Tigers in a clean sweep of the ALDS that season before being knocked out of the ALCS by the Royals.
As for Duquette, he’s been with the O’s since the 2011 season and helped to orchestrate those postseason appearances, though his fingerprints are also on this season’s all-time franchise-worst record. To be fair to Duquette, he has seemingly been hamstrung by ownership at times, as Peter Angelos reportedly had little interest in investing on the international amateur free agent market and was also said to be instrumental in bringing back Chris Davis on what could now be considered the worst contract in the sport.
Duquette, if extended, will be tasked with helping to oversee a rebuild not only of the club’s roster but also the team’s entire baseball operations department. Baltimore has lagged behind other teams in terms of international scouting, the implementation of analytics, the use of technology in player evaluation and more. Following this summer’s trade of franchise icon Manny Machado, Duquette vowed that the organization would invest in those areas as it embarked on its rebuilding process.
It’s worth emphasizing, of course, that nothing is yet set in stone. As Dan Connolly wrote yesterday at The Athletic (subscription link), “decisiveness has never been the strong suit at the top of the Orioles’ food chain.” The only aspect of the future that’s all but certain at this point, he wrote, is that Orioles VP Brady Anderson will continue to “remain in a position of influence.” Connolly ran through the possible permutations of outcomes involving Showalter and Duquette, guessing that both of those long-time leaders would end up on the move but noting the ongoing uncertainty.
Beyond that, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the O’s have made a pair of additions to the pro scouting department, hiring veteran evaluators Doug Witt and Rich Amaral. Witt, the brother of former big league pitcher Bobby Witt, is also the uncle of Bobby Witt Jr. — a potential top selection in the 2019 draft. Amaral, a former teammate of Anderson’s, will be a special assignment scout on both the pro and amateur side as well as a baserunning instructor, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com. If those hires offer any clues as to the broader organizational direction, it’s not strictly clear just what they suggest.