If Trembley gets fired Friday, MacPhail takes his spot on the hot seat

June 03, 2010 | Drew Forrester

If the stories and reports are true and Dave Trembley is indeed going to be dismissed as Orioles manager on Friday, that’s too bad.

The change is necessary, of course, because — as the old saying goes — “you can’t fire all the players”.  But it’s still a shame that Trembley has to pay the price for the organization’s spending stubborness and the lack of progress within the current 25-man roster.

After all, Dave Trembley didn’t eschew Vlad Guerrero or Adam LaRoche and Trembley didn’t sign Garrett Atkins.  And it wasn’t Dave Trembley who gave Koji Uehara $10 million last year.  And so on, and so on, and so on.

The Orioles, and mainly Andy MacPhail, should be ashamed of themselves for the way this Trembley thing has played out.

He should have been fired when the team started the 2010 campaign 3-16.  At that point, with the season still young, some sort of rescue mission could have been launched and the remaining 143 games could have been played under better circumstances.

But, like most things the Birds do, they took too much time.  MacPhail’s favorite line is always, “we’ll let the market play out”…and that’s exactly what they did with Trembley this season.  Against most forms of sound logic last October, they re-hired Dave Trembley after two-plus seasons of not-exactly-setting-the-world-on-fire.  And if Trembley gets fired on Friday, as expected, MacPhail will have simply wasted the last 7 months fiddling around with a career-minor-leaguer at the helm.

This one, though, played out the way everything else plays out with the Orioles.  It took too long, the wrong decision was made in the first place, and finally, after all the damage is done, the plug gets pulled and we start all over again.

Starting all over again is what the Orioles do best these days.

In fact, it’s all they’ve done under Andy MacPhail.

At some point soon, the microscope needs to go on MacPhail and he needs to evaluated.  And I don’t mean evaluated by the fans and/or the media, I mean by the organization itself.

It’s now June of 2010 and what we have in Baltimore is a last place team, with what could wind up being a historically bad season, and no manager to call our own.  And we don’t really have that many good players, either.  Let’s not forget that.

I feel bad for Trembley because I know he loves baseball and being forced out like this tarnishes his resume and professional career in a manner that is grossly unfair to him given the players he was saddled with during his tenure.

However, and this is important, it’s also fair to note that Trembley knew going into this three years ago when he was hired in mid-season that the task at hand would be nearly impossible to complete.  He signed up for this gig…and he had to know that someday, most likely, he’d lose his job in Baltimore.

But the team (MacPhail) promised him better players and a competitive roster in 2010 and they failed to deliver on that pledge.

That’s what’s shameful about this.

MacPhail went out in the off-season and tried pussy-footing around to save a few pennies and keep the team’s bottom line favorable and all he got in return was an offensive unit that couldn’t put up more than 2 runs against Eddie Harris from the movie “Major League”.  And the closer he paid $12 million for hasn’t pitched since the first weekend of the season.

For some reason, MacPhail hasn’t figured out that you can’t win on a wing and a prayer in the American League East.  You need to score freakin’ runs.  Lots of them.  And to score those runs, you need productive ballplayers.  Productive ballplayers are expensive.  The formula really isn’t that hard to figure out.

Well, for some people it’s not.

I don’t know Juan Samuel at all.  I remember him as a decent player during his career, but I don’t know a whole lot about him as a managerial candidate.  The rumor is that Samuel will replace Trembley as the team’s interim manager.

I can just about guarantee Samuel won’t cut it in Baltimore as the manager.

It doesn’t even LOOK right on paper.  Orioles manager:  Juan Samuel.

Juan Samuel?


Managing the Orioles?

It doesn’t fit.  At least not to my eye, anyway.  I don’t buy into the theory that the manager MUST have some connection to the ballclub from his playing days, but it sure would be nice to give the gig to someone who really does care about the organization and a hopeful return to prominence.

Like I said, I don’t know Juan Samuel — he might be a great guy for all I know.  But he doesn’t bleed orange and black.

I’m not so sure MacPhail does, either.

I think Dave Trembley did.  I always got the sense that he was extremely proud to be running the Orioles on a daily basis.  I think it meant something to him.

That’s yet another reason why his firing is a tough one to swallow.

For some bizarre reason, he actually WANTED the job and ENJOYED it, seemingly.

Don’t get me wrong, the Orioles do need a new manager.  Dave Trembley wasn’t good enough.

But players make managers…it’s not the other way around.  The new manager-hotshot in baseball is none other than Tampa Bay’s Joe Maddon. Do you think he’d have these Birds playing over-inspired .550 baseball by now?  With this roster?  Of course he wouldn’t.  Players make managers. And they make them both ways — good and bad.

And those players MacPhail chased after and signed for this edition of the team…nothing they’ve done has even smelled of success so far this year. But they’re all staying — for now — and Trembley’s cleaning out his desk, it would appear.

That’s too bad.

Then again, the whole season could be filed under the category of “too bad”.

I don’t see it getting any better, either.

Starting now, though, there’s a new guy on the Orioles hot-seat:  Andy MacPhail.  Let’s see how he handles it between now and the end of the season.

If this thing doesn’t improve over the next four months, Andy’s desk might need cleaning too.

After all, as he has told us many times, “he’s running the ballclub”.

Therefore, this is now ALL on him.