Orioles manager Phil Regan met with owner Peter Angelos last night, communication that could have a direct bearing on his future with the ballclub.
"That's a matter still to be considered," Angelos said afterward. "We're going to continue to talk and evaluate the club, with everybody."
Regan, who declined to talk about the meeting, will meet with Angelos again tomorrow or Friday.
Before their talk last night, the owner said, "I'm just going to get a report on the team's performance. There's no urgency to making any kind of a decision. . . . Nothing earth-shattering is going to be revealed as a consequence of this meeting."
In other words, Angelos had no intention of dismissing Regan over dinner last night. However, his discussions with Regan likely will give him a better idea of whether he'll keep Regan for 1996, or pursue Oakland manager Tony La Russa, who has the option of talking with any team over the next week.
A National League source indicated yesterday that the St. Louis Cardinals intend to talk to La Russa, who can make $1.25 million in 1996 if he remains with the Athletics. St. Louis general manager Walt Jocketty used to work with La Russa in Oakland.
If not Regan, if not La Russa, then the Orioles could opt for Davey Johnson, expected to be cut loose by the Cincinnati Reds.
Angelos is expected to meet today with general manager Roland Hemond, who is in jeopardy of losing his job or possibly being reassigned; during the past month the Orioles have sought permission to talk to San Diego Padres general manager Randy Smith and Cleveland Indians assistant GM Dan O'Dowd. Denied permission the first time to talk to O'Dowd, the Orioles likely won't ask again, said a club source.
"I'll just see what questions he asks," Hemond said.
Should Hemond be relieved of his duties, Kevin Malone -- who resigned as Montreal general manager Monday -- could be a candidate, a prospect he relishes.
"If that job came open, I'd definitely like to have an interview there," Malone said. "I've thought about it: What that organization represents is amazing, the passion of the fans for baseball. The Baltimore fans, they love their baseball.
"They have almost 50,000 fans show up for every game. I've seen their love for baseball, and the prospect of being a part of that is exciting. This city, Montreal, has the same feelings, but toward the Canadiens [hockey team].
"That ownership has a commitment toward winning. . . . I would be honored to be considered a candidate in Baltimore."
Malone heavily criticized Angelos last spring for his stance against replacement players, saying Angelos was hurting the owners' effort to resolve the strike. However, Malone said, he gained a better understanding of why Angelos chose that course of action when he watched Cal Ripken play in consecutive game No. 2,131.
"He did what's best for the Baltimore Orioles," Malone said yesterday, "and for Cal Ripken. You have to respect the man for doing what he believes in."
Malone confirmed that Hemond has been mentioned as a possible candidate to replace him in Montreal. Expos owner Claude Brochu is considering hiring someone who has experience working within a small budget, and could help groom a young executive to step in after him.
Another factor that could help Hemond, Malone said, is that Hemond speaks French. Hemond's mother was born just outside of Montreal, and he occasionally does interviews in French with radio stations in Canada.
Smith's departure from the Padres could become more complicated. Smith resigned last week, but CEO Larry Lucchino refused to accept that resignation -- meaning Smith could remain under contract to San Diego until Oct. 31.
However, Lucchino also may be angling to get some sort of limitation on the number of Padres employees Smith could hire with another club. In return for granting Smith his release, Lucchino could ask Smith to refrain from hiring anyone from San Diego -- or a negotiated number -- from San Diego for a period of two years. When Lucchino was Orioles president and scouting director John Barr left Baltimore to go to San Diego before the 1992 season, Barr agreed not to hire any Orioles' employees for two years.
Smith could refuse and simply wait until his current contract expires on Oct. 31. However, if the split grows even nastier than it already is, Lucchino could threaten to exercise a '96 option on Smith's contract, thereby preventing him from getting a job anywhere else for another year.