O's search for new GM picking up Orioles looking at six candidates to replace Gillick

Team to speak to Bowden

Reds general manager may have inside track

September 16, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Believing Pat Gillick's departure a foregone conclusion, the Orioles yesterday began the process of finding his successor as general manager, according to sources familiar with the situation.

Orioles chief operating officer Joe Foss yesterday asked for and received permission to interview Cincinnati general manager Jim Bowden. Reds president John Allen also had granted Bowden permission to interview for the Los Angeles Dodgers' general manager vacancy; however, that job went to former Orioles assistant general manager Kevin Malone on Friday.

Foss said the Orioles have a working list of six candidates, but last night refused to specify names. The list is believed to include Bowden, Florida Marlins assistant general manager Frank Wren, Cleveland Indians director of baseball operations Dan O'Dowd, former Dodgers general manager Fred Claire and Atlanta Braves assistant general manager Dean Taylor. Former New York Yankees general manager Bob Watson also has received consideration.

Gillick said he hasn't resigned.

"I haven't talked to Peter [Angelos, Orioles owner] yet. I guess I will at some point, but I really haven't told him anything," said Gillick, who added he likely will clarify his position by early next week.

Gillick helped return the Orioles to prominence in the American League, constructing teams that appeared in consecutive League Championship Series and last year won the franchise's first AL East title since 1983.

Gillick turned over many of his responsibilities to Malone this season as he tended to a family illness. Malone engineered trades for Blue Jays pitcher Juan Guzman and Reds third baseman/outfielder Willie Greene.

For now, day-to-day organizational control falls to Foss and director of player development Syd Thrift, himself a candidate to replace Gillick, club sources said.

Foss will coordinate the interview process, which will consist of two rounds. Angelos will apparently participate in the final stage. Though Foss said Friday that he hopes to have a new general manager in place by the end of the World Series, the timetable may now accelerate.

Bowden has long been rumored as the leading outside candidate to replace Gillick. (Angelos and Foss had characterized Malone as the front-runner before he leapt at the Dodgers' four-year, $2 million offer.) However, the Orioles will also give strong consideration to several top assistants.

Foss previously had said the club was interested in an executive with experience as general manager or assistant general manager, preferably from a franchise comfortable with a large payroll.

Though Wren, O'Dowd and Taylor have no experience as general managers, they've contributed to a combined 10 division titles, seven World Series appearances and two world championships. The Orioles plan to seek permission this week to interview Wren and O'Dowd. Gaining clearance from the Indians might be complicated by O'Dowd's four-year contract. Indians president John Hart turned down a similar request by the Dodgers last month.

Wren was most recently a finalist for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays post that went to Chuck LaMar. He also interviewed with the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals in 1994 and the San Diego Padres in 1995. His name was advanced to Miller by Marlins manager Jim Leyland last week.

GM candidates

Dan O'Dowd

Age: 41

Occupation: Cleveland Indians director of baseball operations

Scouting report: O'Dowd neatly fits the Orioles' desire for an executive with a scouting background familiar with the intricacies of contract negotiations. O'Dowd has served as Cleveland Indians director of baseball operations and assistant to general manager John Hart. It was O'Dowd who advanced the concept of signing players to long-term contracts before they become arbitration-eligible. The Indians implemented the policy in signing Sandy Alomar, Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome and Charles Nagy among others. O'Dowd graduated to his current position after serving five years as director of player development, during which the Indians were named 1992 Organization of the Year by Baseball America.

Baltimore connection: O'Dowd began his major-league career in Baltimore, spending five years here. The latter half of his five-year term was spent as assistant director of player development and scouting under Hank Peters.

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