Angelos' `advisers' to get turn at plate

Owner to be briefed on manager/GM search

October 18, 1999|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos will accelerate the 10-day-old search for a director of baseball operations and a manager today by chairing a meeting of an "advisory committee" of the club's department heads.

Scouting director Tony DeMacio, director of player development Tom Trebelhorn, assistant general manager Bruce Manno and director of player personnel Syd Thrift will brief Angelos and an executive board comprised of chief operating officer Joe Foss, executive vice president John Angelos and chairman's representative Louis Angelos. The committee has been charged with conducting day-to-day business until a successor to the ousted Frank Wren is found.

Club executives met for three days last week with scouting and player development personnel in Lakeland, Fla. Louis Angelos classified the sessions as "positive," an impression shared by those assured that their positions within the organization are safe.

The Orioles' assurances were not total, however. The club has decided not to renew the contract of international scout Jeff Wren, brother of the former general manager.

Club sources also say that a question-and-answer session last Monday also became a sounding board for several tenured members to voice their concerns. Though Foss and Angelos' sons were receptive to those opinions offered, they also were surprised by the level of concern expressed.

Beyond the merits of firing Wren and manager Ray Miller, the organization has never publicly addressed reasons for its annual highly visible turnover.

Should a director of baseball operations and manager be in place by Halloween, the Orioles would have employed three heads of baseball operations within a 12-month span. The next manager will be the fifth to serve during Angelos' six-year stewardship of the club.

The question apparently extends beyond Angelos' critics. Many within the industry have questioned the Orioles' ability to attract strong outside candidates for either position. Boston Red Sox assistant general manager Mike Port unsuccessfully lobbied for an interview last October; however, Port ripped the club after Wren's firing.

The Orioles aren't the only ones searching for help. The Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Anaheim Angels, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians are looking to replace managers. Atlanta Braves hitting coach Don Baylor spoke with the Cubs, Brewers and Indians before the postseason began, but the Orioles cannot approach him until after the Braves' run is over, according to general manager John Schuerholz.

Orioles third base coach Sam Perlozzo is the lone candidate known to have interviewed with Angelos, but the process almost certainly will expand to include Baylor, first base coach Marv Foley, bench coach Eddie Murray, fired Cubs manager Jim Riggleman, Boston Red Sox bullpen coach Grady Little and ousted Indians manager Mike Hargrove.

In the most unusual scenario, a club source said the Orioles may seek permission from Seattle to speak with manager Lou Piniella.

Before his Oct. 6 firing, Wren strongly advised Angelos to hire someone with significant managerial experience. Such a prerequisite would eliminate Murray but it is not known if Angelos plans to adhere to the suggestion.

Former Rockies manager Jim Leyland and St. Louis Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa have stiff-armed overtures.

Criticized for what has been perceived as a slow-starting process to find Miller's successor, the Orioles are unlikely to act as clumsily as did the Detroit Tigers in hiring Phil Garner last week.

Not only did the Tigers officially hire Garner before notifying incumbent manager Larry Parrish of his ouster, they disregarded commissioner Bud Selig's industry-wide edict of minority participation in the process. Selig is expected to levy a $250,000 fine against the Tigers, according to industry sources.

The Mariners and Angels continue to search for general managers. Both have interviewed a number of candidates, including former New York Yankees GM Bob Watson and New York Mets assistant general manager Omar Minaya. Chicago White Sox assistant general manager Dan Evans, runner-up to Wren for the Orioles job last October, is also a finalist for the Mariners' job.

One name circulating for the Orioles is that of Texas Rangers scouting director Chuck McMichael. McMichael, in his third season as Rangers scouting director, was among those who interviewed with Wren for the assistant general manager position last October.

The Orioles have been denied permission to interview Yankees director of international and professional scouting Gordon Blakeley by George Steinbrenner. Blakeley is credited for much of the Yankees' renaissance and is considered a likely candidate as a future general manager. But Steinbrenner apparently was unable to call a truce in his sparring with the Orioles' owner.

Pub Date: 10/18/99

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