By Cody Wilcox
Former Orioles catcher and MASN color analyst Rick Dempsey told
Glenn Clark Radio
July 9 that he doesn't believe Orioles manager Buck Showalter is completely responsible for the Orioles' downfall this season.
"I don't point my finger on Buck, because I already know what he's about," Dempsey said. "There is nobody that has more courage to make moves in a lineup than Buck Showalter does.
"He knows how to handle a pitching staff. He has given opportunity, more than, to almost every player on this team."
At 26-66, the Orioles hold the worst record in Major League Baseball, which has led to constant maneuvering of the lineup and pitching staff as Showalter looks to create a spark.
"I look at things like, 'Is Buck not managing as good as he has been?' No, that's not the case whatsoever," Dempsey said. "Because a manager can really do so much, the players' responsibility is to go out there and do the job that is expected of him."
Dempsey, who was World Series MVP with the Orioles in 1983, said Showalter has likely had a lot of conversations with the players regarding their production. But Dempsey believes that, for some, it's just a matter of trying too hard.
First baseman Chris Davis recently became the Orioles' all-time leader in strikeouts and hasn't managed to stay consistent throughout the season.
"There's a fine line between trying hard enough and trying too hard," said Dempsey. "I'm sure Chris Davis is wearing himself out privately; trying to find that swing he has. Nobody wants to go up there and look bad in front of our fans, or all of baseball."
As a team, the Orioles have the worst batting average in the majors at .288. Dempsey said the team has to re-discipline themselves and practice more patience at the plate in order to escape their slump.
"Almost all of them, as soon as the pitcher gets ahead in the count, the catcher [goes] right to the fastball up by the letters and they are swinging at it," Dempsey said. "Those little things like that, plate discipline that everybody on this team is going to have to take strides towards. They should be adjusting on their own, but they don't seem to be doing it right now."
As the Orioles approach the All-Star break, discussion of a possible trade for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado has heated up, which could indicate the first step in a rebuilding period -- on the field and off.
With Showalter in his final contract year, some have brought up Dempsey's name as a possible replacement.
Dempsey, who has managed at the minor league level, admitted he wanted the Orioles managing position when it was available in 2003 and 2010 but did not express a desire for the potential opening this time around. But he did remind fans to be patient as the Orioles enter rebuilding mode.
"Sometimes winning, you got to pay a price down the road, because every teams goes through this," Dempsey said. "The better ones will learn from it and come back even stronger. I'm positive the Orioles will do that."
For more from Dempsey, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox