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Orioles had a better way to look for a manager


Orioles had a better way to look for a manager

The Seattle Mariners named Scott Servais as their new manager on Friday. There are four other teams, the Nationals, Dodgers, Padres and Marlins without a manager.

Those teams are using the traditional, relatively secretive way of choosing a manager, conducting interviews and not commenting on them.

Twelve years ago this month, the Orioles interviewed for a manager in a most transparent and innovative way. It was so different and seemed way ahead of its time.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t caught on.

It was October 2003, and the Orioles had co-general managers, Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan. They decided to move on from Mike Hargrove after four years, and it was time for a new approach.

Beattie and Flanagan decided on a unique way of interviewing managerial candidates. They would announce who the candidates were, and after the formal interview, the prospective Orioles managers would be ushered into a conference room where the media would interview them.

The two co-GMs would look at the tape and see how each candidate did. It was a way of controlling the message for the Orioles. Unfortunately, they couldn’t predict how a manager would interact in a clubhouse or run a game.

Eight candidates were interviewed. Four had an Orioles background and were well known by Flanagan: Rich Dauer, Rick Dempsey, Eddie Murray and Sam Perlozzo.

Four had no Orioles connection: Tom Foley, Terry Francona, Grady Little and Lee Mazzilli.

Little wasn’t on the Orioles’ original list, but was a late addition after he was fired by the Boston Red Sox in the wake of losing the ALCS to the New York Yankees.

Foley’s was the most surprising name on the list. He had just finished his second season as a major league coach with Tampa Bay, and seemed stunned to even be considered.

Francona had managed the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997-2000, and hadn’t had a winning season while Mazzilli was Joe Torre’s first base coach with the Yankees.

Mazzilli wowed the Orioles, gave an upbeat interview to the media, and in early November, was hired as the team’s manager.

It was the Orioles’ last offseason managerial search.

Mazzilli managed until Aug. 2005 when he was replaced by Perlozzo, who despite being upset he was passed over for the job, stayed on as a coach. He was given the title of interim manager at first, then promoted a few weeks later

Perlozzo was replaced in June 2007 by Dave Trembley, who was also named as interim manager. Andy MacPhail, who was now running the team, tried to hire Joe Girardi, but was rebuffed. Girardi succeeded Torre a few months later.

Trembley was named the fulltime manager on Aug. 22, 2007, and promptly watched his team lose 30-3 to the Texas Rangers in the first game of a doubleheader.

When Trembley was fired in June 2010, MacPhail appointed Juan Samuel as the interim manager before settling on Buck Showalter eight weeks later.

There were no media interviews during any of those searches.

Foley is still with the Rays, and he’s coached for 14 seasons under four managers. He was not one of the 10 candidates interviewed by Tampa Bay when Joe Maddon left a year ago.

Little went to manage the Dodgers for two seasons before Torre succeeded him.

A few weeks after the interviews, Boston hired Francona to succeed Little, and he won two World Series there.

Before Little’s interview, which was the final one, Orioles public relations director Bill Stetka entered the room, and asked reporters not to quiz Little about his decision to keep Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the ALCS. That was the move that led to his dismissal.

During the group interview, Little was bewildered that the incident didn’t come up, having been used to rough questioning by Red Sox writers.

It’s surprising that this kind of innovative approach toward interviewing hasn’t been widely copied. Handling the media is a bigger part of a manager’s job than ever, and instead of information dribbling out, this way would be easier.

It turned out that Mazzilli wasn’t terribly comfortable with dealing with the media, and after his dismissal never managed again. He’s currently an assistant to New York GM Brian Cashman.

Dempsey is a popular broadcaster and owns a restaurant that bears his name. Murray is out of baseball. Perlozzo is a minor league instructor for Minnesota and Dauer, who was a Milwaukee coach at the time of the interview, is now Houston’s first base coach.

Flanagan took his own life in Aug. 2011, and Beattie scouts for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Showalter is under contract for three more seasons. The hope is that the next Orioles managerial search is a long way off, but when that time comes, the open approach adopted by Beattie and Flanagan was a wise one to copy.


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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm