With the announcement of the composition of the Orioles’ minor league staffs on Monday, and later news that Anthony Sanders has been hired as first base coach, it’s clear that the Orioles’ front office staff, player development personnel and coaches are getting younger.
The news of Sanders’ hiring, which was expected and reported by MASNsports.com and confirmed by an industry source, is just another sign that the people hired by Executive Vice President/General Manager Mike Elias come from diverse backgrounds.
They also don’t have to have Oriole experience, major league experience, or in many cases, even professional baseball experience.
Sanders, who’s 45, played just 13 major league games in parts of three seasons with Toronto and Seattle. He replaces Arnie Beyeler, a 55-year-old longtime minor league manager who coached first base and instructed the outfielders in 2019.
Sanders, who has worked in the Colorado system, worked with the Orioles’ new player development director, Matt Blood, at USA Baseball.
The Orioles are still in the process of interviewing for a bullpen coach to replace John Wasdin and an assistant hitting coach, the job held by Howie Clark the previous three seasons.
Wasdin was the Orioles’ minor league pitching coordinator until Elias arrived and brought with him Chris Holt, who supplanted Wasdin and was announced as the team’s director of pitching Monday.
Pitching coach Doug Brocail, catching coordinator Tim Cossins, who served as de facto bench coach, third base/infield coach Jose Flores, major league coach Jose Hernandez and hitting coach Don Long are expected to return, although some roles could change.
Brocail and Hernandez had distinguished major league careers, but Cossins, Flores and Long never played in the majors, although Long was a longtime hitting coach with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
Each of the six Orioles’ minor league managers was in the organization in 2018, but there was heavy turnover among pitching and, especially, hitting coaches.
Only 53-year-old Sean Berry, who played 11 seasons in the majors, has significant major league playing or professional coaching experience.
Berry, who was the Astros’ major league coach before Elias’ arrival in Houston, returns as Triple-A Norfolk’s hitting coach, a position he held from 2015-2017.
Of the other hitting coaches, only Tom Eller, the longtime coach at Harford County Community College, has any professional experience in that job and last season, where he coached at Low-A Delmarva and Short Season Aberdeen, was his first.
Tim Gibbons (Bowie), Ryan Fuller (Delmarva) and Patrick Jones (Gulf Coast) come from private hitting schools. Anthony Villa (Aberdeen) played three seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization and last year with the Texas Rangers as a coach.
The Orioles did keep one veteran pitching coach, Kennie Steenstra, who’s spent 16 years in the organization. He moves up from Double-A Bowie to Norfolk.
Justin Ramsey (Bowie), who is pictured above with Elias, moves up from Delmarva, where he spent 2019 after a career as a college coach. Robbie Aviles replaces Ramsey in Delmarva. He was in Aberdeen last year.
The other pitching coaches are new. Josh Conway (Frederick) was the development coach at Bowie, Joe Haumacher (Aberdeen) was a college coach and Adam Bleday (Gulf Coast) was Frederick’s development coach.
At each level, the Orioles have development and fundamentals coaches, many of them new to professional coaching.
The Orioles made official their hiring of Eve Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old Harvard graduate who comes from the Astros. Rosenbaum will be the team’s first director of baseball development.
As the Orioles describe it: “In this role, she will oversee the alignment of methods across baseball operations, while also enhancing coordination between the scouting, player development, and analytics departments. Rosenbaum is a native of Bethesda, Md., and a Walt Whitman High School graduate, who played four years of softball at Harvard University (Mass.). She joins the Orioles from the Houston Astros organization, where she spent the previous five seasons. During her time with the Astros, she was a Coordinator, International Baseball Operations, a Specialist, International Baseball Operations, and most recently a Manager, International Scouting. Prior to her time with the Astros, Rosenbaum worked for the NFL for two and a half years.”
Overall, Elias’ hires are bold, and it will be fascinating to monitor their progress.
Mancini hosts tailgate: Trey Mancini will host a tailgate to benefit Orioles and Ravens fan Mo Gaba on Sunday. Gaba, a 13-year-old, is grappling with cancer for the fourth time.
The tailgate will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. before the Ravens’ game with the San Francisco 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium. Proceeds will help fund Gaba’s medical treatment.
Fans interested in attending the event, which will be held in the Purple Tailgate Zone, 162 West Ostend Street, can buy tickets online at BMOREAroundTown.com/Events. Tickets start at $50, $25 for children 16-and-under, and include unlimited food and beverages for select items. There will be tailgate games, a commemorative koozie and live music by local country band LoCASH.
There also will be a silent auction and raffles.