Elias' managerial pick won't be a hasty one - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Elias’ managerial pick won’t be a hasty one

Photo courtesy of Baltimore Orioles

Now that Mike Elias is in his job, his first big decision, and the one that is most eagerly awaited, is his choice for Orioles manager. On Monday, Elias said that he won’t be rushed into making a choice even if the Winter Meetings begin in less than three weeks.

Elias has one clear advantage. The Orioles aren’t competing with any other team, and for perhaps the only time in their history, they can afford to be deliberate about their managerial choice.

“It’s always a long list,’’ Elias said. “I’m not down to a short list. There are a lot of really good names. There are people who are currently on major league staffs, former managers who are not on a major league staff right now, and then also people in front offices, recently retired players. It’s all walks of life.

“It’s a large list right now and I’m going to whittle it down deliberately.”

Who could be on Elias’ list?

When he was hired from the Houston Astros, the immediate speculation was that Astros bench coach Joe Espada, who was interviewed for four of the other five open jobs this fall, would get serious consideration.

Espada, who’s also coached with the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees, replaced Alex Cora when he left for Boston.

If Elias wants to look at candidates with Orioles ties, he could consider Mike Bordick, longtime Orioles shortstop and MASN broadcaster. Bowie manager Gary Kendall might also merit consideration. So could Brian Graham, who served as interim GM during the six-week search. Graham has been the team’s director of player development.

“I do not think that is a requisite, but obviously experience, especially good experience, is always attractive in any hiring process,’’ Elias said. “This is ultimately going to be a menu of people, so I’m not going to pigeonhole a job description at this point and then try to find somebody who fits that perfectly.”

Elias has said he’s going to talk to his contacts around the game. If he’s looking for an accomplished manager with whom he’s familiar, perhaps Mike Matheny, who managed the St. Louis Cardinals for 6 ½ seasons, is a possibility. Matheny worked in the Cardinals’ organization while Elias was there before he succeeded Tony LaRussa for the 2012 season.

Another former manager with an excellent resume is John Farrell, who has extensive experience in the American League East with the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.

Matheny, who was let go by St. Louis at the All-Star break, is currently out of baseball. Farrell worked in the Cincinnati front office last season.

Terry Collins, who adeptly guided the New York Mets during a rebuilding and stayed as they made it to the World Series in 2015, could be a long-shot possibility. Collins, who has great energy, is 69 and would be by far the oldest manager in major league baseball.

Former major league managers Jim Riggleman and Walt Weiss were mentioned in The Athletic last weekend. The 65-year-old Riggleman has managed five different major league teams. He grew up in suburban Washington, and managed the Nationals until abruptly resigning in June 2011.

Riggleman was the interim manager of the Reds in 2018, but wasn’t hired for the full-time job.

Weiss managed the Colorado Rockies for four seasons, ending in 2016, and is Atlanta’s bench coach.

In the off-season, four of the five open jobs went to first-time managers. Rocco Baldelli (Minnesota), David Bell (Cincinnati), Charlie Montoya (Toronto) and Chris Woodward (Texas) are all new to big league managing. Only Brad Ausmus (Los Angeles Angels) has managed before.

Paul Molitor, who was replaced by Baldelli as Twins manager after the season, is another possibility, and former players who have yet to coach or manage such as Carlos Beltran, Mark DeRosa, Jerry Hairston, Raul Ibanez and David Ross could get consideration.

Beltran concluded his storied career with the Astros in 2017. DeRosa, a contender for the New York Mets job last year, withdrew from consideration for jobs this offseason. Hairston is a former Oriole who has worked on Los Angeles Dodgers telecasts in recent years. Ibanez and Ross have both worked for ESPN since retiring.

“We’re going to look at the best available and we will choose from among them the right fit for this team, this situation, this front office group,” Elias said.

Tate added to 40-man

The Orioles decided to add right-handed pitcher Dillon Tate to the 40-man roster. Tate was the centerpiece of the deal that sent Zach Britton to the New York Yankees.

To make room for Tate, the Orioles designated infielder Engelb Vielma for assignment.

The Orioles decided not to protect catcher Martin Cervenka and left-handed reliever Luis Gonzalez. Both could be selected  by other teams in next month’s Rule 5 draft.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. DevoTion

    November 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

    I think the O’s should go with a younger guy that can relate to the current players and the newer styles of managing. David Ross is a good example, catchers have always seemed to make good managers. I don’t think someone who has been managing for years would fit this team,

    • PA Bird Lover

      November 21, 2018 at 11:30 am

      I don’t know that I agree with Devo. It seems to me that young ball players need strong experience, advice and instruction. I’m not favoring the 69 year old, but a former player that recently retired could be a stretch. The list sounds long, make it the right pick.

      • DevoTion

        November 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm

        There are pros and cons to any one that gets chosen. And it’s a very tough decision, whichever way Elias goes I believe will be the right fit for the team

      • Rich Dubroff

        November 21, 2018 at 6:41 pm

        It’s an unofficial list, PA. They could well pick someone I don’t have on the list.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 21, 2018 at 6:40 pm

      I’m not sure which way they go, Devo, but looking forward to Elias’ rationale.

  2. Jacobs1928

    November 21, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    I hope Mr Elias considers ex O’s who have been winners and have stayed close to
    Baltimore and the O’s. Bordick and Dempsey are of the age where they would be
    Good leaders for a young team. They both know baseball from playing and observing.
    Also, try to get Palmer to work in someway in developing pitchers.
    It would be nice to have exO’s winners on board.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Jim Palmer has always volunteered his advice to pitchers, Jacobs. Dempsey is 69, and it would be unheard of to hire a first-time major league manager at that age.

      • Mau

        November 23, 2018 at 8:16 am

        Jeez. Rick is 69? Starting to feel old. Will never forget the rain delay show he put on. One of my favorites.

  3. Orial

    November 21, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Picking a manager isn’t,in my humble opinion,as significant as the top management positions at the present. Now I’m not saying go pick just anybody but someone who is willing to work with Elias(yes it appears nowdays that GMs play a stronger on field role too)and be aware of the analytical angle. How about Espada as Mgr and Bordick bench coach. Like to see Wilkerson and Kirby retained. Exciting times indeed.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 21, 2018 at 6:44 pm

      Looking forward to the choice, Orial.

  4. mlbbirdfan

    November 22, 2018 at 12:06 am

    Please, please, please NOT Matheny, Farrell, Riggleman, Collins, or Weiss!
    Let’s build a WINNER.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 22, 2018 at 12:36 am

      I’ll pass your thoughts along, mlbbirdfan.

  5. Jbigle1

    November 23, 2018 at 3:52 pm

    We chose to keep Susac over Cervenka? Seems to be an odd choice.

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