The Orioles have reached a decision on the future of manager Phil Regan, according to two club sources, although it's not known exactly what's been decided or when it will be announced.
All indications are that Regan, 58, will not be retained for the second year of his two-year contract. Two days after Regan finished his maiden major-league managerial season with a 71-73 record, he met with Angelos and was told the Orioles would be interviewing other candidates as possible replacements.
Since then, Angelos and club counsel Russell Smouse have talked with Oakland manager Tony La Russa, 51, who exercised a clause in his contract that allowed him to talk with any team, and Davey Johnson, 52, who led the Cincinnati Reds to the NL Central title.
La Russa still is available, although the Orioles may be leery of his salary demands, in the range of $1.5 million per year. At least one other team, the Chicago White Sox, reportedly was scared away by La Russa's desire to be more involved in player personnel decisions, and rehired its incumbent, Terry Bevington. Russa continued his talks with the St. Louis Cardinals last weekend, taking a tour of Busch Stadium, but he has a clear preference for the AL.
If La Russa does not go to the Cardinals, the Orioles may be his only other AL option, and he very well could be headed back to the A's.
Johnson's interview with Angelos and Smouse went very well, according to both sides, and he emerged as a very strong candidate. Angelos characterized the meeting as "very good, very productive. His baseball knowledge is impressive, and his strong background with the Orioles came through."
"My roots are in Baltimore," Johnson said Wednesday, from his home in Florida. "I learned how to play the game there. To go back there and manage the Orioles and win a world championship . . . it wouldn't get any better than that."
Johnson's wife, Susan, said yesterday that he is not taking reporters' calls for the next few days.
Johnson is free to be hired because Reds owner Marge Schott doesn't like him, and has made no secret that he would be replaced for the 1996 season.
New York Yankees manager Buck Showalter also is an interesting option for the Orioles. However, it appears more and more likely Showalter will return to New York. He's meeting with Yankees owner George Steinbrenner today at Steinbrenner's Florida home.
Showalter's contract with the Yankees expires in 11 days.
If the Orioles fire or reassign Regan -- who could not be reached for comment last night -- the club still will have to pay off his $350,000 contract for 1996.
Randy Smith, who appeared to be the front-runner for the Orioles' GM job after interviewing a week ago, called the club last night and indicated to a team official that he had received an acceptable offer from the Detroit Tigers to be their general manager and wished the Orioles well.
On other fronts, Orioles assistant general manager Frank Robinson will interview for the San Diego Padres' GM job Monday. And the Orioles have denied permission requested by the Los Angeles Dodgers to talk to Triple-A pitching coach Claude Osteen; the club wanted to talk to Osteen, who once pitched for the Dodgers, about a minor-league coaching job in its organization.