Taking advantage of an off-day during the World Series, the Minnesota Twins appointed the major leagues’ first millennial manager. Rocco Baldelli, who was born in September 1981, becomes the first manager born in the 1980s.
Baldelli, who was Tampa Bay’s field coordinator, was the third manager hired this week, following David Bell (Cincinnati) and Brad Ausmus (Los Angeles Angels).
Later in the day, word came that the Toronto Blue Jays had decided to hire 55-year-old Charlie Montoya, the Rays’ bench coach, as their manager.
The Orioles haven’t yet decided who will head their baseball operations. It’s expected they’ll make an announcement soon after the World Series ends, which could be as early as Saturday if the Boston Red Sox continue their domination of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Free-agency begins after the World Series, and while Director of Player Development Brian Graham is filling in as acting general manager, a new hierarchy isn’t far away.
Assuming the Orioles hire someone shortly after the World Series, it could take until nearly Thanksgiving before a manager is named. Last year, the New York Yankees fired Joe Girardi on Oct. 26 and didn’t hire Aaron Boone until early December.
Since the end of last season, six name managers, Girardi, Dusty Baker (Washington), John Farrell (Boston), Mike Matheny (St. Louis), Mike Scioscia (Angels) and Showalter have been let go. None has found another managing job.
Baldelli, Bell and Montoya are first-time managers while Ausmus, who was let go last season after four years with Detroit, is getting a second chance. While Girardi and Farrell apparently have interviewed for jobs and Matheny was linked with Toronto, teams have seemed to opt for younger, lower-profile and more inexpensive managers.
The next Orioles manager is assuredly going to be paid far less than the $3.5 million Showalter was reportedly paid in 2018. He might make less than the $1 million Mike Hargrove earned when he began a four-year stint with the team in 2000.
Everyone wants to know who it will be, but there won’t be any clues until we find out who’s doing the hiring. The Orioles are the only team looking for a manager and GM.
The New York Mets and San Francisco Giants have managers, and are looking for general managers. The Giants’ skipper, Bruce Bochy, has three World Series rings and is the longest tenured manager in the game.
Having an opportunity to basically create your own organization might makes the Orioles’ job more appealing than others in the majors.
But what kind of a manager is likely to be interviewed? Girardi, who interviewed in Cincinnati and Texas, removed himself from consideration from those jobs. His last contract with the Yankees was for four years and $16 million.
The rebuilding Orioles aren’t going to pay that much for a manager, and Girardi presumably will stay at MLB Network.
Mark DeRosa, who’s been a popular name floated, also was said to have taken himself out of the running in Texas for a return to MLB Network. However, that might mean he just wasn’t interested in that job.
Another popular recent player-turned-broadcaster, David Ross, has reportedly said he’s opted to stay at ESPN.
The names reportedly in play in Texas aren’t high-profile ones.
Some of those under consideration for the Rangers’ job include Don Wakamatsu, who finished the season as Texas’ interim manager and formerly managed Seattle; Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde; Eric Chavez, who was a Triple-A manager in the Angels’ organization this season; Phillies coach Dusty Wathan; Houston bench coach Joe Espada; Cardinals Triple-A manager Stubby Clapp; and Rangers assistant GM Jayce Tingler.
Toronto sifted through more than a dozen candidates to replace John Gibbons.
If the Orioles have a list as long as the Blue Jays, their exploratory process might take several weeks.
Baldelli had also interviewed with Texas and Toronto, and is what passes for a hot candidate this time around.
The Texas list doesn’t include the usual suspects, and the Orioles list might not, either.
The Mets’ GM search includes agent Brodie Van Wagenen, who represents two prominent players on the team, Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, as well as the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman.
Could it be possible that the Orioles will have out-of-the-box candidates for their top jobs?
Orioles sign four international free agents
After missing out on Cuban outfielders Victor Victor Mesa, his brother Victor and pitcher Sandy Gaston, the Orioles signed four international prospects.
Outfielders Kevin Infante, an 18-year-old from Cuba; Angel Gomez, a 17-year-old from Venezuela; shortstop Gilbert Machado, also a 17-year-old from Venezuela; and right-hander Kelvin Larcoche, a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic, were added.
Infante was signed for a bonus of $175,000, according to an industry source.
Graham, the interim GM, said in a statement:
“Infante is a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder who also possesses the skill set to play second base. He’s a plus runner with a good offensive approach, and we believe that he will develop to be a productive hitter. Gomez is a well-rounded, right-handed hitting outfielder who can run, throw, and play all three outfield positions. LaRoche is a durable, right-handed pitcher, whose consistent delivery allows him to throw strikes. Machado is a natural shortstop with plus defensive skills and athleticism. We look forward to having our player development staff work with all four players to further enhance their skills.”
Free-agency beckons for Alvarez
Pedro Alvarez, who had signed one-year contracts with the Orioles in each of the past three springs, is apparently not signing a fourth one. The 31-year-old Alvarez has again filed for free-agency.
After beginning the season with the Orioles, Alvarez was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk in June. He hit .180 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 49 games with the Orioles. In 43 games with Norfolk, Alvarez hit .285 with eight homers and 32 RBIs.