Major League Baseball announced today that Joe Torre has stepped down as executive vice president of baseball operations to join a prospective ownership group that will be among those competing to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers.

So there's a high-profile opening in the commissioner's office. And around here, that means one thing: Andy MacPhail's name will be floated as a candidate.


In fact, within minutes of the official announcement, at least one writer mentioned MacPhail as a replacement possibility.

MacPhail, who left the Orioles as president of baseball operations in October, came to Baltimore from the commissioner's office, and it would be surprising if he didn't end up there. He and Bud Selig have a very good relationship. Heck, MacPhail could end up in the big chair one day.

So will he replace Torre?

Here's my take: First of all, anything on this front is pure speculation right now. Torre's official announcement is hours old. If there is a search for his replacement, it will take some time.

It's true that MacPhail loves the game, it's in his DNA and he won't be away long. But it's been only two months.

He left the Orioles because he needed to attend to some family matters and also to recharge his batteries, do a little leisurely traveling with his wife, maybe watch his youngest son play college baseball, etc.

My sense is that MacPhail is still in that mode, still enjoying the recharging stage and still dealing with important family matters.

Will he eventually take a position of significance within the sport? I'm pretty sure of that.

Could he help temporarily in a limited role? That's conceivable.

But I think his respite from a full-time gig in baseball will last longer than two or three months.

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