In a move that could be interpreted as a signal the Orioles will continue business as usual, general manager Roland Hemond has been given a two-year contract extension.
With the announcement that owner Eli Jacobs was considering the possible sale of the club, and the recent "reassignment" of Frank Robinson to the front office there has been some speculation about the direction the club would take.
Club president Larry Lucchino, whose own status could be clouded if the Orioles are sold, was in California today attending league meetings and unavailable for comment.
As is his nature, Hemond refused to be drawn into speculation about the club's status, but viewed his situation as an expression of confidence by his bosses.
"Basically, I look on it as an indication of their faith in me," said Hemond, who confirmed that he has agreed to a new two-year contract that would extend through the 1993 season. "It is an indication that will will continue day-to-day operations the same as we have all along.
"I have been involved in the past with teams that have been for sale -- and it has been my experience that doesn't often happen very quickly, if at all."
Hemond replaced Hank Peters as the Orioles' general manager after the 1987 season, and his debut was marked by the club's 21-game losing streak at the start of the 1988 season.
A year later, however, after the club had re-vamped with young players from its system or via trades, the Orioles were in the division race until the next-to-last day of the season.
Since then, the Orioles have been trying unsuccessfully to live up to the promises of 1989. One of Hemond's first acts after taking over was to relieve Cal Ripken Sr. of his duties as manager, and replace him with Robinson.
Almost three weeks ago Hemond made the decision to remove Robinson as manager and return him to the front office position he held for only six games in 1988. With Doug Melvin already firmly entrenched as director of player personnel and considered a potential successor to Hemond, the move created some confusion about the direction of the front office.
The contract extension solidifies Hemond's position, and at least helps give the club a sense of stability in the front office. That would seem to be a consideration in the event of a possible sale.
"I'm just pleased that they have the confidence to let me continue," said Hemond. "I've been very happy here and look forward to having the opportunity to continuing our effort to bring a winner to Baltimore."