OAKLAND, Calif. - The Orioles severed another link to the regime of former general manager Frank Wren earlier this week by dismissing special assistant Bruce Manno.
The move, made on Tuesday but confirmed by club officials yesterday, was part of an organizational "restructuring," according to a club executive and came in the second of Manno's three-year contract. The move completes an evolution that first saw him removed as assistant general manager last November after Wren's controversial firing.
"He was basically given his release to pursue other interests," said director of public relations Bill Stetka.
It is believed Manno's position will likely be eliminated as Thrift named Bob Schaefer to the same position earlier this year. While Schaefer's duties include serving in an advisory role to Thrift and special assignment scouting, Manno's role atrophied. After frequently traveling in place of Wren last season, Manno was not allowed on the road this season. Featured in the team's 1999 media guide, Manno's biography was excluded this year.
Under Thrift, Manno was left in charge of interpreting baseball's complex waiver process, a role that will now be delegated elsewhere.
"I've established relationships here both within and beyond baseball. That's what I will really miss," Manno said.
Manno and his wife, Claudia, moved their permanent residence from Milwaukee to suburban Baltimore last year. "I've always looked at things as being part of God's plan," said Manno. "That's how I look at this. We move on from here and see where He takes us."
The Orioles will honor the remainder of Manno's contract, according to a club source, until he lands with another organization. The club would then make up any shortfall in income Manno might experience in such a move.
Manno, 46, was named assistant general manager on Nov. 23, 1998 after spending 15 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers in scouting and player development. He served as Brewers director of player development in 1982 before being named assistant general manager to Harry Dalton in 1987.
During Manno's term with the Brewers, the club was named Baseball American's organization of the year in 1985, 1986 and 1987.
Manno was instrumental in Wren's compilation of a modified data base often used in presenting player profiles and trade possibilities to majority owner Peter Angelos. Following Wren's ouster last November, Manno received significant support to become his successor but was instead reshuffled following Thrift's installation to the newly created post of vice-president of baseball operations. The reorganization also necessitated a title change for Manno, who soon learned that his ties to Wren left him outside Thrift's inner circle.
Manno's dismissal leaves scouting director Tony DeMacio as the only remaining department head installed by Wren. DeMacio is credited with supervising the most pivotal draft in franchise history in 1999, and is considered a centerpiece of the organization's desire to strengthen itself from within.