Ready for anything
Showalter and Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ first-year general manager, say their 25-man roster is really a 50-man roster, as they continually shuffle the pieces. And if they don’t like the options in the organizations, they go elsewhere.
Outfielder Lew Ford hadn’t played in the majors since 2007, bouncing from Japan to Mexico to an independent team league. The Orioles signed him in May, called him up in July and saw him homer in three consecutive games in August. In the bullpen, Pedro Strop and Darren O’Day were both claimed off waivers. Last week Baltimore signed 36-year-old Randy Wolf, who was released by the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 22 and on Sunday became the 50th player to wear an Orioles’ uniform this year
A team that spent years trying to buy big-name stars is winning with carefully-plotted patchwork. Peter Angelos, the owner who once swung for the fences with his checkbook, is apparently on board with the revamped philosophy.
“What people miss about Peter is how many times he says yes,” Showalter said. “He’s willing, trust me. He and his family, they’ve been great. I don’t know whatever perception before I got here, since I’ve been here I couldn’t ask for a better owner.”
Showalter spent 3½ seasons far away from the dugout before the Orioles called midway the 2010 season. Working as an ESPN analyst then, he said he wasn’t fretting about whether he’d ever manage again. Two years after taking the job, the Orioles could be headed to the postseason. Whether Showalter believes this or not, he says he’ll be okay either way.
“I thought long and hard before I came here,” said Showalter, the fifth man in a six-season stretch to sit behind the manager’s desk in the Baltimore clubhouse. “I was sitting in the backyard one day and I noticed, ‘Damn, look how red that cardinal is. Ooh, listen to the wind pass through the leaves.’ I’m not consumed by this. While I’m here, I’m very serious about it. But it doesn’t define me.
“When Peter comes in and says, ‘I’ve had enough of your [stuff], I’ll say, ‘Thanks for the opportunity, it was an honor.’ And then I’ll be out the . . . door.”