The San Francisco Giants handing Farhan Zaidi, their rival Los Angeles Dodgers' No. 2, a promotion and naming him president of baseball operations Tuesday at baseball's general managers meetings in California leaves the Orioles with the only top executive vacancy in the game.
Wednesday marks five weeks since the Orioles' search began to find a leader of the baseball side to replace executive vice president Dan Duquette, and to replace manager Buck Showalter. Now that they're the only team with vacancies in either spot, whichever portion of the baseball world isn't focused on the pending free agencies of the likes of Manny Machado and Bryce Harper will look with an eye toward the Orioles’ search.
A group of new names were reported by the New York Post earlier this week, including former Orioles executive Ned Rice, now an assistant general manager with the Philadelphia Phillies, plus Detroit Tigers assistant general manager David Chadd. Kansas City Royals assistant general manager Scott Sharp, a Sykesville native, is also a candidate, according to MLB Network. The list of previous names connected include former Boston Red Sox general manager and current Toronto Blue Jays executive vice president Ben Cherington, Houston Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias and former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti.
Another name long connected to the job, Oakland Athletics assistant general manager Dan Kantrovitz, was contacted but declined an interview last week, according to a source.
Cherington and Elias remain strong candidates. For different reasons — Cherington for his experience running the Red Sox and Elias for his varied duties building the 2017 World Series champion Astros — would make sense as leading candidates.
Zaidi was never connected to the Orioles, though the club hadn't moved on from its first round of interviews because it wanted the chance to contact possible candidates from the Dodgers and World Series champion Red Sox front offices.
Former Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres general manager Josh Byrnes served as senior vice president under Zaidi with the Dodgers, and possibly will lead what's left of a well-regarded front office. In Boston, president Dave Dombrowski has a litany of deputies who could interest the Orioles, including senior vice presidents Allard Baird, Brian O'Halloran, Eddie Romero, Frank Wren, and vice president of player development Ben Crockett. Wren was the Orioles general manager in 1999.
While this week's meetings have put a temporary halt on the search as many candidates are fulfilling their responsibilities with their current teams, the Orioles have been operating on the timeline that such a decision will be made by mid-November.