- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Seeking to turn around a franchise that has endured five straight losing seasons, Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is expected to hand over the reins of the club's front office today to a pair of former major-league pitchers with far different backgrounds.
The Orioles were in discussions last night with Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie to become the heads of the Orioles' baseball operations department, according to a high-ranking club official. The two are likely replacements for vice president of baseball operations Syd Thrift, who had held Baltimore's de facto general manager position for three years.
The precise job titles each would assume was not clear last night, but it is likely that Beattie, a former right-hander and general manager of the Montreal Expos, will be GM, while Flanagan, a former Baltimore left-hander and team broadcaster, will assume Thrift's old title. It was also unclear whether one would outrank the other, though those details were discussed during a meeting yesterday between Angelos, Flanagan and Beattie and expected to be finalized today.
The Orioles' search lasted more than a month and included eight candidates. Baltimore is the last team in baseball to name a general manager for the 2003 season after the Boston Red Sox selected 28-year-old Theo Epstein last week.
In pursuing two men to do the job usually done by one, Angelos is going against conventional baseball wisdom. However, such an arrangement became necessary because of Flanagan and Beattie's differing strengths.
Flanagan, 50, has no previous front office experience, but has been around the Orioles' organization for more than two decades as a Cy Young Award winner, pitching coach, broadcaster and advisor to Angelos. His eye for talent and philosophies for running an organization made him an attractive GM candidate and the early front-runner for the job, but it became clear that he was not yet ready to take over an entire baseball operations department.
Beattie, 48, has considerable experience he was the Expos' GM for six seasons, assembling a competitive young team despite that franchise's strict budgetary constraints that limited annual payrolls to $20million-$30million. A right-hander with the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners in the late 1970s and early '80s, Beattie was the Mariners' farm director for six seasons before moving to Montreal in 1995.
The Dartmouth graduate resigned after the 2001 season, just as Major League Baseball was assuming control of the club from former owner Jeffrey Loria, but returned to serve as a special assistant to current Expos GM Omar Minaya last year.
Ever since Thrift, 73, hinted on the final day of the regular season that he did not expect to return to the Orioles in the same capacity, Flanagan's name stood at the top of the list as the most likely replacement. But Angelos conducted an exhaustive search once the postseason ended, formally interviewing seven candidates before narrowing the field to three: Flanagan, Beattie and former Chicago White Sox GM Ron Schueler.
Schueler, 54, holds similar qualifications to Beattie's he spent 10 years running the White Sox's front office, winning two division titles. Ultimately, though, Angelos may have chosen Beattie instead because he seemed like a better pairing with Flanagan.
Angelos began interviewing candidates the second week of November. In addition to Beattie and Schueler, the owner met formally with Detroit Tigers assistant GM Al Avila, Arizona Diamondbacks assistant GM Sandy Johnson, Mariners vice president Roger Jongewaard and Milwaukee Brewers scout David Wilder.
Flanagan had several informal discussions with Angelos over a period of time, then officially interviewed for the job last week.
Retired Orioles legend Cal Ripken publicly stated his interest in the position last month, but pulled himself from the running before ever formally interviewing with Angelos, citing his commitments to his youth baseball endeavors.

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