Showalter wants to keep O's staff intact

New manager reaches out to Samuel, asks him to stay

July 30, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

One thing Buck Showalter said he has learned in his previous 11 seasons as manager is to surround himself with the best people available.

Showalter said Friday that he plans to do that in his new role as Orioles manager -- which could mean retaining some of the club's current coaches or dipping into the franchise's impressive history for his 2011 staff.

At this point, however, he will not make any changes to the Orioles' coaching staff.

"We are going to leave it as is. If someone chooses to leave on their own, that's up to them," said Showalter, who will be formally announced as the club's 17th full-time manager at a noon news conference Monday. "We'll see where we are at the end of the season. I think the players have had enough dealing with this sort of change.

"We'll see what happens at the end of the year. We all will have a better grip on the situation by then."

Showalter said it is his intention to retain Juan Samuel as third base coach, and he told Samuel that in a telephone conversation Friday. Samuel has been the club's interim manager since June 4 and has hinted it might be uncomfortable for him and Showalter if he returned to the coaching box. It seems he is leaning toward stepping down.

"I would not be uncomfortable with him," Showalter said. "I don't know Juan, but his reputation is very good. He is well respected in baseball. Â I would make it as comfortable as I can for him. I try to surround myself with the best baseball people I can."

Samuel said he appreciated that Showalter reached out to him and that the two had a nice conversation.

"It was a very nice gesture," Samuel said. "He said that he's been watching some of the games. He knows what we're going through. He said that he appreciated the good job which I have done. He also mentioned the fact that he doesn't really know me personally because we haven't met, but just because we haven't, that doesn't mean we can't work together."

Samuel is expected to mull his decision through the weekend and will meet with Andy MacPhail, the club's president of baseball operations, on Monday. Samuel called MacPhail on Friday to give him his thoughts, and MacPhail asked whether the two could meet further.

"Hopefully, something will come out of there," Samuel said. "He wanted to meet face to face and talk this thing over. We'll probably know something on Monday."

Showalter said he has not thought about his 2011 coaching staff yet, though there is speculation he could name some of his former coaches to fill any vacant roles. He also said he would be open to bringing in former Orioles linked to the club's glory days.

"I have a lot of respect for history and tradition -- that's one of the attractive things about this job -- and everywhere but in Arizona I tried to embrace that," said Showalter, alluding to the Diamondbacks' status as an expansion team when he was manager. "I like the idea of trying to embrace that as much as possible, especially if they are willing to work and impart their knowledge."

Showalter isn't offering names, but former Orioles Brady Anderson and B.J. Surhoff have been more visible at Camden Yards recently, and Mike Bordick is currently a member of the minor league staff and has helped out with the big leaguers. Former Oriole and Texas Ranger Bill Ripken has also been floated as a potential coaching fit.

Overall, Showalter said he is excited to manage for the first time since he left the Rangers after the 2006 season. And the 54-year-old might be the least pumped member of the Showalter clan about the opportunity. He said his wife, daughter and son are especially psyched. His son, Nathan, has already purchased two Orioles hats from a Dallas store.

"These two kids have grown up in baseball and with this past situation [as an ESPN analyst] it's been great being around them a lot more," he said. "But I realized how much they had missed not having [major league baseball] in their lives and how genuinely excited they are about it. And I am too, obviously."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Jeff Zrebiec contributed to this article

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