Baltimore Oriole Reflections – October 2011

The Baltimore Orioles wrapped up another disappointing season a few weeks ago. 

The team did end the season on a high note as they posted a winning record (15-13) in September. The most memorable moment of the year occurred on the season’s last play as Robert Andino‘s sinking liner to left evaded Carl Crawford‘s glove and knocked the Red Sox out of the playoffs.

The team has much work to do in preparation for the 2012 season, beginning with the hiring of a new general manager to replace the departing Andy MacPhail (above). In MacPhail’s four seasons in Baltimore the club’s on field performance didn’t improve, but I do think he did some things that will prove to be positives for the organization in the long run. The creation of a true spring training site in Sarasota
solves an organizational problem that existed for far too long. The ability to have all of the players, both major and minor leaguers, in one spring location is a positive step. The fact that it took nearly 20 years to happen is ridiculous, but that’s too often how things are done with the Orioles. MacPhail also brought in potential cornerstone players in Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy, and allowed the club to begin drafting and signing overslot players in the June draft.

The search for MacPhail’s replacement is under way. Buck Showalter is expected to have a great deal of influence in the hiring process. It doesn’t seem like a great idea to me to have the field manager essentially hiring his boss, and it will clearly create a rather strange hybrid management structure in the Orioles baseball operations, but again Peter Angelos‘ Orioles operate a little differently than other clubs. The search seems to be focused on established executives like Jerry DiPoto, Tony LaCava, Al Avila and potentially Jerry Hunsicker or J.P. Ricciardi.

The Orioles have seven players participating in the Arizona Fall League. The list of names doesn’t include any of the club’s top prospects. The Orioles seem to be using the AFL as a chance to sort out some potential 2012 bullpen options in Steve Johnson and Cole McCurry. Joe Mahoney is in Arizona trying to make up for time lost due to injury this season. Mahoney played just 88 games in 2011. He was impressive when healthy as he posted 11 home runs, 67runs batted in and a .845 OPS in 315 at bats for AA Bowie. All Oriole farmhands are playing for the Mesa Solar Sox.

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