The San Francisco Giants have requested -- and received -- permission from the Orioles to interview coach Davey Lopes for their vacant managerial position.
Lopes, 46, was mentioned as a candidate for the job soon after the Giants relieved Roger Craig of his duties on Tuesday. That was the same day former Cincinnati Reds general manager Bob Quinn was named to replace Al Rosen in the Giants' front office.
Quinn, the brother-in-law of Orioles GM Roland Hemond, contacted Hemond yesterday to request permission to talk to Lopes, who probably will be interviewed during the winter meetings next week.
"I'm excited," Lopes said. "Just the fact that I'm getting an opportunity to interview for a job, in my mind, that's the next
step. My name has been mentioned a lot lately, but it usually has been by the media. It'll be nice to get an interview, to get an idea of what the process is about."
During his 15-year major-league playing career, Lopes developed reputation as a smart, no-nonsense guy. That reputation was only embellished during five seasons as a coach for the Texas Rangers and the Orioles.
"He's just got a great reputation around baseball," Quinn said in a telephone interview last night. "He was an aggressive, winning-type player and he has been recognized by myself and others for his coaching ability. I'm looking forward to sitting down with him."
Quinn has wasted no time getting the interview process under way. He traveled to Arizona on Wednesday and spent two hours discussing the job with Giants coach Dusty Baker, who has been rumored to be the next Giants manager for several weeks. There had been speculation that a manager would be named before the winter meetings got into full swing, but Quinn insisted that he would not rush into anything.
"It's tough to put a timetable on it," Quinn said. "I want to be as thorough as possible. There's no way with the list of candidates and the workload we have that we can get it done between now and then."
Baseball's rules against tampering require that teams get permission to talk to coaches who are under contract to other clubs. The Orioles were very happy with the job Lopes did for the club in 1992, but they were quick to give their blessing when the request was made.
"Bob called and asked for permission," Hemond said. "Naturally, we would grant it for him to be a candidate for a managerial job."
Hemond has long had a stated policy of allowing front-office employees to interview for jobs in other organizations if they are in a position to improve themselves. Lopes, who joined the Orioles organization a year ago after leaving a coaching position with the Texas Rangers, also was rumored to be a candidate to manage the Rangers after Bobby Valentine was fired last season.
"He [Lopes] is a real good baseball man," Hemond said. "He's very well- rounded in his knowledge of the game. He'll make a good manager."
It appears, however, that the Giants job may go to Baker, who was a teammate of Lopes' with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976 to '81. Baker had been rumored to be in line to replace Craig for weeks, and has been managing in the Arizona Fall League to get some hands-on experience.
"I think he's the leading candidate," Lopes said, "and I have no qualms about that. I'm just happy to be considered. Whether I get the job or not, I'm really thrilled that Bob Quinn called me. It will be a nice thing to have on my resume."