It's been common knowledge in Birdland for weeks that Andy MacPhail is all but gone as the Orioles President of Baseball Operations. There is all kinds of talk about if Buck Showalter will take over, or if not him, who? But one question that I really haven't seen asked yet is: Why?
It's obvious to us why MacPhail should be gone. In over four seasons as the man in charge, the Orioles have not improved. MacPhail has made some good moves in his time here, but they weren't enough and they were counteracted by his bad decisions. Much has been made of his reluctance to invest more in international scouting, he hasn't earned any points with his ridiculous bullpen signings, and while the minor league system got a bump a few years ago, it's again looking pretty depleted.
So it makes sense to me why Andy MacPhail needs to go, but by all accounts Peter Angelos wants MacPhail to say. Angelos, MacPhail, and Showalter met on Thursday for hours, but nothing has been released as a result of those talks. But what we do know is that MacPhail's departure appears to be entirely MacPhail's choice. If he wanted to keep plugging away, Angelos would have no problem with that.
We won't ever know exactly why MacPhail wants to step down. But here are a few theories:
- He's unhappy. Sure, there are only 30 GM jobs in the entire country, which is why the Orioles will have a number of options despite the fact that they are a horrible, horrible baseball team with a reputation for having one of the most incompetent owners in professional sports. But even with the exclusivity of the job and the high profile of those filling it, if MacPhail doesn't enjoy doing the job, what's the point? It might be an answer the borders on silly due to its simplicity, but who among us doesn't know what it's like to be in a job that, while there isn't anything wrong with it, we just hate getting up in the morning and having to do it?
- He doesn't think he can keep up in the American League East. When MacPhail came on board he was heralded for leading the Twins to two World Series wins, but that was almost twenty years ago. The baseball world was different then, and nowhere are the changes apparent than in the AL East. I know that we get tired of hearing about the differences in the AL East, but the truth is the it's home to the richest teams and the smartest teams, and it's a huge task.
- Peter Angelos won't let him do the job the way that he wants. The party line for years has been that Angelos took a step back when MacPhail arrived and stop meddling so much. Is it true? Who knows. But even if MacPhail thinks he can do the job, if Angelos has put parameters on his job that make it impossible for him to do his job, why would he want to stay? This is one theory that many people will believe, and it's also the one that's the most depressing.