A Look at Potential O’s Managerial Candidates

June 10, 2010 | Ryan Chell

Dave Trembley is out as Orioles manager, and Juan Samuel is in as interim manager for the time being. But the key word there is interim, and Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos are already hard at working at bringing in about a dozen candidates to come in and interview for the job. No one is sure if these candidates would be hired immediately this season, or if it’s a process that will work itself out into the off-season and into next year.

Given the Orioles recent trend of hiring mangers with little to no managerial experience on the big league level( Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Dave Trembley), you would think that Orioles management would want to bring in a manager with some success  in the past. Some on this list have brought their teams a World Series title, or built a team up that eventually won a championship.

But the list of potential Orioles managers also includes those familiar with this organization, minor league coaches on the rise, and some who are guys that might have an ability to light a fire under these players. A former Oriole, like Rick Dempsey or B.J. Surhoff could be an option as well, in the hopes that they could return the team to the good old days and the “Oriole Way”.

Experienced Managers

1. Larry Bowa (418-435 as a manger)

Larry Bowa

The former Phillies and Padres manager is currently the third base coach for Joe Torre’s Dodgers. He last managed for the Phillies back in 2004, where he was the manager for four seasons. During that time, he was 337-308 with Philadelphia, including winning the Manager of the Year award in 2002 for bringing the Phillies within two games of winning the division after the team finished last the year previously.

As a player, he was a five-time all-star shortstop and a two-time Gold Glove winner, playing mostly for Philadelphia during his 15-year career. He along with Don Mattingly will be one of several Dodger assistant coaches the Orioles may take a look at for their managerial position.

2. Phil Garner (985-1054)

Phil Garner

Phil Garner has been around the block when it comes to managing in the big leagues, managing close to 2000 games. He is very competitive and has that fiery attitude that Orioles ownership might be be looking for in a manager. He played on the 1979 Pirates World Championship team that defeated the Orioles, and recently he saved the Astros’ 2005 season  by taking them to the World Series but they got swept by the Chicago White Sox. He has manged in both leagues, but he is probably a better fit in the National League.

3. Bobby Valentine (1117-1072)

Bobby Valentine

He is an early favorite for the coaching job, but he hasn’t managed in the majors since 2002 with the Mets. Including his managerial time with New York, who he took to one NLCS and World Series, and the Rangers, he also has manged the Norfolk Tides when they were the Mets’ Triple A team and had two stints over in Japan. His career record with the Mets is not bad (536-467). He is a player’s manager, but he also is a bit of a character as well. Everyone remembers when he got thrown out of a game, and came back from the clubhouse with a clever disguise.

Bobby Valentine

4. Buck Showalter (882-833)

Buck Showalter

A two-time AL Manager of the Year, he has manged the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers in his 14-year managerial career. He has turned around losing teams fast, and was probably the most successful during his time with the Yankees (313-268). He was hired two seasons before the expansion D-backs began playing to build the team on a personnel stage. He never played in the majors thanks to former teammate Don Mattingly, who was at first base when he was coming up in the minors. His only issues? He has had problems in the past with ownership, and is kind of a control freak.

The other funny thing? Both the Yankees and the D-backs won the World Series the year after he left. Maybe the O’s should just sign him for a year, then fire him, and expect a title the following year if the trend continues.

Another thing working in his favor? He used to work with the great Yankee Assistant to the Traveling Secretary George Constanza

Buck Showalter with Assistant to the Traveling Secretary, George Constanza.

5. Davey Johnson (1148-888)

Davey Johnson

Oriole fans know this man well. A former second baseman (1965-1972, 3 Gold Gloves and All-Star selections) and manager for the O’s, he has won three World Series in his career, two with the O’s as a player and one managing the Mets in 1986, thanks to some guy named Bill Buckner.

Bill Buckner

During his 14 year managerial career, his only losing campaign was in his second-to-last season with the Dodgers. He reached the league championship series five times in his career, including two with Baltimore in 1996 and 1997. After his MLB managerial career ended, he also served time as the US Manager in the World Baseball Classic and is currently an adviser for the Nationals.

The problems standing in his way to a return to the O’s? He has fought with owners before, including Reds owner Marge Schott and the much publicized tussle he had with Peter Angelos after the ’97 season. If Angelos were to stay away from Davey, he could be back in an Oriole uniform.

6. Bob Melvin (493-508)

Bob Melvin

Melvin, a former backup catcher with the O’s, recently was the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played ten seasons in the majors, including three with Baltimore. He won 93 games with Seattle in his first year managing, and then after moving on to Arizona, he brought the D-backs an NL West title in 2007 and earned himself Manager of the Year honors. His hiring would be a combination of a fiery attitude, a former Oriole, and a man who knows baseball. He is currently a scout for the Mets organization.

7. Eric Wedge (561-573)
Eric Wedge

Wedge has been another name that has been mentioned a lot. His rise through the minor leagues in Cleveland was well-documented, as he was a 3-time Manager of the Year in different levels of the Indians organization. In 2001, he led the Triple A Buffalo Bisons to a 91-51 record. In 2002, at the age of 34, he was named the Indians’ 39th manager, and in 2005, he led the Indians to a 93-69 record, eighth best in franchise history.

He was runner-up for Manager of the Year, losing to AL Central rival, Ozzie Guillen of the White Sox. He saw success two years later again in 2007, when he led the Indians to a 96-66 record, winning the AL Central for the first time since 2001. They lost in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox, who eventually went on to win the World Series. His problem? He needs good players around him in order to succeed.

8. Tom Kelly (1140-1244)
Tom Kelly

Andy MacPhail’s manager in Minnesota, where he won two World Series titles. He was only 36 years old when he was named manager of the Twins. The results? From 1986-1992, the Twins were one of the best teams in the league, winning those two World Series titles in 1987 and 1991. Kelly won the Manager of the Year award in that 1991 season. However, with star players like Kirby Puckett retiring and injuries plaguing the team, the Twins only saw two winning seasons from 1992 to 2001, his last in Minnesota. MacPhail would love to bring Kelly back for a reunion, but Kelly has already said that he’s not interested in managing, and he has been away from the game for quite some time.

“The Assistants”

1. Ryne Sandberg

Ryne Sandberg

Sandberg is an intriguing candidate for so many reasons. Sandberg does not have any major league managing experience, but he is familiar with Andy MacPhail as a player and as coach. He was the Cubs 2B for 14 seasons, was a 10x All-Star, won 9 Gold Gloves, and was the MVP of the 1984 season for the National League. He has manged every level of the Cubs’ organization and has quickly rose through the ranks.

He actually interviewed for the Cubs job back in 2006, and lobbied to be the manger, losing to Lou Piniella. Piniella thinks that the job is his when he is no longer the manager. The Cubs connection is probably a big hint that Andy MacPhail is going to be calling him regarding the O’s job. I’d keep an eye out on him, because if he doesn’t come here, he is either going to be the next Cubs manager or managing somewhere else.

2. Don Mattingly

Don Mattingly

Joe Torre’s protege for the last several years, Mattingly started out as a special instructor for the Yankees after retiring in 1995. He served in that role till 2003, when he was named the team’s hitting coach under Torre. In 2004, the Yankees set a franchise record in home runs with 242. After Lee Mazzilli left to manage the O’s in 2006, he replaced him as Torre’s bench coach.

Then, when Torre was fired by George Steinbrenner three years ago, he was considered the front runner for the job and interviewed for it. Instead, Joe Girardi was hired and Mattingly followed Torre to LA, serving the same role with the Dodgers. He is considered one of the top assistant coaches in the league and will be a manager somewhere soon.

3. Gary Allenson
Gary Allenson

The O’s Triple A manger was recently called up to be the third base coach when Juan Samuel moved into Trembley’s seat. He has been with the organization for years, including managing the Ottawa Lynx in 2003(79-65), the rookie level Bluefield Orioles in 2006 (31-37), and he has been the Tides’ manager since 2006, posting a 228-254 record over that span. He is another manager with attitude, but I would think there would be other candidates looked at before Allenson.

4. Jeff Datz
Jeff Datz
The current O’s bench coach spent nine years as an assistant for the Indians, where he was a big favorite of the players, especially Grady Sizemore, who had Datz pitch to him in the Home Run Derby a few years back. Again, I think others would be given a shot before Datz.

5. Juan Samuel
Juan Samuel

The Orioles could do what they have done in the past, where they just name the interim manager the permanent manager. He had been the Orioles 3B coach since 2006, and before that managed the Mets’ Double A team. He actually played against the Orioles in the 1983 World Series for the Phillies. If they are smart, the Orioles will not hire the interim manager a third time in a row.

6. Brad Komminsk

Brad Komminsk

Komminsk is currently the manager of the Bowie Baysox. A former Top 5 pick of the Atlanta Braves when he was a player, he spent seven seasons managing in the Cleveland organization, winning Carolina League Manager of the Year in 2001. The team he led during that time was the Kinston Indians to a 89-51 record.

Oriole Greats

1. Rick Dempsey
Rick Dempsey
If wanting the job the most was the qualifications for the manager’s position, Dempsey would win. The 1983 World Series MVP has lobbied for the job four times. and has been passed over time after time. He has spent 43 years in baseball, including 24 as a player. He has been a coach for the Orioles, and has managed at the minor league level for the Mets and the Dodgers. He currently serves as a studio analyst for MASN, and the last time he coached was 2006.

2. BJ Surhoff
BJ Surhoff
His passion for the Orioles, evidenced by when he cried after being traded to the Braves in the late 1990’s, is something maybe the Orioles could use in an effort to get things turned around.

3. Bill Ripken

Bill Ripken
Bill Ripken, now an owner of the Aberdeen Ironbirds, has little to no coaching experience, other than being the first base coach for the USA team in the WBC. Those that want a Ripken in the manager’s chair might have to be happy with Bill.

Tune into “The Morning Reaction” on 1570 WNST for more info regarding the Orioles’ managerial search!