Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are The Orioles Stuck With Sam Perlozzo?

The Orioles are 46 games into the 2007 season and they're four games under .500. If you'd have told me that would be the case before the season started, I probably would have sarcastically replied, "Nice prediction, Nostradamus. Next do you want to tell me how the Nationals are going to suck, the Redskins are going to blow a ton of money on overrated free agents and taxes will be due in April?"

But one thing the Orioles have shown this year is that they should be better than a 21-25 team. Clearly they're not actually better than a 21-25 team, because they are a 21-25 team. But some of the losses have been absolutely painful to watch.

Image from GWmagazine
Defensive lapses, blown leads and, of course, managerial ineptitudes. All of this has led many fans -- and at least one local columnist -- to request the firing of manager Sam Perlozzo. Some have even begun a Millar for Manager campaign.

My advice: Don't hold your breath. I don't think Sam's going anywhere any time soon.

Of course I say that as purely my own opinion, and now that I've put it up on the Intergoogles he'll be fired this afternoon.

It's not that I support Perlozzo ... he's been terrible. But do the Orioles really have the stones to essentially fire their manager and pitching coach in one fell swoop? Especially after letting one of the best pitching coaches in the game go to bring in the current pitching coach?

When Perlozzo became the manager I wanted so badly for him to succeed. Not just because it would mean the Orioles were having success, but because he waited so long for his turn. When Leo Mazzone came to town before last season I thought it might actually happen.

Then the season started and it became pretty clear that Perlozzo wasn't exactly a good decision maker -- or anything close.

I tried to write it off as "rookie mistakes," if you will, despite the fact that he'd been in the Orioles dugout for 10 seasons and had already managed for 50 games. He was bad.

For some reason I was again given hope during spring training when all the talk was about Perlozzo's changed demeanor and coaching style.

Did that change results on the field? Nuh uh.

Yet my own feelings are still mixed on firing him, and that's why I think the Orioles front office must be really reluctant to pull the trigger.

If you fire Sam, does Leo go with him? He does, right?

Perlozzo's promotion brought Mazzone here, so it only makes sense that Perlozzo's firing would send him away.

Finding a manager better than Perlozzo won't be hard, but finding a pitching coach better than Mazzone will be damn near impossible. So does the team think they can find a combination of manager and pitching coach that will get them better results than the terrible manager, great pitching coach combo they've got going now?

That's tough to answer, so the easiest thing for the O's front office to do would be to just avoid it entirely.

They're stuck.

Mazzone is under contract through the 2008 season, but I don't think the Orioles would fire Sam and then say, "Hey Leo, you better honor that contract!," leaving them with a disgruntled pitching coach in the dugout.

And that's why I say Sam stays, at least until the end of the year.

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