The 2009 season has been difficult for Trembley and the Orioles, who have had eight players age 25 and younger make their major league debuts this season, with four rookies in the starting rotation for a good part of the season. Most of the Orioles' top prospects, including catcher Matt Wieters, outfielder Nolan Reimold and starters Brad Bergesen and Brian Matusz, have had extremely successful rookie seasons.
However, Trembley became the subject of much criticism from a disgruntled Orioles fan base because of a rash of base-running mistakes and the manager's handling of a bullpen that was statistically one of the worst in the American League.
MacPhail said several times that he wanted the club to get better as the season went on and avoid a late-season swoon, and neither occurred. The Orioles entered Friday night 21-50 since the All-Star break and on pace for their worst season since the 107-loss 1988 campaign.
Still, MacPhail acknowledged that there were "underlying factors" in the slide that forced Trembley to go with an often overmatched roster. MacPhail traded All-Star closer George Sherrill, weakening an already vulnerable bullpen, and cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff, which softened the middle of the lineup.
Outfielders Adam Jones and Reimold went down with season-ending injuries, as did starting pitchers Bergesen, Koji Uehara, Rich Hill and Alfredo Simon. Matusz was also shut down early as part of the club's cautious approach with their young starters.
"Obviously, we didn't do much this year to support the wins when I traded the No. 4 hole hitter and I traded our closer," MacPhail said. "You can't go ahead and tell the manager, 'Hey, you didn't win enough games.' And then six guys have to get sent home in September because they're hurt."
The news was well received in the Orioles' clubhouse. While veteran third baseman Melvin Mora publicly criticized Trembley earlier this season, most of the team's prominent players had come out in support of the manager.
"I think it's great," said veteran second baseman Brian Roberts, who has played for four managers in his nine years with the club. "He gives us some stability as an organization. We don't have to start from scratch."
Trembley will meet with MacPhail over the next couple of days to make a final decision on the coaching staff, but they are not expected to make many changes. Asked about his plans, Trembley said, "Let's win more."
With Friday's announcement, he got that victory, six months before Opening Day 2010.
Schmuck: O's make the safe (and financially sound) call.
Cowherd: MacPhail is certain to endure fans' wrath.
Reaction: Players largely approve of decision.