In what doesn’t exactly qualify as news by any stretch, the Orioles intend to negotiate a contract extension with manager Buck Showalter this offseason.
A report from CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman Tuesday night said owner Peter Angelos has informed individuals of his plans to extend Showalter, but no timetable appears to be in place for finalizing a new contract. The Baltimore manager recently underwent knee surgery and is recovering at his home in Texas. Showalter’s contract expires after the 2013 season, but it was elementary that the Orioles would want to keep the 56-year-old in Baltimore after he guided the club to a 93-69 record and its first postseason appearance in 15 years.
Whenever asked about the possibility of receiving an extension, Showalter has repeatedly downplayed any urgency by reminding media he was already under contract for the 2013 season. Arriving in Baltimore with a reputation of being a control freak who wore out his welcome quickly in previous stops, Showalter has drawn affection from players and has enjoyed his time with the Orioles.
Showalter has developed a good working relationship with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette despite the latter being hired more than a year after the manager took the gig in Baltimore. The two worked in tandem to construct a roster that won the inaugural American League Wild Card Game before taking the New York Yankees the full five games in the AL Division Series.
“If [he's] interested in staying, nobody’s more interested in keeping him than I am,” Angelos said in the Orioles clubhouse following the Game 5 ALDS loss at Yankee Stadium. “And, certainly, I speak for everyone in the organization. They had Buck as the manager, Dan Duquette as the GM and you certainly couldn’t ask for a better, better combination.”
Any outcome other than a new contract for Showalter will be met with negative reaction, so the Orioles would be better served to get something done sooner rather than later in the offseason. After completing their first winning season in 15 years, the Orioles can finally sell Baltimore as a viable destination for free agents and Showalter would be a prime selling point in that process.
It won’t prompt free agents to offer their services at a discounted price, but a long-term assurance of Showalter being in Baltimore could go a long way in the Orioles being able to sign premium talent at fair-market prices as opposed to the long-held perception of needing to vastly overpay notable free agents.