Kevin Malone, who resigned as general manager of the Montreal Expos earlier this week, has been contacted by the Orioles and will interview early next week as a possible replacement for current general manager Roland Hemond.
Malone, 38, is the second GM candidate contacted by the Orioles this week. Earlier, the club received permission to talk to San Diego Padres general manager Randy Smith, 32, who also has submitted his resignation. Smith is expected to interview Monday or Tuesday.
Orioles owner Peter Angelos has said repeatedly since the beginning of September that he wanted to evaluate his organization, and part of that evaluation process apparently is seeing whether there are other preferable candidates available.
Smith and Malone and possibly Boston assistant general manager Mike Port will be interviewed with Hemond still in place. Club sources indicate that Angelos has not made up his mind whether to fire or reassign Hemond or keep
him in the same position.
And Angelos told manager Phil Regan on Tuesday that other managerial candidates would be interviewed -- the first of which, apparently, is Tony La Russa. The Orioles have contacted the Oakland manager, and a club official indicated that a meeting with La Russa is imminent, with the likely site being someplace in the Midwest, like Chicago.
Interestingly, La Russa was not at his home in California yesterday, telling writers ahead of time that he had a family function, and Angelos, who usually works until late at night, was not at his office in the afternoon.
La Russa already has spoken with St. Louis general manager Walt Jocketty, who has told friends that he thinks he has an excellent chance of hiring La Russa away from the Athletics.
However, La Russa has said in the past that he would prefer to stay in the AL, and has talked about what a great city Baltimore is for baseball. In addition, La Russa has an excellent relationship with shortstop Cal Ripken, a factor that could only help his chances with the Orioles.
Regan has one year left on his contract, with an option for 1997.
When the Padres granted permission to the Orioles to speak with Smith, they agreed to a stipulation that Smith would not be able to hire any San Diego employee, claim any players on waivers, or select any player in the Rule V draft for a period of two years.
However, in recent days, Smith and the Padres are getting closer to reaching an agreement in which Smith would be allowed to hire San Diego employees. Wherever Smith lands, it figures that he'll want to hire Steve Lubratich, the Padres' assistant general manager who already has submitted his resignation with San Diego.
Malone already has emerged as a strong candidate to replace Smith, along with New York Mets executive Gerry Hunsicker.