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Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - I wasn't exactly the Amazing Kreskin a few weeks ago when I predicted that Baltimore Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo was probably going to be the first manager fired.
With some of the veterans openly questioning his decisions, the writing was already on the wall. Plus there had reportedly been some internal discussions about replacing him, as well. So I can't really say I was going out on a limb.
Basically it wasn't a matter of if, it was when.
A six-game winning streak to close the month of May probably delayed the inevitable, but the swoon his team has endured since was too much for Perlozzo to overcome. The Orioles have won just twice in the month of June and apparently a 1-8 homestand was the final straw for owner Peter Angelos, who made Perlozzo the first manager to be fired this season on Monday.
Now the big question is, where do the Orioles go from here?
Reportedly the team has already hired former Chicago Cubs president Andy MacPhail as their chief operating officer and by all accounts his first choice to succeed Perlozzo is the NL's reigning Manager of the Year and current New York Yankees broadcaster Joe Girardi, whom MacPhail is somewhat familiar with from his time in Chicago.
Davey Johnson's name has also been bandied about. Johnson, of course, has major ties to the organization and was the last manager to guide them to a winning season back in 1997. Another name that has been linked to the position is that of Dusty Baker, who also has a relationship with MacPhail. Baker managed four years for the Cubs, while MacPhail was the GM.
Supposedly, though, it is Girardi's job if he wants it. Will he accept, though? Baltimore isn't exactly laden with young talent like the Florida Marlins were a year ago. There are no Miguel Cabreras or Dontrelle Willis' in the O's dugout that's for sure.
Instead Baltimore is stocked with the Melvin Moras, Miguel Tejadas and Kevin Millars of the world. While the players will listen to Girardi, since most of them probably played against him, I have a hard time believing his message will come across as clearly as it did to a bunch of wide-eyed, happy-to-be-in- the big league type players in Florida.
You'd have to think that the only way Girardi accepts this job is if he gets some sort of guarantee from Angelos and MacPhail that there will be a complete overhaul of the roster. I think the hiring of MacPahil, though, has already pretty much guaranteed that.
Dealing Tejada would be a good start. Anaheim desperately needs a bat to protect Vladimir Guerrero and has a ton of young talent to offer. Baltimore would be foolish not to ship him there. Plus a change of scenery might just be the shot of B-12 that he needs to get it going.
Girardi is in a tough position here. It is easy to say he can sit back and wait for any job he wants. But after a while if you keep turning jobs down, your phone will stop ringing.
Take Willie Randolph for example. Randolph was a "hot" managing prospect about a decade ago, but reportedly turned down jobs in Cincinnati and Milwaukee, primarily because he would have had to take a pay cut from his third base coaching gig with the Yankees. Randolph got some courtesy interviews after that, but it took him awhile before he was finally offered his job with the Mets.
Now, of course, Girardi is in a different spot here, he already has a Manager of the Year trophy under his belt, but what job could he possibly be waiting for? Any job he takes, he more than likely would be taking over a team that is in a bad situation, or they wouldn't be making a change. The Yankees are not going to fall into his lap. I would be shocked if Don Mattingly is not Joe Torre's successor.
If Girardi gets some assurances that changes will be made, Baltimore really isn't that bad of a situation. You can build a rotation around Erik Bedard and Adam Loewen and as scarce as it may be, there is some talent on the roster. Plus, catcher Matt Wieters, the team's first round draft pick, is close to major league ready already and by all accounts he was the best position player available this year.
Who better to tutor him than Girardi?
Angelos will also do whatever it takes to put a winner on the field. He has spent money in the past and I am sure he will in the future. Now that MacPhail is supposedly running the show, the money will be spent more wisely. In other words no more Albert Belle contracts.
The only downside for Girardi would be the fact that he would be playing in the same division with the Yankees and Red Sox. But, who doesn't like a challenge?
My guess is that Girardi takes this job. And when he does, let the fire sale, as well as the march back to respectability begin.
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