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.