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Orioles move forward after dismissal

Orioles move forward after dismissal

SAN DIEGO -- One shoe dropped on Monday, leaving another one dangling in terms of Baltimore's organizational hierarchy. The Orioles dismissed Sam Perlozzo as their manager and have hired Andy MacPhail as their new chief operating officer, initiating a front-office shakeup even before they hire their future manager.

McPhail's hiring will likely be made official on Wednesday.

ESPN.com's Buster Olney first reported the news about MacPhail, which has subsequently been reported by several other news outlets. MacPhail and the Orioles met with former Florida manager Joe Girardi on Tuesday to gauge his interest in taking over the club on a more permanent basis.

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For now, Dave Trembley is the interim manager, and decisions on trades will likely continue to go through the executive tandem of Mike Flanagan and Jim Duquette. That may change once MacPhail -- who built two World Series champions in Minnesota and has two Hall of Fame relatives -- is officially on board.

MacPhail's father Lee and grandfather Larry are both enshrined at Cooperstown for their contributions to the game. Perhaps coincidentally, Lee MacPhail served as general manager of the O's from 1959 to 1965.

The youngest MacPhail was long considered a candidate to replace Bud Selig as commissioner, but accepting a job with the Orioles would likely change that. His last team-building experience came with the Cubs, where he came into close contact with Girardi and former manager Dusty Baker, another possible choice for Baltimore.

MacPhail served as president and chief executive officer in Chicago from 1994 through the end of the 2006 season, which means his tenure ended virtually at the same time as Baker's. Baker, a three-time National League Manager of the Year, has racked up an 1,162-1,041 record in 10 seasons with San Francisco and four with Chicago.

Flanagan declined to comment on the reports involving MacPhail and Girardi during Monday's press conference in which Trembley was named interim manager.

Girardi's track record is shorter, but equally impressive. In his first season as manager, the former catcher led an overmatched Marlins team to a 78-84 record in 2006, a performance that earned him kudos as the NL's Manager of the Year. Despite his success, Girardi was dismissed from Florida for clashing with ownership.

Baltimore officials declined to comment about Girardi, but New York manager Joe Torre spoke about his former player and current local broadcaster.

"He's enjoying what he's doing now and I think the next time he jumps into it, I think he's going to have to feel secure with having backing," Torre said. "I don't know what's going to happen. He's a pretty bright guy. He's not in a rush, even though I know he'd like to manage again."

Whomever takes over the Orioles will have quite a bit of work to do. Baltimore has gone through nine straight losing seasons and currently has the fifth-worst record in baseball. The Orioles have lost eight straight games and 13 of their last 15, a run of futility that forced the team's executives to make a change in the manager's chair.

Not all of the blame can be placed on Perlozzo, however. Three of Baltimore's starting pitchers -- Kris Benson, Adam Loewen and Jaret Wright -- have been on the disabled list for extended periods of time. In fact, the season is over for both Benson and Loewen. Plus, Baltimore's refurbished bullpen has more losses (18) than any other relief staff.

Perhaps the biggest problem, though, has been a lack of consistency on offense. Through 69 games, no American League team has hit fewer home runs than the Orioles (50). Even four-time All-Star and former MVP Miguel Tejada has struggled to find his best form this season, and there hasn't been much in the way of a secondary threat.

Designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who was signed in the offseason to protect Tejada, didn't hit much at all through April and May. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, the team's top offseason acquisition before the '06 season, has been through two stints on the disabled list this season and hasn't been able to produce at his best when healthy.

There are plenty of building blocks within the organization, including but not limited to homegrown starters Loewen, Erik Bedard and Daniel Cabrera. Right fielder Nick Markakis, a former first-round pick, is another helpful piece, as are potential high-impact prospects Brandon Erbe, Billy Rowell, Hayden Penn and recent draftee Matt Wieters.

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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