Schmuck: Buck Showalter just might be getting back in the dugout one year after leaving Orioles

Former Orioles manager Buck Showalter spent the past year bonding with a growing gaggle of grandkids, enjoying a lot of quality time with his wife, Angela, and getting his baseball fix by appearing occasionally as an analyst for the YES Network, which is why he was headed to New York on Friday to join the YES broadcast crew for the American League Championship Series.

“The time off was great,” he said. “There’s a reason I’ve been married 36 years. We’ve got two grandchildren and one on the way. I got to connect with them. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.”


Now, it’s very possible that the time has come to go back to work in his true profession.

Showalter has been mentioned in connection with several of the managerial vacancies that opened over the past two weeks. He has interviewed with the Los Angeles Angels and is also considered a strong candidate to replace Gabe Kapler with the Philadelphia Phillies. There have even been rumblings that Manny Machado has been lobbying for him in San Diego, but he said he has not been contacted by the Padres.

There was a time when he insisted Baltimore would be the last go-round in a managerial career that started in the Yankees minor league system and also included major league jobs with the Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers. He now says he meant every word of it, but obviously he had hoped to leave on his own terms.

“That’s the way I approach it every time,” said Showalter, 63. “Those people who are always working on their next job, they lose me at hello. Completely committed. Completely loyal. I don’t call other teams during that period. I can’t stand these guys who are politicking for jobs when somebody else has them.”

Still, when you rank 21st all-time in games managed and have a reputation as one of the sport’s great fix-it managers, the phone is bound to ring when there is this much turnover. There are openings all over the baseball map and several of them are looking for experienced guys with solid track records.

Showalter is part of a playoff-ready managerial talent pool that also includes Joe Maddon, Joe Girardi, John Farrell and Mike Scioscia. But Showalter said he wasn’t actively pursuing anything when “a couple of teams” made contact.

“It wasn’t something on my mind,” he said. “I was hoping — and I really mean it — that nobody was let go. You know what it’s like when that happens with you. I understand the shelf life of a manager, especially in today’s game, and I was [in Baltimore] 8½ years. That’s probably going to be pretty rare in the future.

“It wasn’t like I was waiting up or making phone calls. I’ve been doing this for a while and there’s a body of work. I’m not actively tooting my horn or anything. We’ll see where life takes us. It’s an honor to have your name mentioned. Every job is different, so I’m at peace with whatever happens.”

There is a lot of buzz that Maddon will end up with the Angels, which would be a homecoming of sorts since he began his coaching and managing career in that organization. But Showalter has a history with owner Arte Moreno, who was a part owner of the Diamondbacks before he bought the Angels.

The connection to the Phillies is more logical, since club president Andy MacPhail was the guy who lured Showalter to Baltimore in 2010. Scioscia, who grew up in the Philadelphia area, also is believed to be a strong candidate.

Since the Orioles chose not to offer Showalter a new contract last October, he has been conspicuous by his lack of public comment about being let go, his former employers or the new front office braintrust that is overseeing a long-term rebuilding project.

Still, it was clear that he wanted to be the one to engineer the revival of the franchise after the 2018 meltdown and he admitted Friday that he got a bit wistful when he returned to Baltimore for a recent speaking engagement.

“That was the first time back in Baltimore in a while,” he said, “and I’ve got to tell you, it was emotional. Somehow, I came into town and the Waze thing [GPS] took me on the same route I used to take to the ballpark. It was unbelievable. It kind of caught me off-guard the way things came flooding back.”

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