Orioles could face obstacles in hiring coaching staff - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles could face obstacles in hiring coaching staff

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Once the Orioles choose their manager, they’ll have a coaching staff to select. And while there is no competition in their managerial search, picking coaches might be a trickier.

There are coaches available from the five other teams that hired new managers, but other teams may be reluctant to allow their minor league staffers to interview for coaching jobs with the Orioles at this point.

The contracts for the coaches who worked for manager Buck Showalter expired on Oct. 31, and none has been hired.

Scott Coolbaugh (hitting); Howie Clark and Einar Diaz (assistant hitting); Bobby Dickerson (third base and infield); Wayne Kirby (first base and outfield); Roger McDowell (pitching); Alan Mills (bullpen); and John Russell (bench and catching) are all still available.

Dickerson had at least one interview with another organization, and McDowell was rumored to be heading to Miami, but that never panned out.

Like Showalter, the coaches are marred by the 115-loss season. What also hurts is that teams are assembling different kinds of coaching staffs.

Gone are the days when a manager who was fired by one club could easily latch on to a job as a bench or third base coach.

The staffs many of the new managers hired this fall feature unfamiliar names, and that’s particularly true among hitting coaches.

According to a fascinating article by SI.com’s Tom Verducci, half of the major league teams have changed their hitting coaches since the end of the 2018 season. Assuming Coolbaugh, who is pictured above, is not retained by the new manager, that will make 16 changes.

Only five major league teams will head into next season with hitting coaches who’ve been in their jobs for at least three seasons.

Who is getting hired? Younger coaches who are more schooled in analytics and able to relate to younger players. It’s no secret that teams are shying away from veteran players, managers and coaches.

Perhaps the most intriguing hire is Robert Van Scoyoc, a 32-year-old who never played professionally. He’ll replace Turner Ward with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Van Scoyoc helped change J.D. Martinez’s swing at a private hitting facility, and worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year.

It wouldn’t be a shock to see the Orioles hire someone like Van Scoyoc to replace Coolbaugh.

When Showalter assembled his coaching staff after the 2010 season, he opted for a whole new group, and two of the hires were former major league managers: Russell and Willie Randolph.

If the Orioles hire a first-time manager, conventional wisdom would be that a veteran major league manager would be a smart idea as bench coach. Chip Hale, one of the reported candidates for the job, fills the bench coach and mentor role for Nationals manager Davey Martinez, a first-timer.

Jim Riggleman, a longtime major league manager, was recently hired by the New York Mets to help Mickey Callaway, who had a rough first year.

The Orioles could always find major league coaches from among their minor league managers and coaches, but without Director of Player Development Brian Graham, who was dismissed last Friday, there aren’t many in the organization intimately familiar with their work.

While Elias is more familiar with the major league coaching staff, there aren’t many around to speak to their specific abilities, either.

Elias said last week that he thought the hiring of coaches would be a collaborative process, and that the new manager would assist in the hiring of a manager for Triple-A Norfolk.

Unless there’s a quick hire, the Orioles’ managerial vacancy will be the elephant in Elias’ suite at the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas.

Each major league manager sits for question sessions. Last year, Manny Machado’s move to shortstop was discussed during Showalter’s talk.

There won’t be an Oriole manager to answer those questions next week. Nor is there likely to be an Orioles skipper at the Dec. 12 major league managers’ lunch.

The revealing of a new Orioles coaching staff will just have to wait.

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Schwarzstop

    December 5, 2018 at 7:14 am

    A fans timeline is never the same as the front office timeline. Throughout the years, we all had Faith in Ozzie with the Ravens and he would usually come through. I now have that Faith in Mike Elias. He does not seem like a guy who is planning to fail right out of the gate! Patience, Grasshopper!

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 7:39 am

      Schwarzstop, I appreciate your thoughts. I think Elias is taking a long-term view here, and if there’s a good manager and coaching staff, we’ll hardly remember the wait in 2021.

    • BirdsCaps

      December 5, 2018 at 3:36 pm

      I jumped off of the Ozzie bandwagon about 5 years ago. Even though his early years with the ravens were great, post 2010ish, he became a mediocre evaluator of talent. That said, his last 2 drafts were pretty good, but there is still not the depth of the early to mid 2000s drafts. All in all, he will be remembered as a very good to great gm, but his later years were mediocre.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      BirdsCaps, drafting two Hall of Famers in one round and two
      Super Bowl wins make you a great GM. Yes, some of his recent drafts weren’t so great, but overall that record is outstanding.

      • BirdsCaps

        December 5, 2018 at 7:59 pm

        Agreed, but looking at the past 10 years he’s been very mediocre and at times just bad. He’s had very good drafts (from what we know so far) in 2016-18. However, he missed on many first round picks (e.g. Perriman) and early 2nd round picks that were acquired by trading back (e.g..Upshaw). There is also the lack of depth in the organization. Growing up, there was always someone who was competent to be the next man up, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. This could be due to the large chunk of cap space that Flacco’s contract takes up. However, you are correct, that Newsome is easily a great (and likely Hall of Fame caliber) GM.

  2. Orial

    December 5, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Agree with Schwarz. I too have total faith in Elias and his process. I am a little surprised Elias hasn’t picked a mgr yet being that it seems he has his goals in sight but who knows. Being that it appears the future manager will be a relative unknown I assume the coaches will be the same. I don’t think we’ll see the old time,tobacco chewing pitching coach. 35 year old,super smart geek coach will be the choice. Again I have total faith in the system.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Orial, if I never saw another tobacco chewing pitching coach, or tobacco chewing anything, I’d be fine with it. Excuse me while I try not to think about chewing tobacco while eating my breakfast.

  3. VICTORTEE

    December 5, 2018 at 8:30 am

    I expect a cheap manager who will listen 100% to the analytics people.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 8:38 am

      As long as they listen to you, Victor, I’m fine.

      • VICTORTEE

        December 5, 2018 at 9:06 am

        Thanks for the sarcastic response. Do you think I am incorrect?

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Ask me again in spring training and two weeks into the regular season. Since I don’t know who the manager will be and what his relationship will be with the analytics staff, I don’t know.

      As I’ve been writing, the trend around baseball is to move away from big name managers. Yes, that means teams are generally not paying them as much as the older guys.

  4. SpinMaster

    December 5, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Rich:
    This may be out in left field, but after watching Sean Casey on MLB Network last night, I would want to see if he would be interested in being our next hitting coach. He was describing Robinson Cano’s sweet swing and showing how Cano and Casey were taught to basically swing downhill as if off a pitcher’s mound. I kept saying to myself that I hope that Chris Davis was watching so maybe he could understand that having his hands so high before he starts to swing can only result in a upper cut swing and not close to what Casey was showing abut Cano’s swing.
    Just a thought.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 11:13 am

      My guess is that broadcasting isn’t as stressful and high-risk as being a batting coach. It may also pay more, Spin, and you get more freedom.

  5. TxBirdFan

    December 5, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I like the patience in hiring. And hopefully, since Elias is relatively young/new, we won’t have to sacrifice effectiveness for friendship. I hope the new manager thinks the same way when it comes to coaches.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      I’m eager to see what they come up with.

  6. boss61

    December 5, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    You know, players might listen to formet players who have “been there and done that” i a new role as a coach. Some recently retired ex-Orioles who possibly could have something to offer inasmuch as they seem intelligent and engaging might include:

    Brian Roberts, Nate McLouth, Greg Zuan, Buddy Groom, Steve Johnson, Joe Saunders and Ryan Flaherty.

    I realize some may not be all the way retired and that others might not truly be qualified, interested or available . Just me thinking out loud, and it would be fun if one or more of these guys came back in this role.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Mark, I’m sure some of those players will appreciate bringing their name up.

      However, Brian Roberts isn’t interested in a full/time job since he has a young family, and Ryan Flaherty would like to continue playing for now.

      Not sure how relevant being an ex-Oriole is these days.

      • boss61

        December 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm

        Yeah. Article One as to why fans should not make baseball decisions.

        File under Meddling. Subfile: Davis, Chris.

  7. PA Bird Lover

    December 5, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Rich, how would you and your readers react if ME would tap out Showalter to be the next manager? I wouldn’t lose sleep over it so long as Russell stays out of the picture. He slept in the dugout during most games.

    • boss61

      December 5, 2018 at 2:43 pm

      Slept? Really?

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      PA, Buck is not going to manage the Orioles next season. John Russell is a quiet person and actively engaged in the games.

  8. cmeach11489

    December 5, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    The hiring practices of MLB teams right now is absolutely baffling to me. Hiring someone that has NEVER played professionally? I have no idea how this can be a trend and I really hope it doesnt become one. I’ve never heard of a business that doesnt value an employee with an immense amount of experience. Lets look at my father Bobby Meacham and compare his resume to every other big league coach. I would bet he lands in the top 1% when it comes to coaching experience (which includes dealing with every form of analytics). Oh and he played professionally… and was a first round draft pick… drives me crazy he doesnt get more looks. How is he not of value?

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 6, 2018 at 7:37 am

      Cmeach, sadly your father’s experience is not an isolated one. A number of experienced baseball people have complained, rightfully so, that they have difficulty getting interviews in this environment.

  9. BirdsCaps

    December 5, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    They might have to piece together a coaching staff from what’s available. Even though Elias seems to like to look out of the organization so far, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few faces from within the organization to fill out the staff (e.g. Kendall or Minor)

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 6, 2018 at 7:39 am

      I’m looking forward to the choices for both manager and coaching staff, BirdsCaps.

  10. BirdsCaps

    December 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    This is off topic, but the D-backs got a very good haul for Goldschmidt. A graduated top 100 prospect, a 2018 top 50 prospect, and a sandwich pick. Had the O’s dealt Machado last offseason, I assume we would have gotten a package like this instead of Diaz and the package of low to mid level prospects.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 6, 2018 at 7:41 am

      Machado’s numbers were better in the first half of 2018 than his 2017 numbers. I don’t think the Orioles were getting Walker Buehler from the Dodgers a year ago.

  11. John in Cincy

    December 6, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    A few coaching possibilities (no, I’m not limiting it to ex-Orioles, just a few who come to mind):

    Infield — Mike Bordick, J.J. Hardy
    Outfield — B.J. Surhoff
    Hitting — Eddie Murray
    Pitching — Scott McGregor

  12. Jacobs1928

    December 7, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Coach hire is more important then Mgr..look thru baseball and find coaches that have
    Developed young players…especially minor leagues…
    Look at some of the recent stars we had on the O’s who handled Machado..and Schoop
    What coach has been great with young prospects pitchers..get them for our new young team

  13. Hallbe62

    December 9, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    These times they are a changing.

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