The reshaping of the Baltimore Orioles' front office continued today with the announcement that Don Buford had been promoted to director of minor league operations, becoming the first black department head in the Orioles' baseball operations.
Buford, 62, has spent 17 years in the Orioles' organization, as a player, coach, minor league manager and scout. He replaces Tom Trebelhorn, who moves to a newly created position as director of organizational instruction.
"My time will be split between all the [minor league] clubs," said Buford, father of Cubs outfielder Damon Buford. "I plan on seeing as many games as I can."
"These moves give us some continuity," said Syd Thrift, the Orioles' vice president for baseball operations. "We've worked together for five-plus years."
In addition, Thrift soon will name several special assistants to the vice president, including current assistant general manager Bruce Manno and former Milwaukee Brewers scout Danny Garcia. Thrift is close to hiring Marty Maier, the west coast scouting supervisor and a special assignment scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as a third special assistant.
Meantime, the Orioles' search for a fifth starting pitcher continues. Thrift has spoken with the agent for free agent right-hander Aaron Sele several times, although Sele's demands for a four-year contract have cooled the Orioles' interest. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are also in pursuit of Sele.
The Orioles were at one time making progress in talks for free agent right-hander Omar Olivares, but those talks also have cooled. Olivares is seeking a three-year contract for around $5 million annually.
Thrift said today that he does not anticipate the Orioles making any significant player personnel moves, other than adding a starting pitcher, before spring training.