The Orioles have extended the contract of assistant general manager Doug Melvin, who has been reported to be next in line of succession behind general manager Roland Hemond.
Melvin's previous contract expired Dec. 31, and he was given a multi-year extension, but the deal was not announced until yesterday. Terms of the contract -- including the length of it -- have been kept secret.
Club president Larry Lucchino said yesterday that the club likes to keep front-office business private.
"We're not giving any details," Lucchino said. "He's done an excellent job for us as both assistant general manager and farm director. Every few years, his contract comes up and we are eager to extend it."
Lucchino also would not give any indications about the future makeup of the Orioles' front office. The future of the club itself -- which may include an ownership change soon -- is too uncertain to predict what the front-office hierarchy will look like a year from now.
There was a time when there was little question that Melvin would be the Orioles' next GM. That was before the club fired Frank Robinson as manager and moved him into the front office as another assistant GM. Lucchino would give no indication yesterday of how Robinson's role may affect Melvin's future.
Soon after Robinson's reassignment, Hemond was given a contract extension that runs through 1993, and he has given no indication of his plans beyond this season.
"I don't know myself," Hemond said. "We really haven't had any discussions. I'm enjoying myself as I always have, especially with the type of ballclub we have."
Melvin, who has been considered for management positions with other clubs -- including the Red Sox and both of the expansion franchises -- maintains he is satisfied in his position and optimistic about the team.
"I'm pleased to be continuing to work here and still have the same goal -- to help bring a world championship here," he said. "You want to stay in an organization you feel comfortable with and which you think is doing the right things."
He will be starting his eighth season with the Orioles and his sixth as assistant GM/director of player personnel. Before joining the club, Melvin spent six years in scouting and player development with the New York Yankees.
"In this business, it's hard to predict that you're going to stay in any one place this long," Melvin said, "but I think that part of the reason we have had some success is because of the stability of the organization. Larry and Roland and Frank and myself, as well as Johnny [Oates] and some of the coaches, have all been together for a while. I think that means something.
Melvin recently returned from a scouting trip to the Dominican Republic, where he observed some of the team's young talent in the Dominican Winter League.
"He's been outstanding," Hemond said of Melvin's performance. "He's done a tremendous job. You just look at the players that we have brought up and the players that he has brought in. Alan Mills and Todd Frohwirth, for instance. Those were deals he basically made himself. He has a good all-around baseball knowledge, and I value his judgment."