Dave Trembley's job as manager of the Baltimore Orioles isn't complete: He will get the opportunity to see the team's arduous rebuilding process through to its next stage.
Trembley will return to manage the Orioles next year after the club announced Friday that it will exercise the 2010 option on his contract. The decision came a day after the Orioles (61-98) broke a 13-game losing streak, third-longest in Baltimore history.
"We have been successful as an organization in introducing the kind of talent that I hope could one day lead to a ... postseason berth," Orioles president Andy MacPhail said. "It is on that basis that I think that Dave has earned the opportunity, deserves the opportunity to manage the club in 2010."
Trembley has compiled a 169-244 record since taking over for the fired Sam Perlozzo on June 18, 2007. Trembley joined the Orioles as bullpen coach for the 2007 season after managing for 20 seasons in the minor leagues.
"It has been difficult the last couple weeks for everybody. But take that last couple weeks aside (and) what we said we were going to do, we did," Trembley said. "I'm very appreciative and thankful for the opportunity ... to get to go forward."
Throughout his minor league career, Trembley was most comfortable as an evaluator and developer of talent. With the Orioles forced to expedite their top prospects' ascension through the organization, Trembley used those skills to the fullest.
"I always felt that Dave Trembley did exactly what this franchise asked him to do: He was charged with nurturing and developing young talent," MacPhail said.
This year, however, has been particularly challenging. Because the Orioles weren't expecting to contend, they intended to give some of their best minor leaguers some additional seasoning. Instead, pitchers Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Jason Berken and Chris Tillman were rushed to the majors to reinforce a depleted rotation.
The contributions of other rookies, such as catcher Matt Wieters and left fielder Nolan Reimold, became more important after MacPhail traded away closer George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July and cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff to Detroit in August.
How Trembley handled a younger-than-expected roster while competing in the AL East, one of the toughest divisions in baseball, impressed MacPhail.
"It would be unreasonable ... to suggest that over the course of those two seasons, we could expect a record better than they had," MacPhail said.
Because Trembley managed some of the current Orioles in the minor leagues, he wants to see the rebuilding process through to completion.
"I understand very clearly what it's all about," he said. "We have kind of graduated some players. We had a lot of first-year players _ I kind of used the term, a lot of true freshmen here _ and they got better. Guys improved. Now it's our job to make sure we go to the next step."
That process, MacPhail said, will change the way in which Trembley will be graded _ and determine his future past next season.
"You now change the criteria for evaluating managers (to) wins and losses," MacPhail said. "That may not always be fair. Things happen, but at this point, going forward, I like to think we're out of that first phase of what we hoped to do."
Trembley intends to be the man to pull the Orioles out of their franchise-record run of 12 straight losing seasons.
"I am happy for the philosophy that's existed since I came aboard: To do things right, be fair, understand that the big picture is not yourself and it's the Baltimore Orioles," Trembley said.
Still, being summoned to MacPhail's office at 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon made Trembley nervous because his status had been widely debated.
"I felt like I was walking the green mile," Trembley joked.