O's eye Valentine, Wedge in managerial search

Ex-Mets manager will interview soon

former Indians skipper on radar, too

June 08, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles' search for a new manager is officially underway, with at least two intriguing names in the mix.

Bobby Valentine, the ESPN analyst who took the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000 and won a Japan Series title with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2005, will be interviewed by the Orioles, according to two industry sources. The meeting will happen soon, perhaps as early as Thursday or Friday or early next week.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has called several other candidates to gauge their interest, including former Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge, two sources said.

Wedge has not formally met with MacPhail and a date is not set for an interview, one source said. When contacted by The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Wedge declined to comment "out of respect to everyone involved."

Valentine also declined to comment, but an industry source said Valentine, who is in his first season of a four-year deal with ESPN, would manage again given the right opportunity — and that guiding the Orioles in the American League East is the kind of challenge that could bring him back.

MacPhail would not specifically address his list of candidates, none of whom he has talked to face-to-face since Dave Trembley was fired Thursday. Those meetings are expected to begin this week.

"We're starting the process, sort of the vetting process. We're not expecting anything soon. I'm not sure how the timetable is going to play out myself," MacPhail said. "I've never been through one of these in-season. We'll do our due diligence and work through it, but I'm not expecting anything quickly."

Valentine, 60, hasn't managed in the majors since the Mets fired him after the 2002 season. He left for Japan in 2004 and led the Marines until leaving after the 2009 season. The bombastic, entertaining Valentine managed 15 seasons in the big leagues for the Texas Rangers and Mets, compiling a 1,117-1072 record (.510 winning percentage).

He was the fifth overall pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1968 amateur draft and spent 10 seasons in the majors with five teams. A career .260 hitter, he played at least one game at every field position in the majors.

Wedge, 42, took the Indians job in 2003 at the age of 35 and spent seven seasons in Cleveland, compiling a 561-573 record (.495 winning percentage). He was fired last year after the Indians lost 97 games.

A 1989 third-round draft pick and former big league catcher, he spent parts of four seasons with the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.

The Orioles' managerial job opened Thursday night, when Trembley was fired after nearly three years at the helm. He has been replaced, on an interim basis, by third base coach Juan Samuel, who was 1-2 heading into Tuesday night's game against the New York Yankees.

The Orioles are a major league-worst 16-41 and were 21 games out of first heading into Tuesday.

Other potential candidates for the job might include Samuel, Buck Showalter, Phil Garner, Davey Johnson, Rick Dempsey, Bob Melvin and Clint Hurdle, among others.

Showalter, who has managed 11 seasons in the majors for three clubs, said he has not been contacted by MacPhail or anyone else in Orioles management about the position.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/danconnollysun

Baltimore Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article.

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