Gillick says he won't be back Expected to be leaving, GM makes it official

contract expires in Nov.

Orioles

September 21, 1998|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

General manager Pat Gillick made it official yesterday. He announced what everyone had assumed for the past several weeks -- that he does not intend to remain with the club beyond the Nov. 26 expiration date on his three-year contract.

Gillick, 61, who came out of retirement to replace Roland Hemond as general manager in November 1995, presided over Orioles teams that went to the playoffs in 1996 and 1997. But he will leave after a disappointing 1998 season in which the club failed to live up to the biggest payroll in the history of baseball.

"I guess my biggest disappointment is not winning a championship here," Gillick said yesterday. "We got close two years in a row, but we couldn't get over the hump. Perhaps they need to go in another direction."

The organization will have no choice. Gillick's announcement comes nine days after assistant general manager Kevin Malone was hired away by the Los Angeles Dodgers, so the Orioles will open the 1999 season with a heavily reconfigured front office.

Vice chairman Joe Foss has begun the process of putting together a field of candidates to replace Gillick and likely will conduct interviews during the final week of the season.

Cleveland Indians assistant Dan O'Dowd appears to be the front-runner, but Cincinnati Reds GM Jim Bowden, Florida Marlins executive Frank Wren, former Yankees GM Bob Watson and former Dodgers GM Fred Claire also are believed to be under consideration.

Gillick isn't leaving right away. He apparently will continue to work on retaining potential free agents until his contract expires.

There has been speculation that he will join either the Toronto Blue Jays or the Dodgers in a scouting/consulting capacity, but he would say only that he is not interested in moving into another general manager position.

The announcement did not come as a surprise to Foss or owner Peter Angelos, who have known since the beginning that Gillick intended to remain only for the duration of his $2.4 million contract.

"His original three-year contract was arrived at with the clearly stated intention that he would not be coming back for an additional period, since he was coming out of retirement," Angelos said. "I think he's done a great job and we appreciate his efforts on behalf of the Orioles."

Angelos applauded Gillick's service to the club, particularly in the area of minor-league development. The Orioles finally appear to be in a position to bring some quality prospects to the major leagues, partially fulfilling Angelos' original commitment to re-establish the organization's once-proud tradition of player development.

"I think he has done some great things in regard to the signing of young players," Angelos said. "Obviously, he has great expertise."

If there were room for any criticism from the owner, it was directed at the advanced age of the ballclub that took the field for 1998.

"I wasn't that excited about the four acquisitions we made this year [Doug Drabek, Norm Charlton, Joe Carter and Ozzie Guillen], but everybody has to call it the way they see it at the time and not everyone turns out right," Angelos said. "Even a talented person like Pat can't be expected to call all of them right."

Pub Date: 9/21/98

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