Where do we go from here?

As I sit in the press box for the series finale between the Orioles and Red Sox the temptation to write about how incredibly horrible it is to see so much red in the stands remains high.  But that’s been done to death.

(Still I just tasted a little bit of lunch for the second time thanks to a roar from the crowd as Boston turned two to end the 2nd)

The remedy of course easily identifies itself, but the execution remains a 14 year disaster.  If the Orioles become winners, orange drowns out red in the seats.  But how to do that?

The Andy MacPhail era, now mostly done with year four, seems to have changed little.  The minor league system he controls has grown some starting pitchers, but as young arms often do, the valleys last longer than the peaks.  Three of the core four sit in either Bowie or Norfolk as they work out “issues”.  While they battle through regression Buck Showalter has been given minor league pitchers, not minor league prospects, to battle the American League East with predictable results. And the bats that MacPhail professed to buy unfortunately come with no money back guarantee.

We have seen progress made with the creation of a truly competitive spring training facility.  I remember talking to former Oriole Steve Kline in 2005 at the Orioles old facility in Fort Lauderdale.  He was frankly aghast at the quality, or lack thereof, after coming to the Orioles from St. Louis.  Orioles fans were later aghast at Kline’s inability to get anybody out, but that doesn’t mean his outrage at the low class facility rang hollow.

But that’s not enough.  Talent evaluation and talent development are the key ingredients for change.  That’s where Buck Showalter and Andy MacPhail now seem to drift apart in philosopy.

I’ve heard from multiple sources that there’s a growing frustration from Showalter about who he has to work with, that he doesn’t believe what the scouts are selling him.  The scouts run by Andy MacPail.  Showalter and MacPhail  share the same desire to labor over every detail.  A pair of personalities that love to be in charge makes for a tough combination in any environment.  Throw in a .414 win percentage and the situation becomes untenable.

Publicly, Showalter said all the right things as part of an interview on MASN before Tuesday night’s game.  I believe whole heartedly the things Buck said about Andy as a person. Everybody likes Andy and everybody likes Buck.  But when it comes to figuring out the future of this rudderless franchise only one of them will have the reigns.

MacPhail’s contract is up at the end of this season and he has remained non commital about his future here. Showalter I’m told would at the least like more say in player evalutaion and development, and love a strong role in the hiring of a new general manager.

Peter Angelos though may have other ideas.  He said during spring training that MachPhail isn’t going anywhere.  If that’s the case, don’t be surprised if Buck does.

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