Just off the top of my head, here are the major issues awaiting whoever the Orioles brass (aka Peter Angelos) finds to replace MacPhail
- Replacing the recently departed Joe Jordan, who served as the Director of Amateur Scouting for the past seven years. Jordan was offered a promotion to Director of Player Development with the Phillies and let's be honest, who wouldn't take that job? Jordan was responsible for selecting Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy.
- Bringing in some bona-fide Major League starting pitchers, as in some players who will not just serve as mentors to the numerous "Baby Birds," but who will also challenge for long-term roles with the team. The Orioles pitching staff hasn't compiled a team ERA under 4.60 since 2002 and has gone over 5.00 four of the past six seasons.
- Finding a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat capable of driving in runs. Preferably someone who can hit higher than .220 for an entire season and not strike out over 200 times. Only five players since 2001 (Jay Gibbons, Nick Markakis, Melvin Mora, Aubrey Huff and Miguel Tejada) have driven in more than 100 runs for the Orioles since 2001.
- Improving a farm system that ranked 21st among 30 teams in last year's Baseball America Organizational Talent Rankings. After graduating so much talent to the Majors over the past three seasons, there remains little left in the system, and those talented pieces (Machado, Bundy and Schoop) are all playing in the lower levels of the minors, or in Bundy's case, have yet to make their pro debut.
- Figure out what the heck to do with Brian Roberts. The gritty second baseman signed a contract extension back in 2009 that will keep him in an Orioles uniform, or at the very least an Orioles run rehab facility, until 2014.
Unfortunately, since signing that deal, Roberts has only appeared in 257 games for the O's, and he hasn't played in more than 60 since 2009. Along the way, he's been sidelined with back issues, migraines and abdominal strains. The team has several in-house options, including Robert Andino, who hit .263 with 22 doubles and 13 steals in limited playing time, and Ryan Adams, who hit .281 in less than 100 at-bats.
- And last but not least, put a grinding halt to 14 consecutive losing seasons, one of the longest runs in major sports history, while playing in the toughest division in baseball, a division where 81 victories was only good enough for fourth-place, and working under the most difficult owner in the current sports landscape (now that Al Davis has died).
And now...for the candidates.