Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/18/14

In a Hot Stove season that generally focuses on organizational acquisitions, multiple league sources reported yesterday that Tony LaCava has turned down the general manager position with the Baltimore Orioles and will remain the assistant general manager with the Toronto Blue Jays.

The intriguing aspect of this development, however, is not that LaCava turned down Baltimore in favor of Toronto. It’s more that nobody in the baseball community believes he made the wrong choice. In fact, national writers immediately took to Twitter with snide comments such as: “Nobody blames him.”

So, why does no one seemingly covet the GM job in Baltimore? After all, only 30 GM positions exist in baseball.

A general manager is ultimately judged by wins and losses, and the Baltimore Orioles are not in a position to win anytime soon. Perhaps they can threaten a .500 record in the next half-decade, but we’re talking about an Orioles’ franchise that has not won more than 79 games since 1997.

To be fair, the 2011 season was supposed to be different. We ranked the Orioles at #15 in the Organizational Rankings prior to the season on the strength of their young talent reaching the big league level — such as Matt Wieters, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, and Zach Britton — but the 2011 Orioles only won 69 games and were outscored by 152 runs on the year.

Not only did the Orioles win few games, but the three components of a team’s ability were all well below-average:

Team Offense: .320 wOBA (24th of 30 teams)
Team Pitching: 4.67 FIP (30th of 30 teams)
Team Defense: -53.6 UZR (29th of 30 teams)

Blech. Having some young, projectable talent on the big league club is certainly desirable, but it would be nice to have something to show for it in the performance, as well.

The Orioles are also stuck in the AL East, making their climb out of the cellar even more daunting. If the organization were in the AL Central or NL Central, the prospects of a fundamental turnaround would not be so unlikely. But in a division that features perennial Goliaths such as the Red Sox and Yankees, the Orioles are not just behind the eight ball. They are behind two eight balls and up against the bumper with only a sliver of daylight.

This is not to say that Tony LaCava couldn’t have succeeded as the GM of the Orioles. After all, the Tampa Bay Rays have one of the smallest markets in the MLB and have made the postseason three of the past four years. The possibility clearly exists. Of course, the Rays built through the draft and have a farm system stocked to the gills with potential impact talent.

The Orioles, however, have a below-average farm system. Shortstop Manny Machado receives the bulk of the attention, but the shelves are otherwise bare. Baseball America ranked the organization at #21 in their farm system rankings, Keith Law ranked them #24, and former scout, Frankie Piliere, ranked Baltimore at #25.

Tony LaCava — or any potential Orioles’ GM — would have inherited a poor big league squad (admittedly with some young talent) and a poor farm system in what is the most difficult division in all of baseball.

Talk about setting yourself up for success.

Then, almost adding insult to injury at this point, the new Orioles’ general manager will surely have to navigate a power struggle with manager Buck Showalter and owner Peter Angelos. For example, Roch Kubatko of MASN reported last night that “there were disagreements over some personnel moves” that LaCava wanted to make upon his arrival.

Of course there was.

A general manager must be the captain of the ship. Perhaps more importantly, the owner and manager must trust the captain to navigate the difficult and choppy waters ahead. A captain cannot adequately and successfully do his job if he is constantly asking for permission and/or making personnel decisions with anything but success on his mind.

Between the poor big league club, poor farm system, and difficult working conditions with manager and owner, it’s no surprise that Tony LaCava would choose to stay with the Toronto Blue Jays. Peter Angelos has to be wondering, though … does any qualified candidate legitimately want this job?

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

Associated Press will have 'robots' writing game stories

Jaworski on Winston: 'I would not take him at that No. 1 pick

Peyton Manning passes physical, returning to Broncos


Gregg Popovich rips notion of NBA Finals games in July

Ortiz on Schilling controversy: 'It makes you angry'

Report: Josh Hamilton facing one-year suspension

Report: Eagles, Jets will make trade for Marcus Mariota

Cam Newton not a person of interest in night club shooting

Should Texans consider moving on from Arian Foster?

Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter should be final Yankees captain

Tom Brady, Rory McIlroy to play round at Augusta National

No one knows who will win the 2014-15 NBA MVP

Giants TE on plane that slid off runway in New York

TSN to stop airing tweets after trade deadline debacle

Is there a team for Rajon Rondo?

Five most likely running back targets for the Eagles

Marijuana and MLB's Joint Drug Agreement

Twelve unlikely players who could be NCAA Tourney heroes

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts after DeAndre Jordan doesn't shoot

WATCH: Ridiculous foul called on Penn State

WATCH: Westbrook throws down huge dunk in return

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Manning officially returning to Broncos

No one knows who will win the MVP

Pop rips notion of NBA Finals in July

Is there a team for Rajon Rondo?

Five likeliest RB targets for Eagles

Pot and MLB's Joint Drug Agreement

Unlikely NCAA Tourney heroes

Every starting QB ranked by mobility

WATCH: CP3 goes nuts

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.