I can't help but feel for Mike Flanagan. Few men have devoted more of their lives to the Orioles organization than the sharp-witted lefty from New Hampshire. From 1975 to 1987, he won 139 games, a Cy Young award, and a World Championship in Baltimore. A trade to Toronto brought only a temporary separation; when the Blue Jays released Mike in 1990, he returned to Charm City, reinventing himself as a valuable reliever (2.38 ERA in 64 games in 1991). He was the last Oriole to throw a pitch in Memorial Stadium. Two years after his 1992 retirement, he was selected to the Orioles Hall of Fame. He served as the team's pitching coach on two occasions, and was a color commentator for televised games for six years. From 2003 to mid-2007, he was the de facto general manager. Though his personnel moves did not turn around the Birds' fortunes, there was plenty of blame to go around. When Andy MacPhail was hired as general manager last June, Flanagan was kept on in the front office, his role somewhat murky. Now, with MacPhail firmly in charge and Flanny notably absent from the Baltimore contingent at the Winter Meetings, the writing appears to be on the wall.
It's just uncomfortable to watch someone who has served the club in as many capacities as you can imagine twist in the wind like this. For a year and a half, Mike has kept to himself, saying the right things, as he's been more or less pushed aside without being completely set free. Whatever is next for Number 46, I hope he finds a way to continue participating in Orioles baseball.