Orioles' choices remain on call

Candidates kept apprised

team hopes manager is in place by tomorrow

Follow-up interviews unlikely

Decision may come today, followed by negotiations

timetable favors Mazzilli

November 06, 2003|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

Still hoping to have a new manager in place by tomorrow, Orioles vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan had phone conversations with several of the candidates yesterday to ask follow-up questions and keep people updated on the process.

They contacted each of the four unofficial finalists - Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Rich Dauer and Eddie Murray - as well as some of the other candidates, but Flanagan said the purpose wasn't to conduct a second round of interviews.

In fact, it now appears the Orioles will make a decision without conducting another round of formal interviews.

That would seem to bode well for Mazzilli, who was considered the favorite after the Orioles finished meeting with each of the eight candidates.

But Flanagan and other team officials wouldn't tip their hands last night, other than to say that tomorrow could be the day.

"We were looking all along at Friday, as one of those days [to make the announcement]," Flanagan said.

The free-agent market will open Monday, and with the baseball general manager meetings starting that day in Phoenix, Beattie and Flanagan were hoping to have the manager decision behind them this week.

So far, they have met no resistance from team owner Peter Angelos, who is also hoping a decision can be reached this week, according to high-ranking Orioles sources.

Last night, team officials speculated that the club will make its choice final today and start negotiating by phone before bringing the new manager into Baltimore to sign his contract and make the announcement.

Beattie will be in Chicago today, along with Orioles director of baseball administration Ed Kenney, for a conference on salary arbitration.

"It's going to be hard logistically to get everyone together at the same time," Flanagan said. "But there is the phone."

Flanagan said the point of calling the candidates yesterday was simply to keep them up to speed.

It has been a long process that started when the Orioles fired Mike Hargrove on Sept. 29.

Murray, who was in Baltimore at the time for other business, had his interview Oct. 2, and the club waited 12 more days before interviewing Perlozzo, Dauer and Rick Dempsey, in succession.

During the World Series, teams are instructed not to make news that could take attention away from baseball's showcase event, so the Orioles didn't resume interviewing until Oct. 28, with Terry Francona followed by Tom Foley, Mazzilli and Grady Little.

"Sensing some anxiety from many of them," Flanagan said, "we just wanted to touch base."

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