It appears that over the next few days, the front office of the Orioles will have a different look for the 2012 season. Andy MacPhail is expected to step down from his position as President of Baseball Operations and either leave the organization or take a lesser role.
Rumors are mounting that current manager, Buck Showalter, is weighing whether or not to accept a role as General Manager of the team, or to remain in the dugout. It appears that Buck wants more of a decision making role in the organization, one who can control 40-man roster acquisitions, scouting, player development, etc. Buck seems to be trying to figure out whether he can have more impact on the organization as manager or general manager.
If Buck remains manager, he will want to have an equal voice in the acquisition of players, etc, so I'm not certain an established GM would be willing to share duties with the field manager. One GM option in this role could be Matt Klentak, who has served as assistant GM under MacPhail. Klentak could accept a promotion to GM with the understanding that he will share duties with Buck while he learns the ins and outs as GM. I'm not sure if this would be a good arrangement, the two-headed GM experiment didn't work all that well under the reigns of Mike Flanagan-Jim beattie or Mike Flanagan-Jim Duquette. Buck is really close to former Rangers GM Jon Hart, so he could be an option. Yes, the same Jon Hart who signed A-Roid to his ridiculous contract... Hey, maybe he could offer the same deal to Pujols or Fielder this offseason? Yeah, I know, only kidding.
If Buck does, in fact, decide to take a front office job, then who will manage the team? Two former managers (Willie Randolph and John Russell) served as coaches this year. I'm not sold on either of those guys. Buck is close to former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu. The same manager who many feel was the reason Ken Griffey, Jr. was unceremoniously ran out of Seattle. I wasn't there, so I don't know what went down. From everything I've read, he might be a decent choice to lead the Orioles under the watchful eye of Buck.
If I had any input (and clearly, I don't), I would see if a former Oriole with a well known last name would be willing to join the staff next season. He was a gritty player who was brought up in a baseball family that bleeds (still to this day) Oriole Orange. His dad managed the Orioles in 1987-1988 and served as a coach for a really really really long time. I don't think his dad got a fair shake as O's manager (0-21 start notwithstanding), but he epitomised the old school "Oriole Way."
Of course, I'm talking Ripken here. No, I don't think Cal would be a good choice at this moment to be a manager or coach on the Orioles. He would be much better suited as GM or (fingers crossed!) Owner one day. No, I sincerely think...
...that BILL Ripken would be a solid choice to come in and have some input on the club. Either as a coach or field manager. Bill currently works as an analyst for MLB Network and hosts a weekly radio show with Cal on Sirius/XM. Bill clearly has a wealth of baseball knowledge. Many former and current managers didn't have hall of fame playing careers. Usually, the players who had to fight and claw to stay on 40-man rosters are the ones who make the best coaches. Bill was a hard-nosed, no-nonsense type player who I think would have a positive impact on the team. It's about time the Orioles bring him in (if he is even interested).