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It’s unclear who is running the Orioles

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The 2018 Baltimore Orioles have lost 104 games already and will go down in history as one of the worst teams ever.

Not the worst team. There were a lot of teams that were bigger train wrecks than this crew. But they would be invited to the train wreck party. They’d have a seat at the train wreck adult table and would be more likely to help take the other guests’ train wreck coats as they arrived than they would have to ask where the train wreck bathroom was, for example. They could help themselves to the train wreck liquor cabinet without asking permission because, hey, they’re good.

OK, that metaphor was bad to begin, got worse as it went along with and needs a LOT of work to fix. But the same can be said about the Baltimore Orioles too. Fixing the metaphor only requires me to workshop it on my laptop a bit. Fixing the Orioles requires someone to take charge of a massive rebuild.

There’s only one problem with that:

As the Orioles barrel toward their worst season in franchise history, they need to decide more than just the futures of manager Buck Showalter and lead baseball executive Dan Duquette.

Major League Baseball wants to know who in the Orioles’ ownership group is running the club, and how the team plans to operate in the future, according to major-league sources.

That’s Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic, reporting that the league has not heard from Peter Angelos all year and wants to know who, in reality, is the control person of the club.

That’s a specific position within MLB hierarchy, by the way. Each team has a “control person” that answers to the league. Usually that’s easy to figure out — with the Yankees it’s Hal Steinbrenner, for example — but it’s pretty messy with the Orioles, as longtime owner Peter Angelos, 89, is reported to be in failing health. Rosenthal reports that his sons, John and Louis, are in charge, but it’s unclear who might have final word.

It’s probably more important for the organization to have someone clearly in charge than it is for MLB. Because, as noted above, the club needs to rebuild and, at the moment, both the manager and the GM are lame ducks. Neither of the Angelos sons are talking to the press however, and it’s unclear what’ll happen to them.

It should be a fun offseason in Baltimore.

Report: Orioles expected to replace Buck Showalter

Buck Showalter
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Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.

Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.

While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.