A franchise-record 115 losses were too many for Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to keep their jobs.
Showalter and Duquette, whose contracts expire at the end of October, will not return in 2019, the team announced Wednesday night. Showalter took the helm during the 2010 season, while Duquette was hired as general manager after the 2011 campaign.
"The club decided they weren't going to renew my contract at the end of the term, and I think that's probably for the best," Duquette told the Baltimore Sun. "I appreciate the opportunity Peter Angelos gave me."
The Orioles said they'll hire a new top baseball executive from outside the organization and that person will have final say in picking the next manager. In the interim, Brian Graham, the team's director of player development, will handle day-to-day oversight of baseball operations. The team also said director of scouting Gary Rajsich and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson remain under contract.
"We thank Dan and Buck for their many contributions over the past several years," the team said in a statement. "Under their leadership, prior to the 2018 season and for six consecutive years, the club delivered competitive teams playing meaningful baseball into September, achieved three postseason appearances and came within four games of a World Series appearance, and won more games than any other American League club during a period spanning five of those six enjoyable seasons."
This season was anything but enjoyable, as Baltimore became just the fifth major league team since 1900 to lose 115 games or more in a season.
A statement was issued on Showalter's behalf via Twitter.
Showalter received official word in a meeting with brothers John and Lou Angelos on Wednesday morning, sources told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. The brothers have been overseeing much of the ownership responsibilities because of the declining health of their father, majority owner Peter Angelos.
Hired midway through the 2010 season, Showalter struggled out of the gate in Baltimore before leading the team to at least 81 wins in five straight seasons, from 2012 to 2016. The Orioles reached the postseason three times, including an appearance in the American League Championship Series in 2014.
But the past two years have been a struggle.
Baltimore went 75-87 to finish last in the AL East in 2017 and followed that with one of the worst campaigns in major league history. During the 2018 season, stars such as Manny Machado and Zach Britton were traded, as were key pieces such as Brad Brach, Darren O'Day, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop.
Those deals were made by Duquette, who at the start of his tenure in Baltimore made the roster moves that built the teams Showalter managed to the postseason. Duquette was named the Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2014, an honor he also won in 1992 while GM of the Montreal Expos.
"We are proud of 3 playoff appearances in the first 5 years, fielding a club that compiled the best record in the American League for almost 6 years and consistently having talented and entertaining clubs that won more than the preseason projections with excellent bullpens, good defense and a ton of Home Runs," Duquette said in a statement.
"Thank you Buck, Thank you Os fans, Thank you Baltimore."
Duquette also served as GM of the Boston Red Sox during his career.
When the Orioles wrapped up play Sunday with a 4-0 win over the Houston Astros, they had finished 61 games behind the first-place Red Sox -- the largest season-ending gap in the divisional era (since 1969). The Orioles' 115 losses were third most in the majors since the league went to a 162-game schedule in 1961, trailing only the 1962 New York Mets (120 losses) and 2003 Detroit Tigers (119).
"It's about winning the game," Showalter told reporters at the end of the season. "That's one of the things I really feel like we need to get back to, the expectations of winning. That's part of it. You've got to have expectations of winning, regardless of if you're whatever they call it nowadays -- building. I don't believe in rebuild, the word rebuild. The first thing you have to accomplish, and one of the things I tried to do when I got here, is to raise the expectations of winning."
Showalter finishes with 669 wins with the Orioles, second most by any manager in franchise history, behind Earl Weaver (1,480). Showalter's 1,353 games managed with the club trail only Weaver's 2,541.
Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014, after also being named Manager of Year with the New York Yankees in 1994 and the Texas Rangers in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.
"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."
Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.
"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."
Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.
"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."
Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."
Information from ESPN's Jerry Crasnick and The Associated Press was used in this report.