Orioles' Hyde discusses starting pitching depth, replacing departed players and his future - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Hyde discusses starting pitching depth, replacing departed players and his future

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Oriole pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Sarasota, Florida on February 16th. The group of starting pitchers manager Brandon Hyde can choose from is likely to be more attractive than those he’s had the past two years.

There are veterans Alex Cobb and John Means. Jorgé Lopez, who was impressive at times, is likely be in the mix. Rule 5 draft picks Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells have to be considered. So will Bruce Zimmermann, who made his debut in September. Some veterans are likely to be added, too.

But the starting candidates who have generated the most buzz are left-hander Keegan Akin and right-hander Dean Kremer and left-hander Keegan Akin, who both pitched creditably late in the season.

“I thought they put themselves in position the way they threw the ball the last four or five starts in the big leagues,” Hyde said in a video conference call on Monday.

“They threw the ball outstanding against playoff clubs. The teams that we were facing, all 60 games, and especially that last month, were teams that were putting the best foot forward to get the best position to be in the playoffs and get a good seed.

“To go against the lineups that Kremer and Akin faced on a nightly basis was really, really impressive with how they handled that. Absolutely, that gave themselves every opportunity to win a starting job next year.”

Hyde would like as many starting candidates as possible.

“The more starters the better in spring training,” he said. “We’ve been pretty fortunate from an injury standpoint here the last couple of years. We just never know what will happen. Eight, nine starters would be fantastic. We’ll get it rolling from here.”

Hyde said that replacing shortstop José Iglesias will be difficult. Iglesias, 30, was traded on December 2nd to the Los Angeles Angels. He led the Orioles in hitting with a .373 average.

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“What Iggy brought last year from a veteran leadership standpoint, he had a great season offensively,” Hyde said.

Iglesias played in only 39 of the Orioles’ 60 games, 22 at shortstop, because of a quadriceps injury.

“I’d have loved to see him play more defensively. His leg wasn’t going to allow him to do that. That mentorship that he brought to the young players in our clubhouse was huge. Players really liked him.”

Second baseman Hanser Alberto, who wasn’t offered a contract shortly after Iglesias was traded, also will be missed.

“The infectious energy that he had, the way he played the game, the way he comes to play every day, it was a pleasure to manage him the last couple of years,” Hyde said.

Designated hitter/infielder Renato Núñez, who hit 43 home runs in 2019 and 2020, was released on November 25th.

“Nunie, with what he brought offensively, the power threat at the plate every single at-bat, the ability to drive the ball out of the ballpark, to take good at-bats against the good pitching that we face, those are going to be big losses,” Hyde said.

“I feel confident in our front office and how they’re constructing our roster. I feel good about the young players who are going to get more at-bats because of losing some of these guys. We’re moving forward with a younger club. We’re excited about the talented level of the guys who are coming through our system.”

Hyde is beginning his third season as Orioles manager. He’d like to be with the team if it becomes a contender.

“I have confidence in myself,” Hyde said. “I’m in this for the long haul. I knew that when I took the job there were going to be some bumpy roads, especially early.

“I’ve been through a rebuilding process before. It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in a couple of years. It takes a while. It takes a while to draft well. It takes a while to get guys through the system, so I was very, very aware when I took the job what the situation was going to be like.

“I felt like I was ready to manage in the big leagues in 2019. I feel even more prepared now.”

Last year had its challenges, including the Covid-19 protocols.

“There are a lot of things that we dealt with that we don’t have to in a normal season,” Hyde said. “I learned that there was going to be something different every day, things that you never had to deal with before, and you do the best you can, and try to lead a group of men the best you can … I thought it was a really productive year even though it was a strange year.”

Promotion schedule: The Orioles are planning a number of bobbleheads in 2021. The Jim Palmer bobblehead will be handed out on July 24th. The Oriole Bird Mascot Hall of Fame bobblehead is the August 7th giveaway.

Among other giveaways is the Baltimore Elite Giants replica cap on May 8th, the annual Floppy Hat on June 4th, the Mr. Trash Wheel Reusable Bottle (July 9th) and the Birdland Hawaiian Shirt (July 10th).

The Orioles’ Kids Cheer Free Plus program has been extended to include children 14-and-under. Information is available at Orioles.com/KidsFreePlus.

A new five-game flex plan is being offered that includes access to Opening Day tickets. Information is available at Orioles.com/Flex.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. BarstoolSleeper

    December 15, 2020 at 7:38 am

    It’s cute that Hyde thinks he’s in this rebuild for the long haul but as soon as there is light at the end of the tunnel, he’s gone. The front office needed an inexperienced “yes man” that can act as manager but there’s no chance he stays with this club when they become competitive. He’s proven nothing as manager with the obscene amount of base running blunders and fielding errors. You can say that the talent isn’t there, but I don’t see that as a valid excuse for the awful decision making by the players on the field. That’s coaching or lack there of.

    • CalsPals

      December 15, 2020 at 12:31 pm

      Just hope the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t an oncoming train…go O’s…

    • 33d St

      December 15, 2020 at 10:04 pm

      In his defense, a little, it’s tough these days. How do you discipline a guy for making mistakes? Can’t bench them. We only have a three-man bench because we need so many pictures nowadays.

      Overall with how they’re coached at early ages to swing for the fences constantly, I think it’s harder to find guys who are baseball savvy but can also hit at the big league level. Realistically, I don’t know how you teach a 26-year-old guy to hit the cut off man or know when to hold up at second base if he doesn’t already know it.

    • CalsPals

      December 16, 2020 at 7:38 am

      Would agree with you 33, with the exception this is what they do for a living, how many times has any baseball fan said “he shoulda hit the cutoff” or “why didn’t he tag up”, baseball IQ today is almost non existent & people are to quick to make excuses, a spade is a spade, accountability, Flores at 3B last yr was bad, should be replaced, has anyone else noticed that when someone gets canned today, management only has nice things to say about them, give everyone a trophy, people need to take a good look at the direction we’re headed athletically & ever day life, can you imagine Lebron James calling out a staff, coach or teammates in 80’s, he would have been let go, Kyrie Irving talking to “pawns”, heaven forbid, by the way the earth is round…go O’s…

  2. Orial

    December 15, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Kind of agree with Barstool about Hyde’s tenure but he’ll be here a while. Baserunning blunders are more of mark on the individual players in my opinion. You’ll notice that the culprits of these blunders(Villar,Stevie,Alberto,Smith Jr,etc.)are now gone. Telling statement how much kudos is given Iglesias BUT at the same time emphasizing his inability to stay on the field. Yeah that’s why he’s gone. If they want to go after a cheap FA starter that’s fine but the above mentioned names may just be adequate enough to go to camp with.

  3. CalsPals

    December 15, 2020 at 8:37 am

    I feel confident in our front office & how they’re constructing our roster, of course you say that, I surely wouldn’t feel confident in the front office, I liked some of the moves they made, definitely some head scratchers, but what they’ve done the last month boggles my mind…oh well…Adley can’t get here quick enough, w/ the rest of the youngens, they would be more fun to watch come together as a young group, & not sure how you can call them a young group w/CD hanging overhead…yikes…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 15, 2020 at 9:20 am

      Ray, just five of the players on the 40-man roster are older than 28: Davis, Cobb, Armstrong, Sulser and Valdez. That qualifies as very young.

    • CalsPals

      December 15, 2020 at 12:26 pm

      Tomatoes or toematoes, CD is old…go O’s…

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 15, 2020 at 9:24 am

    I have a lot of questions regarding Hyde. He does seem to the a ‘yes’ man. I don’t remember specifics, but I can remember questioning more than a few of his in game decisions. And frankly, the way he’s used Sisco up to this point has been absolutely terrible…but then again, that may not be him making that call. I’ll wait to see what happens this year before making any judgement on Hyde. (not that any judgement made by me matters)

    • 33d St

      December 15, 2020 at 10:09 pm

      I kind of had the same impression. That some of the things that seem like mistakes may have had other reasons. He did say in one interview about a decision he made, something like they wanted to look at guys and how they would do in certain situations. I think specifically it was in reference to not pulling a pitcher out of a game but seeing if he could learn to work out of a jam.

      If that’s the case I’m all for it. Because these pitchers do need to learn how to get out of their own mess. It shouldn’t be good enough to go out there and pitch 2/3 of an inning, load the bases, and expect another guy to bail you out. That’s how we end up with seven relievers a game.

    • CalsPals

      December 16, 2020 at 7:41 am

      Agree, but he pampered Harvey & never let him pitch his way out of jams, he does whatever Mikey tells him to do, nothing more or less…go O’s…

  5. Bancells Moustache

    December 15, 2020 at 9:28 am

    In the “petty things to complain about because it’s cold” department: The Floppy hat. It’s no longer a fisherman-style floppy hat, but rather a much wider brimmed sun hat, better suited for ladies. I do not like this. I will now go back to demanding Bob Cratchet wok harder for less pay and await the three ghosts of Christmas visiting me, good day to you gentlemen.

  6. Tony Paparella

    December 15, 2020 at 10:23 am

    Seems like they have plenty of candidates for the rotation but at this point really none they can absolutely count on at this juncture, maybe outside of Means.Thus they keep piling on into the picture with rule 5’s and the hint of maybe bringing in a veteran guy also.Hopefully Akin and Kremer advance and adjust quickly enough to ascertain themselves a spot and not go on the in and out train being used all over the place.Iglesias is a loss only if he was to duplicate last year and for a bigger duration of the schedule.No doubt his defense will be missed but others in the scheme are capable albeit not much punch in their bats.As far as Hyde as manager not sure you can get the full perspective of him with the ups and downs of the way this rebuild is panning out.Guys are being left in or brought in to pitch or put in the lineup at certain times to see what they are capable of in the evaluating process.To the average fan sometimes the decisions are confusing but may otherwise (the decisions) be different if there was a set line up per se.Some of the player blunders have looked inexcusable to me and to put that all on Hydes shoulders with all he has to deal with may be unfair.You have a coaching staff you have to confide in and trust and at certain times in my opinion they let the team down. Business around the third base bag this year was atrocious at times for lack of a better word.So all in all the front office evaluation will determine Hydes longevity with the organization as they are the ones that are or at least should be on top of the situation.I do understand the concern when some decisions are being made but as I say is there maybe an ulterior motive on a lot of them?So not sure Hyde has full control of the process and this conversation is certainly to be continued.

  7. dlgruber1

    December 15, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    Managing a team of good players might actually be more difficult than managing a team rebuilding. During a rebuild players are, in my opinion, playing harder to earn their spot on the team and their playing time. I believe most of the baserunning mistakes and even a lot of the errors were made by players simply trying to do too much. In my opinion I’d MUCH rather see a guy thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double or trying to go from 1st to 3rd than watching a guy hit a ball off the wall and get a single out of it. As much as I miss Manny’s talents there’s a reason he’s probably my alltime least favorite player ever to wear an O’s uniform and I’m 61 years old. Hyde’s job right now is to manage what he’s got to the best of his abilities and so far I’m happy with what he’s done. As he gets more talented players it’ll be amazing how much better a manager people will say he is.

    • Kjbsball

      December 15, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      Long time reader, first time commenter. Could not agree with you more on every point you made. Especially about Manny. Good post.

    • dlgruber1

      December 16, 2020 at 12:21 am

      Kjbsball, I appreciate your comment and glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about Manny. The fact that Manny did that exact thing in a WORLD SERIES game is all anyone needs to know about him. Give me a team full of JJ Hardy’s and let someone else have a team of Manny’s and my team will whip their ass regularly.

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