Orioles chief operating officer Joe Foss will conclude the initial phase of his general manager's search early this week when he interviews Chicago White Sox assistant GM Dan Evans, according to club sources.
The process will then accelerate, as up to three of five candidates might return to interview with majority owner Peter Angelos. The successor to Pat Gillick will likely be named before the World Series, which starts Oct. 17.
This week's maneuvering apparently won't be limited to the front office. Manager Ray Miller is expected to announce changes on his coaching staff.
Despite the Orioles' 79-83 fourth-place finish, Angelos reiterated last week that Miller will return for a second year as manager. Miller in turn is expected to replace third-year hitting coach Rick Down with bench coach Eddie Murray, one of three additions to the staff following Miller's naming as manager last November.
Down and Miller were finalists to replace Davey Johnson, who resigned after last October's American League Championship Series loss to the Cleveland Indians. Before Angelos signed Miller to a two-year, $1.4 million deal, the two coaches pledged to remain regardless of who was selected.
Rather than accept a multi-year deal to serve as hitting coach with the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks, Down signed two-year contract to remain in Baltimore. However, the relationship between Miller and Down deteriorated noticeably during the season. The manager openly wondered about the amount of batting practice expected of a veteran team and thought it contributed to September's offensive collapse.
Pitching coach Mike Flanagan's status is uncertain. He might be offered an opportunity to return to the Home Team Sports broadcasting booth. While Miller consistently praised his work, Flanagan is believed to be contemplating a return to the position he left after the 1997 season. Analyst Rick Cerone's return is considered doubtful.
First base coach Carlos Bernhardt was on a one-year contract this season and could be returned to his previous responsibility as coordinator of the Orioles' scouting and player development in the Dominican Republic.
Seeking to halt speculation associated with the sudden availability of Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland, Angelos said, "Ray Miller was our manager last season, and he will be our manager next season as well." Angelos said last month that Miller would remain regardless of who was named general manager.
Foss already has interviewed Indians assistant GM Dan O'Dowd, Cincinnati Reds GM Jim Bowden, Atlanta Braves assistant GM Dean Taylor and Marlins assistant GM Frank Wren.
Pub Date: 10/04/98