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Everyone seems to agree that the Orioles need to waste no time in their hunt for a new general manager/VP of baseball operations, so it should come as no surprise that a subgroup of the eight-candidate list has been determined and calls have gone out to several teams for permission to contact current employees.

No one is revealing who has been contacted, but a source indicated that the first face-to-face interview could take place in Baltimore as soon as this weekend. It is not known whether the order of the interviews is going to be a significant indicator of priority, but there is some reason to believe one of the first interviewees could be Arizona Diamondbacks vice president for scouting and player development Jerry Dipoto.

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Keep in mind that it is not as simple as just picking someone off the list and offering that person the job. Most of the candidates on the Orioles' wish list are highly prized by their current organizations, so some names could come off the list if the original team creates added incentive to stay put. There are also contractual restrictions that could cause candidates to refuse an interview.

Dipoto is a 43-year-old former major league pitcher whose front office career began as a scout for the Boston Red Sox in 2003. He was hired to be director of scouting for the Colorado Rockies in 2005, then joined Josh Byrnes in the front office of the Diamondbacks as director of scouting and player development. When Byrnes was fired, Dipoto was appointed interim GM until the D-backs hired Kevin Towers, then returned to his former position with the team.

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Through a process of elimination, it's probably fair to conclude that the Orioles are focused on an initial group that includes DiPoto, Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine and Tigers assistant GM Al Avila, since no contact had been made as of Thursday afternoon to the other five names on the Orioles' eight-candidate search list.

Those other potential candidates include Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava, Marlins assistant GM Dan Jennings, Dodgers execs De Jon Watson and Logan White, and former Angels GM Tony Reagins.

If Avila and Levine are among the top three candidates, that would explain why DiPoto, below, might come in first, since the Avila's Tigers and Levine's Rangers are playing in the American League Championship Series.

US Presswire photo 2010

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