Gillick gives notice hunt picking up

Orioles looking at six candidates to take GM's post

Club to speak to Bowden

Reds general manager may have inside track

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

Orioles general manager Pat Gillick has given formal notice to majority owner Peter Angelos that he will leave the organization after this season, clearing the way for the club to begin an intensive search for his successor, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The Orioles anticipated Gillick's departure after his three-year, $2.4 million contract expired this season and wasted no time beginning the hiring process. Orioles vice chairman Joe Foss yesterday asked for and received permission to interview Cincinnati Reds 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 Friday.

Gillick, who gave notice Monday night and met with manager Ray Miller before yesterday's game, was unavailable for comment.

Architect of back-to-back world championship teams while with the Toronto Blue Jays, 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. Under his stewardship, the Orioles signed free agents Jimmy Key, Mike Bordick, Roberto Alomar, Eric Davis and B.J. Surhoff. Gillick's notice came barely three days after Malone formally accepted the Dodgers job.

Gillick turned over many of his responsibilites to Malone this season as he tended to a family illness. It was Malone who engineered the 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, according to club sources.

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 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.

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 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.

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Boston Red Sox

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7: 05

TV/Radio: HTS/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Red Sox's Bret Saberhagen (13-7, 4.00) vs. O's Scott Erickson (15-11, 4.04)

Tickets: 5,200 remain

Tragic number: 7 (combination of Orioles losses and Red Sox wins needed to eliminate Orioles from AL wild-card race).

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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