MacPhail Q&A Extended
SC: This is an area that I didn’t read much when you took over the job, I think there was an assumption made that the team went in to that collapse last year and all of a sudden Andy MacPhail is here. How long had your discussions gone on with Peter? That was not just three to four days before that, was it?
AM: No, we had been talking periodically. I mean he had mentioned some things to me, really when the team was not really scuffling. I think at least May there were general conversations along the lines of seeing if I would be interested
SC: Mike Flanagan, longtime history with the Orioles, obviously friendship with Peter Angelos. What is his role with the team and are you comfortable with that role?
AM: Mike knows a lot about pitching. And he sees things on the field as relates to pitchers a lot sooner than I do. You know obviously I ask him a lot of questions about individual pitchers. And of course we’ve made no secret of the fact that the franchise is going to rely heavily on pitching. Any help we can get in that area as well.
SC: Why do you think, because in researching this interview, I noticed when you left the Cubs, that you were mentioned, you were questioned about being the next commissioner? And when you came here there was talk about that. Why is it that you think that follows you?
AM: I really don’t know, and I was delighted that the commissioner was extended, to the extent that first of all, he has done such a good job, and second of all that it took some heat off of me.
SC: Do you have anybody in mind that you would be willing, should be considered for that job when Bud does step down?
AM: I think there will be no shortage of good candidates, baseball will have its choice, it’s a very much desired job and it’s really kind of like a manager. You’re going to be looking for somebody who that can bring you that element that the game needs at that particular time. I’ve talked about it with managers, it’s a fit, it’s a custom fit. People get way ahead of ourselves and fortunately we don’t need to talk about that for a while.
SC: Question about performance enhancing drugs: In light about how arbitration works in baseball, basically measuring statistical data to decide salaries. Do you think that system should be in place with so many players, having questionable ways in which they arrived at their statistics?
AM: Well its part of the collective bargaining agreement, whether I think it belongs there or not is academic because it’s going to stay there until the next collective bargaining agreement comes around. And the great likelihood is that it’s going to be with you after that. I haven’t invested a lot of energy thinking about it.
SC: Was it difficult to convince Peter Angelos to invest more in the area of international scouting?
AM: No. It was not.
SC: Why do you think that it hadn’t been done before? Do you think that no one just came out and took the bull by the horns?
AM: You know, I really don’t know.
SC: But you saw it as something that we really needed to do.
AM: I saw that Peter was making investments in this franchise every year. And it was, in my mind, a question of where you put the money. It wasn’t a question of not spending; it was just a question of re-deploying the assets.
SC: Did it drive you to want to get back to what you didn’t do in Chicago?
AM: I found that job a little bit tough, to the point that you’re not really steering the franchise you’re not really doing the day to day, you’re making big decision infrequently and you’re helping steer the franchise in the general direction but sometimes it’s easier to just do it. In a lot of respects it’s just clear. In baseball operations there’s a calendar you follow, you do different things at different things at different times and that clarity was actually something I happened to enjoy.
SC: When you came in there was just this perception that this club was immediately making a full court press to go after Joe Girardi. Were you involved with that?
AM: Not in the initial stages. They were a little down the road I wasn’t troubled by because I did know Joe. Joe, obviously manager of the year, had the credentials and I felt like Joe would have our team prepared as best they could be. It’s the same thing that Dave does, but Joe had already done it, he had already established himself as a manager and what he had done with the Marlins, that he had already had some experience and success in that particular area that I was looking for. Dave would provide us the same things I was looking for but we were going to take the risk that he was a rookie and you didn’t know for certain how it was going to play out.
SC: What do you think about the blow up about the instant replay, and the push to do it in the middle of the season?
AM: I’m not troubled by it. I do think that baseball, one of the things that the commissioner has done is despite the fact that he is steeped in the tradition of the game and is a bit of a traditionalist, by his own account, is you’re not afraid to try different things. If this is something that helps us make the right call and it doesn’t slow the game up, I’m not really troubled by it. A lot of the new stadiums today it’s hard to distinguish what’s a home run is and what isn’t a home run, and technology exists today that probably didn’t exist 20 years ago because not every game were televised so you wouldn’t have access film all the time, the way you do today. So I think its time has come. I think it’s a good first step. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a first step and it doesn’t necessarily have to stick but I’m certainly not troubled by the idea that were going to try this to make sure we get the right call.
Issue 3.26: June 26, 2008