So Tony LaCava turned down the Orioles' offer to be their next GM, and the decision has been met with much discussion both inside and outside the O's fanbase. Fans want to know why this happened and how someone could turn down a GM job when only 30 exist in the world. Many fans are blaming various members of the Orioles ownership and management team, and perhaps rightly so.
However, the more pertinent question, at least for today is: What next?
This obviously places the O's pretty firmly behind the 8-ball as they just over 12 hours until Free Agency starts, and nobody running the show. As a result, a few questions about the process are important, and I'll try to address them as completely as possible. That said, there's nothing concrete here anymore, and the entire scenario could change in the next 4, 8, 12 or 24 hours.
Question 1: Does De Jon Watson get offered the job now?
Maybe?!?! The O's interviewed 4 candidates: Jerry DiPoto, Tony LaCava, De JonWatson and John Stockstill. Obviously DiPoto and LaCava (who seemed to be the front-runners all along) are out of it. That leaves Watson and Stockstill. I think Watson has as good a shot at the job as anyone, but I also believe the O's will interview at least 2 more candidates before making a decision.
Question 2: Who will the Orioles interview then?
In my view, there are 3 potential interviews the O's can have. I think they do 2 of the 3, and the 3 candidates are: Matt Klentak, AJ Preller and Thad Levine.
Question 3: So who are these new candidates?
Klentak, much like Stockstill is already in the organization and is undoubtedly familiar with the way the Orioles run their front office. Unfortunately, this might be the biggest obstacle to Klentak to becoming the GM (or President of Baseball Operations) as many have speculated that the O's want to bring in an outsider with new viewpoints and opinions.
AJ Preller is a senior adviser to Jon Daniels in Texas and as such has been a critical part of building the back-to-back AL Champs. Preller seems to be a jack of all trades, as he advises Daniels on personnel movement. Preller also specializes in scouting, and has worked with the various scouting departments for the Rangers. Preller definitely brings a great pedigree to the job, but does not currently work in player development which seems to be a preference for the Orioles.
Thad Levine (pictured below) is my personal favorite of those remaining. Levine grew up in Virginia and is an admitted O's fan. Some say this makes him perfect for the job, but I'm not sure that has any relevance. However, Levine does have a background and a wealth of experience that would be incredibly beneficial to the Orioles. Having come up through the Rockies Front Office before joining the Rangers, Levine has years of experience evaluating the operations on both the minor league and major league levels. Levine has worked very closely with GM Jon Daniels in Texas to build the current big league roster, but has also worked with the scouting and negotiating processes the club has taken.
Will Any of these potential GM candidates be the next General Manager for the Baltimore Orioles? It's a difficult question, and one we hopefully will get an answer to in the next week. That said, the only thing this process has shown is that it is not predictable. Come next Monday, this post could be seen a prophetic ... or ... completely off-base. Time will tell.