MLB: Last-place Orioles fire manager Dave Trembley
AP Sports Writer
BALTIMORE — Dave Trembley was fired Friday as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, who have the worst record in the major leagues and are staggering toward a franchise-record 13th consecutive losing season.
Third base coach Juan Samuel was appointed interim manager by president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who hired Trembley to take over on an interim basis for Sam Perlozzo on June 18, 2007.
The Orioles opened with 16 losses in 18 games, are 15-39 and coming off an 0-6 road trip in which they were outscored 34-8 in Toronto and at Yankee Stadium.
"The results on the field were not what any of us would have hoped for, and I understand that the organization felt the time was right to move in a different direction," Trembley said in a statement. "While I am disappointed at the outcome, I feel it was a privilege to wear the Orioles uniform each day."
Trembley is the second major league manager to be fired this season. Trey Hillman was dismissed by Kansas City on May 13.
The 58-year-old Trembley had a 187-283 record with the Orioles. As caretaker to MacPhail's massive rebuilding project, Trembley never had much talent at his disposal, and his job was made tougher this season an expansive injury list, a lackluster offense and an ineffective bullpen.
"We're the ones that throw the ball, we are the ones that swing the bats and catch the ball," designated hitter Luke Scott said Thursday after Baltimore's 6-3 loss to New York. "All the manager can do is put his best nine out there. I mean, it's not his fault. What can you say? It's a very difficult game. It's unfair in a lot of aspects."
MacPhail tried to reshape the roster, but after that didn't work, Trembley was cut loose during the option year of his contract.
MacPhail provided Trembley with his first major league managerial job after Perlozzo stumbled in 2007. Trembley started the season as the team's bullpen coach after spending the previous 20 years managing in the minors. Upon taking the reins, Trembley became the seventh man in baseball history to manage in the majors without having played professionally.
In August 2007, the interim label was removed.
The Orioles went 68-93 in 2008 and 64-98 last year, finishing in the AL East cellar both seasons. When MacPhail announced last October that the club would exercise the 2010 option on Trembley's contract, the stipulation was that the rebuilding Orioles must improve.
"You now change the criteria for evaluating managers (to) wins and losses," MacPhail said at the time. "That may not always be fair. Things happen, but at this point, going forward, I like to think we're out of that first phase of what we hoped to do."
Trembley never had a chance, especially after early season injuries claimed leadoff hitter Brian Roberts, outfielder Felix Pie, closer Mike Gonzalez and late-inning relievers Jim Johnson and Koji Uehara.
Baltimore's 2-16 start was second-worst in franchise history behind only the 1988 team, which lost its first 21 games.
The Orioles have yet to recover from that miserable April. They are 6-25 on the road, 6-21 within the division and trail first-place Tampa Bay by 21 games.
Baltimore ranks near the bottom in virtually every AL offensive category, including batting average, runs and stolen bases. The pitching staff has allowed more home runs than any team in the majors except for Arizona and ranks 12th in the AL with a 4.70 ERA.
The makeshift bullpen has more blown saves (10) than saves (9). Converted closer Alfredo Simon, who followed Gonzalez and Johnson in the role, had six saves in seven tries before being placed on the disabled list on May 25 with a strained left hamstring.
Now it's up to Samuel to try to make something of a season gone awry. He was to make his debut Friday night at Camden Yards against the Boston Red Sox.
The 49-year-old Samuel was a three-time All-Star during a 16-year playing career that ran through 1998. His only managerial experience came in 2006, when he led Binghamton of the Eastern League to a 70-69 record and a second-place finish.
Before that, Samuel served seven years with the Detroit Tigers as a coach. This is his fourth season with the Orioles.
Samuel becomes Baltimore's sixth manager since 1997, the last time the team had a winning season. He follows Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove, Lee Mazzilli, Perlozzo and Trembley.
Gary Allenson, previously the manager of the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, was appointed interim third base coach.