Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/5/11

Since the departure of Andy MacPhail I’ve tried to remain above the fray so to speak in terms of chronicling the Baltimore Orioles’ every move in the search for a GM. However the latest round of “issues” has forced my hand. Toronto’s assistant GM Tony LaCava surprisingly turned the Orioles’ offer down, which has now sent the organization spiraling to interview other candidates for the still vacant position. Ironically, this process being dragged out to this extent was foreshadowed in a way. Throughout the second half of the season there was a constant eye on MacPhail as everyone wondered if he was in fact leaving (which we all knew he was of course). When the season ended we were led to believe that MacPhail’s official decision would be made in relatively short order, perhaps even the day after the final game. However MacPhail’s decision didn’t come down until over a week later. We were then told that a replacement would be in place in short order; at this point, the O’s might be lucky to have a GM in place by Thanksgiving.

The national media has been hammering the Orioles this past week for the LaCava refusal, the implication of course being that this has something to do with owner Peter Angelos’ meddling in the past. I think that’s certainly a possibility; we all know Angelos’ reputation. Here’s the other thing; Angelos also has a reputation as being an owner who doesn’t want to open the team coffers for quality free agents. In an offseason where the Orioles would presumably be looking for a quality starting pitcher, the question is whether Peter Angelos would be willing to take the risk of signing someone that can make a difference. My point is that many people might be scared away from taking the job in Baltimore given that the impression is that he truly won’t be free to guide the team. Managers and coaches are held accountable for wins and losses, mechanics, etc. GM’s are held accountable for putting that product on the field itself. So wouldn’t it stand to reason that any GM in any sport should be able to do his job in his own way? How fair is it if you don’t give someone the proper tools to do their job, only to fire him for not doing it the way you think it should be done? That would kind of be like expecting a little leaguer to hit a big bop in the majors.

With all of this said, the purpose of this column is not to crucify Peter Angelos or to say that the GM situation is in anyway his fault. The truth is that we just don’t know. I think there’s a possibility that Angelos’ ways have something to do with it, but we just don’t know. What we do know is that there are only a few GM jobs available, and the fact that the Orioles are getting turned down doesn’t look good on a national scale. However there’s another wild card in play here: Buck Showalter. While the organization has already said that Buck would be back in the dugout in 2012, it’s also obvious that he’s going to have a major say in the affairs of the team. Whether or not this arrangement means that Showalter and the GM will be equal partners answering to Angelos is unknown, however Showalter will have a say in what goes on. One also has to wonder if that isn’t a major turn-off to a potential GM candidate. Admittedly, if I was offered a job with the condition that this other guy is in theory underneath you but in reality he’s on your level and you’re going to be held accountable for everything that both you and he does, I might raise an eyebrow.

So here’s the next question; is this hopeless? If you think about it, there are a few oddities that will come with the position. They’ll be asking someone to take a GM job with an owner that’s historically meddled to no end, and a field manager that will at the very least be having a significant say in what goes on. If you think about it, they are kind of asking the guy to look at things through rose` colored glasses. Nevertheless, in fairness I’ll say that Angelos has in fact stepped back in the past couple of seasons. He let Andy MacPhail run the show, and that was what most fans wanted him to do. The question is will that still be the case with a new GM that has no experience. My personal opinion is that it will be given that Buck Showalter is still in the picture. Ultimately, the O’s will end up taking a leap of faith on someone’s asst. GM, scouting director, etc. However in reality, is that a greater leap of faith than that which the new guy will be taking with the Orioles?

Follow me on Twitter @Domenic Vadala

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