- The Washington Times - Monday, October 10, 2005

From combined dispatches

Jim Beattie won’t return in 2006 as executive vice president of the Baltimore Orioles, a move that could signify the beginning of a wide-ranging shakeup in the wake of the team’s eighth straight losing season.

Beattie told people yesterday at a charity golf outing in the Baltimore area that he would not be back. His contract expires at the end of this month.

There was no word on the status of vice president Mike Flanagan, who worked with Beattie in the Orioles’ front office. It also was uncertain whether the Orioles would retain interim manager Sam Perlozzo, who took over for manager Lee Mazzilli on Aug. 4.

Phone calls from the Associated Press to Orioles owner Peter Angelos, Beattie and Perlozzo were not immediately returned.

Beattie and Flanagan were hired as a tandem on Dec. 4, 2002, to replace Syd Thrift. Beattie was appointed executive vice president of baseball operations, and Flanagan received the title of vice president of baseball operations.

Their job, akin to that of a general manager, included finding talent, stocking the farm system and hiring the manager and coaches.

Their best acquisition was signing shortstop Miguel Tejada to a six-year contract in December 2003. But the duo also hired Mazzilli, who was dismissed in August after the Orioles lost 16 of 18 in the middle of his second season, and acquired Sammy Sosa, who hit only .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBI.

Beattie and Flanagan failed to secure a solid starting pitcher before the 2005 season, a shortcoming that went uncorrected through the July 31 non-waiver deadline. They also were responsible for giving Sidney Ponson a three-year, $22.5 million contract in January 2004.

Ponson went 11-15 in 2004 and was 7-11 with a 6.21 ERA this season before the Orioles terminated his contract in September after he was charged with drunken driving for the second time this year.

Beattie pitched in the majors for nine years and served as vice president and general manager of the Montreal Expos from 1995 through 2001. Before that, he was the Seattle Mariners’ director of player development.

PHILLIES: Ed Wade was fired as general manager after failing to get the Phillies into the playoffs during eight years on the job.

Philadelphia went 88-74 this season and finished one game behind NL wild-card winner Houston. It was the Phillies’ third consecutive winning season and fourth in five years, but they missed the playoffs for the 12th straight year and 21st time in 22 seasons.

“The expectation is that you need to make the playoffs, and we didn’t live up to those expectations,” Wade said. “I’ve seen it happen in other places. There’s never a good time for something like this, but that’s not my decision to make.”

Wade was unpopular in Philadelphia, especially after he hired Charlie Manuel as manager to replace Larry Bowa. He was heavily criticized for his reluctance to make significant moves before the trade deadline, and for giving big-money, long-term contracts to players who have underachieved.

Fans never really warmed up to the Phillies this season, even though they were in the playoff chase the entire year. Attendance at two-year-old Citizens Bank Park dropped off by almost 600,000, down from 3.25 million in 2004.

“I think public perception is a big part when you talk about selling,” Wade said. “In order to move things forward, if the decision was based on the performance of the club, obviously not getting into the postseason is a big role in that, but I also think the fact that I became a lightning rod for criticism for the organization, with me out of the picture, it makes things easier from that respect.”

Team president David Montgomery said he was aware of the fans’ opinion.

“We do listen to the fans and we try to connect to the fans,” Montgomery said.

Wade, 49, replaced Lee Thomas in March 1998 after serving an assistant for Thomas for eight years. He has two years remaining on his contract, but wasn’t offered another job in the organization.

Wade inherited a team that had finished last two straight years and had posted a losing record in 10 of the previous 11 seasons. He fired Terry Francona after the 2000 season, hired Bowa and rebuilt the team around young stars such as Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins.

The new person will have authority to change managers and coaches, even though Manuel has two years remaining on his contract.

REDS: Relievers Ben Weber and Chris Booker and second baseman D’Angelo Jimenez are leading Cincinnati as free agents. The Reds also announced that first base coach Randy Whisler won’t return next season.

WORLD CLASSIC: Puerto Rico will play host to first- and second-round games of the inaugural World Baseball Classic next year. Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, the ballpark where the Montreal Expos played some of their games in 2003 and 2004, will stage a total of 19 games.

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