Orioles: If Showalter rumors are true, MacPhail finally spends some “real” money

July 11, 2010 | Drew Forrester

It took Andy MacPhail 37 months, but he (apparently) has finally caved in and gone first-cabin with one of his hires.

I don’t think he’ll do any videos on it or anything, but those of us who have been begging the Orioles head honcho to spend some money on quality personnel can take quiet relief tonight if the rumors are true and the Birds are on the verge of hiring Buck Showalter as their new manager.

Make no mistake about it, if Showalter does make the move here, he comes to Baltimore a winner…and he hasn’t even stepped into the dugout.

Showalter wins because he made Andy blink.

You know MacPhail’s M.O. by now.  He’s the guy who goes to a store advertising a “Buy One, Get One Free” sale and tries to negotiate on the free item by asking the store to pay HIM $1.00 for taking it off their hands.  Cheap calls Andy looking for spending advice.  Get the picture?

The good news, though, is this:  By hiring Showalter, the Orioles are just about on the verge of being all-in, and that’s music to our ears – as Orioles fans – since it’s been a half-hearted spending effort for the better part of Andy’s three-year tenure.

Showalter won’t come cheap.  And he also won’t come without owning some sort of autonomy when it comes to on-field matters and, we assume, player personnel issues.  It’s the first time in MacPhail’s Baltimore era that he’s actually forked over money.  REAL money.  And it’s also the first time Andy’s gone outside of his apparent comfort zone, passing (if the rumors about Showalter are true) on the stoic, quiet, reserved, MacPhail-clone in Eric Wedge and opting instead – maybe because the owner demanded it? – for the control-hungry, micro-manager in Showalter.

I’m not sure what bothers MacPhail more.  Being forced to spend more on the manager than he would like or having to spend more on a manager because he was forced to fire the one he hired.

He tried to get by on the cheap three years ago by keeping Dave Trembley around.  Free agents left and right have been ignored and in almost every single case, it was all over money.  Last Fall, with Trembley’s contract up, MacPhail produced his biggest blunder of all, retaining the skipper on a lame-duck contract that he regretted in early June when the O’s woeful start forced him to can Trembley.

And now, as he scrambles to try and save HIS job, MacPhail has finally done what we’ve all (or most of  us) been begging him to do for three years.  He’s spending real money on someone that matters.

After feigning interest in Mark Teixeira…and ignoring the wishes of A.J. Burnett…and passing on Adam Dunn…and not returning Vlad Guerrero’s phone call…and signing Garrett Atkins ($4 million) instead of Adam LaRoche ($17 million/2 years)…MacPhail can no longer play the role of the miser.

He’s been forced to spend money – and give up some power, we assume – on Buck Showalter.

As a ticket buyer this year (34 total, plus a Junior Dugout Club membership – $17.00 – for my son), I’m a mini-stockholder in the club and I’m thrilled to see MY money being spent in a manner I approve.

Like a lot of stockholders, I’m growing tired of the losses and the last place finishes and the dreadful summers with nothing to watch.  So I’m pleased as punch with the Showalter hiring, because it shows me that MacPhail might finally be grasping the concept.  You can’t win by NOT spending money.  You just can’t.  Not when the team stinks in the first place.  And that’s what MacPhail’s been trying to do over the last three years.  He’s been trying to impress the girl with a bottle of Sutter Home instead of just asking for the Captain’s List and investing in a bottle of Silver Oak.

Who knows if Showalter will actually MANAGE the team this season if, in fact, he actually gets hired as the reports are indicating.  There’s this completely asinine theory floating around that the Orioles might sign Showalter and then let him watch the last half of the season from the press box.  We’ll hammer away at that issue if it actually turns out to be the case.  Honestly, it would be very Orioles’ish to do something like that, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  Showalter has to get hired first.

A four-game winning streak in Texas, coupled with the news that the Orioles are on the verge of hiring Buck Showalter.  Who cares how either of those happened — they’re both good pieces of welcomed news.

Three years later, MacPhail finally shows the fans he knows how to spend money.

Thanks, Buck.