By Cody Wilcox
Former New York Mets general manager and MLB Network Radio host Steve Phillips doesn't believe Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will be back with the club following the 2018 season.
"... Every indication is that Dan Duquette won't be back," Phillips said on
Glenn Clark Radio
July 11. "Now, I don't necessarily think that is the right decision, but it's the likely course.
"Anybody coming in who takes the job has to get a very clear understanding of the lay of the land. What are the expectations? What's the structure? What's the accountability if that structure is compromised with the reporting, with the chain of command, with the decision making, with the communication? All of that. I'm a firm believer, and I think most general managers are, that structure matters."
Phillips, who led the Mets to the World Series in 2000, says the Orioles current structure and decision making is indistinct; John and Louis Angelos and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson have reportedly taken greater control of the organizational decisions in recent months.
"The decision making, from talking to general managers around the game, it is really unclear who is in charge," Phillips said. "As much as Dan Duquette is the man, it is unclear what sort of authority [he has]. He has responsibility. The question is whether he has authority."
Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are completing the final year of their contracts. The Orioles could look outside the organization for their replacements. Anybody who accepts the positions, according to Phillips, should be complemented by a strong and organized structure.
"There has got to be a clearly defined organizational chart, in the idea that somebody outside of the direct line of reporting can go around somebody or above somebody," Phillips said. "It tears apart the fabric of the organization."
Given that the Orioles entered the All-Star break with a 28-69 record, a rebuilding period could be in store for the club. Phillips cited teams such as the Houston Astros and the Chicago Cubs that have gone through similar rebuilds in the past.
After the Cubs and the Astros finished well below .500 in 2011, the clubs began rebuilding by hiring new top decision-makers. The Cubs hired Theo Epstein as president of baseball operations and the Astros brought in Jeff Luhnow as their new general manager. Both Epstein and Luhnow emphasized building through youth.
Both organizations hired new managers in 2014, as well, with the Cubs hiring Joe Maddon and the Astros, A.J. Hinch. The Cubs' and Astros' rebuilding processes were capped off with World Series titles in 2016 and 2017, demonstrating that an organization's rebuilding process functions with stable leadership and structure.
"The idea of a complete rebuild doesn't concern me," Phillips said of the Orioles future. "Tearing it down, and starting over, in building a farm system and trading away and getting prospects, and then doing well in the draft, and building the franchise within; it can work and turn around more quickly than you might anticipate."
Phillips believes the Orioles uncertainty within the organization can be repaired but says it needs to start with ownership.
"I think that for the Orioles, they are at a critical point for their franchise, that this rebuilding process works, but it works if there is structure in the people making the decisions and have the commitment from ownership to do it," Phillips said.
For more from Phillips, listen to the full interview here:
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