Oates' status on hold until after the season New ownership to have say in it

September 28, 1993|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

*TC A decision on whether Johnny Oates will return as Orioles manager next year will not be made until next month.

But, even though an announcement might not come until after the World Series, club officials say the delay should not be interpreted as dissatisfaction with Oates.

"I think he's done a fine job," said general manager Roland Hemond. "I wish we could've had less time on the disabled list -- for the sake of the players, Johnny and everybody else.

"It [the decision-making process] is in keeping with club policy. It's all part of the evaluation process we do at the conclusion of the season."

The Orioles hold options on Oates' services for each of the next two years. His contract stipulates that the club must inform Oates of its intentions by Oct. 31, a relatively late date for such a decision.

It is believed that the ownership transition from Eli S. Jacobs to a group headed by Peter Angelos is a principal reason why the status of Oates and his coaching staff won't be determined until after the season. The completion of the sale, originally scheduled for Sept. 20, is now set for Monday, the day after the regular season ends.

"This will obviously be one of the first orders of business for the new owners," said team president Larry Lucchino, who otherwise deferred comment to Hemond.

Although saying he'll be happy to have his situation resolved, Oates said he had no anxiety about his future. "I'm a human being, and I think we all like security," he said. "But different people put security in different places.

"I'm not the type of person who needs a lot of money to be secure. When I go home, I'd like the security of knowing I have a job, but if I don't, I'll go out and get another one.

"But, no, I'm not anxious -- and I don't know anything [about his status]. I've been told that nothing will be done until the season is over."

Oates said he had no problems with the delay. "I've got seven more games to manage [including last night], and I'll give it everything I've got for those last seven days," he said.

"When it [the season] is over, if the thinking is that I've done a decent job, then I think I'll be asked back. If not, then I'll be asked to not let the door hit me in the butt on the way out.

"As a vocation, there's nothing I'd rather do than manage the Baltimore Orioles," said Oates. "But I don't know what Mr. Angelos has in mind."

Since succeeding Frank Robinson as Orioles manager May 23, 1991, Oates has compiled a 225-218 mark. In his two full seasons, his record is 171-147.

In each of the past two seasons, the Orioles have remained in contention until the next-to-last week of the season. They finished third in 1992, with an 89-73 record, and occupy the same position this year.

Although the Orioles haven't been able to get over the hump that separates a division champion from a contender, there is nothing in the record to suggest Oates won't return.

In view of his own expectations, Oates was asked if he felt he would be invited back. "I'm not going to say I expect it," he said after a short pause, "but I hope to be asked back."

Assuming that the new ownership relies on the judgment of the current front office, Oates will have his contract renewed.

"One thing I know," he said, "is that I always give my employer 100 percent. I'm going to give it everything I've got for the next seven days. Then I'll go home Sunday and wait to hear something."

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