And so the search begins for the Orioles' next general Manager. Apparently, "according to sources," half of the senior vice presidents and assistant GMs in the league are candidates.
Whoever is being considered, Peter Angelos and the Orioles can't afford to drag the search out. This club needs to be aggressive in the free agency market this winter, so chop chop.
Based on that, the Orioles don't necessarily need a seasoned executive, but an aggressive one. I'm not talking a reckless cowboy, but a leader who will make bold moves.
Either way, professional sports teams don't bust out of 14-year losing streaks by being conservative. If there were ever a time to welcome a GM with a radical approach, it's now.
Andy MacPhail was very calculated. He did extremely well on the trade market. In year one, he made bold moves by trading the club's two best players, Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada. After those transactions, he was a bit more conservative, choosing to bank on the pool of young talent in the Birds' farm system.
We now know that approach, while logical, backfired to a certain extent. I don't fault MacPhail for that choice. Based on the amount of promising young pitching the Orioles had in the farm system four years ago, I would've probably done the same thing.
Knowing that, MacPhail's successor needs to be equally as aggressive on the trade market, and 10 times more aggressive in free agency.
Starting with trades, no player should be off limits. My MASNsports.com colleague, Roch Kubatko blogged about the possibility of trading Adam Jones. I say if the O's get a front-line starter and possible top-tier prospects in return, do it. I'd hate to see Jones go. His fire and leadership is hard to replace, but pitching needs to be top priority. The Birds need to get it any way they can.
The only player, I'd struggle to let go is Matt Wieters, simply because All-Star catchers with his bat and defensive abilities don't grow on trees. That's an extremely hard hole to fill, even if trading him yields amazing returns in the pitching department. Still, everything should be considered.
I want to see the Orioles go borderline insane on the free agency market. I'm talking Jayson Werth getting $126 miillion from the Washington Nationals insane.
In his exit comments to the press, MacPhail alluded to the fact that top-tier free agents don't want to come to Baltimore. Why would they? The big names will get their mega payday either way. Why go to a club that hasn't won in more than a decade?
The only way to get a Prince Fielder or C.J. Wilson this offseason is to grossly overpay. I know - it's not my money, but the Orioles aren't a small market team. They've made offers in the $140 million range before (Mark Teixeira). They can do it again.
It will be up to the new GM to make those bold decisions and then take the heat that comes with them. He or she can't be thin-skinned.
One thing MacPhail did is put the Orioles a piece or two away from being a team that can make some noise in the division. The difficult part of the equation is those two missing pieces are probably both starting pitchers. There isn't a club in the major leagues that couldn't use top-notch starters. Demand way exceeds supply.
I truly believe if the new GM comes in and outbids other clubs in a tunnel-vision quest to get an ace in Baltimore, the rest will fall in place.