Showalter, front office meet on state of O's

Showalter, front office meet on state of O's

ARLINGTON -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and principal owner Peter Angelos convened on Thursday in Baltimore in a meeting Showalter called "productive" in evaluating the 2010 season and determining the direction of the Orioles going forward.

"We talked about the club, where it is, where we hoped it would be," Showalter said of a squad that went 34-23 after he took over the club on Aug. 2. "I think it was more Andy, kind of updating him on some things he didn't know about. It was good."

MacPhail and Angelos typically hold a yearly meeting in October, but this is the first time a manger has been present, furthering the belief that Showalter will take an active role in shaping the organization going forward.

The biggest item on his agenda remains naming his coaching staff, a process which has been held up by Major League Baseball's wealth of managerial openings. With teams like the Pirates, Mets, Brewers and Blue Jays still among those with a vacancy, potential replacements are in a state of flux, impeding what teams such as the Orioles do regarding their staffs.

Showalter has spoken with the six members of the current O's staff and let them know they are free to explore other avenues while their spots in the organization remain in limbo. It is likely that at least a portion of the staff he inherited -- which includes hitting coach Terry Crowley, pitching coach Rick Kranitz, bench coach Jeff Datz, bullpen coach Alan Dunn, first-base coach John "T-Bone" Shelby and third-base coach Gary Allenson -- are retained, although it's not a given that they will be asked back in the same role.

While there was a report that Crowley -- who has been with the organization for two stints totaling 16 seasons -- would definitely return, Showalter has maintained that nothing has been finalized. The Baltimore Sun, citing multiple unnamed sources, reported on Thursday that the Orioles had discussed a change in roles for Crowley, although the talks were preliminary and nothing has been finalized, according to the report.

Showalter confirmed on Thursday that the organization could ask certain members of the staff to move to new positions, but added that any movement wouldn't solely be his choosing. For any coaching announcement to be final, it would have to go through MacPhail, who has final veto power, but has said previously that he doesn't believe the front office should "dictate" who is on the field.

For now, the direction of Showalter's staff depends on the decisions of several other Major League clubs. Former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, Rangers special assistant Mark Connor and Blue Jays third-base coach Brian Butterfield are all close friends of Showalter's and rumored to be in the mix. There is also a possibility that Showalter reaches out to his Yankee days, with virtually all of manager Joe Girardi's staff working on contracts that end after the season.

Butterfield told on Thursday that, as far as he knows, he's still in contention to replace retired skipper Cito Gaston in Toronto, and he expressed a strong desire to try to his hand at managing. The Blue Jays have whittled down a lengthy candidate list with a timetable that reportedly could come as soon as next week. Should Toronto pass, Butterfield -- a well-respected baseball man -- has said he is open to other positions with other clubs.

Showalter, who will fly back to Texas on Friday, has also made it clear that he wants to retain the old "Oriole Way," making it plausible that he brings former players back into the organization in an official capacity. While he has long advocated a speedy approach, Showalter admitted there is essentially no timetable for the Orioles until teams without a manager begin to "nail that down."

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.