The Orioles are looking for a new baseball operations leader. Here are some possible candidates

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

While managerial candidates come in many different packages, from experienced and hardened to the major league coaching life to green and pliable to a front office's desires, such a hire for the Orioles appears to have taken a backseat as they also have to replace executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

Possible candidates for that job are a bit easier to identify — they either have held such roles before or are top lieutenants in successful organizations. Depending on what the Orioles might be looking for, the candidate could have experience on the baseball side or be a more analytical mind who can set a modern agenda.

The Orioles dropped some hints on their direction by stressing it would be an outside candidate, and considering the type of candidates they went after in 2011 before choosing Duquette — young, analytics-minded executives who have vast experience in the baseball world — here are a handful of people who fit that mold now.

Ben Cherington

Cherington has the American Leauge East experience the Orioles have coveted in other areas of late, leading the Boston Red Sox from 2012 through 2015 and helping put together the 2013 World Series winner. Before he took over for Theo Epstein as general manager, Cherington worked his way up from area scout to farm director to assistant GM in a front office that was at the forefront of many analytical trends while also drafting well and hitting on international free agents. He's currently a vice president in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, and the Orioles made some overtures earlier this year to gauge interest.

Dan Kantrovitz

An emerging name thanks to the success of the Athletics this year, Kantrovitz, Oakland's assistant GM, has a hand in everything from free agency to amateur scouting for the savvy A's. While he does all that with an analytical bent in Oakland, he was the scouting director in St. Louis from 2012 to 2014 as the Cardinals drafted 14 big leaguers in that span, including Michael Wacha, Stephen Piscotty and Jack Flaherty.

Amiel Sawdaye

Another top lieutenant by way of the Red Sox organization, Sawdaye has local roots as a Baltimore native who went to the University of Maryland. Once he flew town, Sawdaye climbed the ladder in Boston and ascended to the role of scouting director. He oversaw drafts that included the selections of Jackie Bradley Jr. and Most Valuable Player candidate Mookie Betts. His responsibilities as senior vice president and assistant GM with the Arizona Diamondbacks have him overseeing international and amateur scouting, an area the Orioles will likely be focused heavily on in the coming years.

Josh Byrnes

Byrnes has found success as vice president of baseball operations with the Los Angeles Dodgers after he was let go by the San Diego Padres, his second GM job. Before that, he led the Diamondbacks. But his scouting background has shown in the quality of the Dodgers' system — as evidenced by the caliber of players the Orioles were able to extract for Manny Machado while still leaving many of the Dodgers’ top prospects in Los Angeles. Byrnes has been aggressive in win-now mode in his first two stops, but somewhere with a longer lead time like Baltimore might bode well.

Jason McLeod

McLeod is another Boston disciple who currently works with Epstein in Chicago as the senior vice president of player development and amateur scouting, an area the Cubs have thrived in as they rebuilt toward a championship in 2016. The Cubs’ front office is locked up until 2021, but perhaps a chance to start fresh might appeal to him.

Matt Arnold

Arnold joined the Brewers as their assistant GM after rising to the level of director of pro personnel in the Tampa Bay Rays system, and in Milwaukee, his list of responsibilities is vast. His knowledge of the financial side of the game will appeal to a Orioles ownership as their situation is tenuous because of the MASN dispute with the Washington Nationals. But this is a baseball position, and few teams have been smarter about building a contender quickly than the Brewers.

Matt Slater

The Orioles' scouting administrator from 1995 to 1998, Slater managed several scouting and player development departments for the Dodgers after he departed, and has ascended to special assistant to the GM for player procurement in St. Louis since. Slater has a hand in everything alongside John Mozeliak, including professional and amateur recruitment and roster construction. A more traditional hire than some of the others listed, Slater has worked with the analytics-fluent staff in St. Louis and has seen its success.

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