Orioles fire hitting coach Don Long, Norfolk manager Gary Kendall - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles fire hitting coach Don Long, Norfolk manager Gary Kendall

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

After a 110-loss season, the Orioles have started to make changes to their coaching staff. Don Long, who was their hitting coach for the past three seasons, has been fired. José Hernández, their assistant hitting coach for the past two seasons, is being reassigned.

Gary Kendall, manager of Triple-A Norfolk since 2019, also has been fired along with Norfolk pitching coach Kennie Steenstra. The Orioles also fired former relief pitcher Alan Mills, who was the manager of one of the Orioles’ Florida Complex League teams. Mills was the Orioles’ bullpen coach in 2017 and 2018.

The news was first reported by MASNSports.com and confirmed by an industry source.

Long and Hernández were part of manager Brandon Hyde’s original staff. In 2019, Hernández held the title of major league coach, which now belongs to Fredi González.

The Orioles hit .239 in 2021, 10th in the American League, and finished in the lower third in most major hitting categories.

Long, who was previously the hitting coach for Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, was singled out for praise by Trey Mancini earlier this season.

The other coaches, including González and Tim Cossins, the major league field coordinator and catching coach and the only other remaining holdover from Hyde’s original staff, are expected to return, though some roles could change.

González joined the staff in 2020. Pitching coach Chris Holt, who also doubles as the team’s director of pitching, finished his first season with the major league team this season. Assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes and first base coach Anthony Sanders completed their second season, and third base coach Tony Mansolino, who doubles as infield coordinator, just finished his first season with the club.

Kendall, a native Baltimorean,] who had managed in the minor league system since 2004, had managed Double-A Bowie for eight seasons, including their Eastern League championship team in 2015 before his promotion to Norfolk in 2019.

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It’s possible that Buck Britton, who was the winner of the team’s Cal Ripken Sr. Award for organizational development and the manager of Bowie since 2019, will succeed Kendall at Norfolk.

Call for questions: We’ll have our first offseason mailbag next week. Please put your questions in the comment box below or email them to: [email protected]

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

45 Comments

45 Comments

  1. willmiranda

    October 4, 2021 at 8:38 pm

    After everyone agreeing that pitching was the worst aspect of the team, management fires the hitting coach. What happened with Alan Mills? He did a great job with the GCL O’s in 2019, his first year.

    • Icterus fan

      October 4, 2021 at 8:54 pm

      Holt seems untouchable. He’s got some kind of guru analytic complex thing going on.
      I don’t know his pedigree or degree of prior success, but he sure has management’s trust, or so it appears.
      Maybe he’s got the moxie; time will tell. I sure hope so.

  2. Birdman

    October 4, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    Although Orioles hitting was very inconsistent, it was nowhere as bad as the performance of the pitching staff. There were at least a few Orioles hitters who progressed this season (Mullins, Mountcastle, Hays, Urias). But can anyone name a single member of the pitching staff who made significant progress this year?

    So it seems a little strange that the hitting coach is jettisoned, while the pitching coach remains (at least for now) … and, speaking of pitching coaches, we’ve never really received a logical explanation for the firing of Doug Brocail.

  3. TxBirdFan

    October 4, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    Kendall’s firing seems odd to me as well, unless they are just clearing the deck for Britton. His only fault is he’s been with the team for a long time, even winning a division championship at Bowie. I can’t imagine how tough it is to manage a club when practically your entire roster turns over during the season.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 4, 2021 at 10:06 pm

    The buck stops where???

  5. Bman

    October 4, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    They need to clean house at Norfolk. A lot of rotating talent who all underperformed in the extreme. Doesn’t seem to have same problem at Delmarva, Aberdeen or Bowie. Norfolk should have performed much better even with the rotating door.

  6. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 4, 2021 at 10:08 pm

    I’m guessing that Mr Long failed to tell the boys to keep their heads down on the ball.

  7. Buzz1979

    October 4, 2021 at 10:45 pm

    I can’t believe there are people worried about room on the 40 man roster. There is probably 10 pitchers alone that can be pruned!

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      October 5, 2021 at 7:36 am

      Maybe list the 10 pitchers that can be pruned in your next post, along with who will replace them. Do you know how many O’s minor leaguers will be eligible for the Rule 5 draft first time this December?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 5, 2021 at 8:44 am

        Maybe you post something of our own for a change. I’ve got an idea .. how about some inane statistics?

      • Winchester

        October 5, 2021 at 3:02 pm

        Very arrogant post- uncalled for!!!

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2021 at 10:27 am

      Lol;)…go O’s…

  8. CalsPals

    October 5, 2021 at 7:14 am

    Hyde is watching the progression of Buck, next year Norfolk then with the varsity…go O’s…

  9. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    October 5, 2021 at 7:37 am

    Thanks for the informative post Rich! Good to see the O’s are rocking the boat amongst their coaches and managers…hope they make good hiring decisions to fill these vacancies.

  10. sportscoper

    October 5, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Hyde’s original coaching staff just about gone; the manager is now the sitting duck. Meanwhile the only positives from 2021 are products of the old regime while Elias puts his finger prints all over the organization. But can’t say he didn’t warn us. This rebuild is behind schedule — and as soon as Adley and Grayson reach the big league’s the rating of the farm system takes a nosedive.

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2021 at 8:39 am

      Agree about the milb teams & I’m ok with that…we don’t have any Norfolk or Bowie stuff in our home, but we have plenty of O’s stuff…go O’s…

  11. Baltimore Castaway

    October 5, 2021 at 8:47 am

    Two truths here;

    1- Advanced analytics is a very precise and difficult discipline to learn and to teach, most baseball “lifers” don’t make the turn…it is a sad reality.

    2- Elias and Company are fully committed and determined to point the Orioles Ship in the right direction. You gotta hand it to them….others have tried–this guy is prevailing… a great thing for the future of this team…

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2021 at 9:14 am

      Prevailing at what? Minors look good, varsity horrific, he needs some kind of balance, he MAY prevail in the long run, but it’ll be awhile before any claim like that could be made…real strong in one area but not so much in another…go O’s…

      • Baltimore Castaway

        October 5, 2021 at 11:41 am

        CP,

        Elias has taken on a heroic effort here. He inherited a complete RABBLE of a franchise…this rebuilt os not complete. It takes a long time to unseat the status-quo and keepers of mediocrity in a rebuild. People like Showalter, Duquette, Anderson, Surhoff, Mr Angelos himself, the Minor League Coaching Staff, all the Scouts and Coaches. Plus no tools, Systems, Analytics Staff, No International Scouting Development Staff, much less daily presence in those markets….

        This was the single worse team in the game….not even close…

        You may choose to ignore these facts but facts they are…

        We are very very lucky to have him here and I am glad he is doing the very hard work to turn things around for the long term success of Orioles Baseball.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          October 5, 2021 at 2:22 pm

          HEROIC? Did you say HEROIC? C’mon BC…you’re better than that.

          The very last adjective I’d use for Elias’ effort here is “heroic”. The very last adjective I’d use for Elias for that matter is”heroic”. He’s a sellout. He’s sold out the team, the fans and the city of Baltimore in order to pick the very lowest of low lying fruit. He’s a snake in the grass skirting the rules and ethics of the game.

          Would you want to work for this guy? How must the players and coaches and staff feel about being left hanging in the loserville wind he’s hung them out in? Maybe if your name is Ramon Urias or any of the other AAA players he’s dug up appreciate him but that’s different. What do you think Hyde thinks of the hand he’s ben dealt by Elias? He’ll most likely never get another shot at managing after this con-job Elias has laid on us.

          What’s so F’in heroic about losing by design?

        • OriolesNumber1Fan

          October 5, 2021 at 4:13 pm

          BC – I totally agree with you on Elias and his heroic task of turning around the WHOLE organization from top to bottom!!! Some posters have their blinders on and only see what’s being done at the Major League level. You and I SEE THE BIG PICTURE. You and I KNOW that this organization was historically behind in the overseas market because THEY HAD NO OVERSEAS MARKET and with regards to the analytics department, the Orioles HAD NO ANALYTICS DEPARTMENT!!! And the minor leagues NEVER, and I mean NEVER, had the number 1 farm system ranking prior to him taking charge. They were always sitting in mid to high 20’s as far as their minor league ranking before Elias took over!!! THAT”S AN HEROIC TASK COMPLETION RIGHT THERE!!! The days of trading away Cy Young award winner Jake Arrietta and getting a rental back ARE OVER!!! And thanks God for this!!!
          And as far as the draft is concerned, this system has been in place for over 50 years. This same system works the same way in the NFL, NHL and other sports as well. The NBA has a slight variation where the three worst teams are in the ping pong lottery. The new CBA could change this process. My recommendation would be to NOT take away draft picks from the bottom 5 teams for any free agent signing. Then you could see some of this process take a shorter period of time to do a FULL REBUILD. When a team needs to have a FULL REBUILD like the Orioles needed then this process takes time. Anyone that doesn’t like this process can cry until they’re blue in the face BUT it doesn’t change anything. And if posters don’t like or accept this process then they can jump ship and become a front-runner someplace else!!!

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            October 5, 2021 at 4:35 pm

            Tanking = Heroism. You heard it from Onsey.

          • OriolesNumber1Fan

            October 5, 2021 at 6:39 pm

            The only one mentioning “tank” is you and your ignorance to the facts!!! Mike Elias doesn’t give a rats azz where he picks in the draft!!! THE SYSTEM DICTATES WHERE TEAMS PICK IN THE DRAFT!!! ITS BEEN THIS WAY FOR OVER 50 YEARS!!! Pick up a book!!! He has picked several good players in the later rounds. So, crybabies will cry. So, keep crying.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            October 5, 2021 at 7:51 pm

            Please use more exclamation points.

          • OriolesNumber1Fan

            October 5, 2021 at 8:45 pm

            Keep crying!!! Crybaby.

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2021 at 11:50 am

      I like the way other franchises don’t forget about their MLB team during the rebuild, that’s my biggest gripe, NO EFFORT the last two yrs to win with the varsity club, I’d also like some transparency, if all their money has gone into the international market, say that but don’t forget you have facilities & a team in Baltimore…go O’s…

      • Baltimore Castaway

        October 5, 2021 at 11:55 am

        The transparency is not on Elias to provide….that’s on the Brothers….they are the Owners….

        • OriolesNumber1Fan

          October 5, 2021 at 7:21 pm

          Mike Elias has been up front on everything he would do from the start!!! He stated several times that this was a full rebuild and this would take time.
          The system will not allow teams to payout big $$$ on free agents without paying for it by losing draft picks. If they should implement my plan I mentioned several times and not punish the 5 worst record teams by losing any draft picks, then these teams could basically turn around a franchise way quicker. These teams would have an exclusive 3 week window on picking up to 5 free agent players they would like to sign before all players become free agents. Then the free agent players could opt out of this within 3 days if they should want to. These teams could basically sign any 5 players with no loss of any draft picks for up to say 6 -7 years max with no limit on dollar amount. If any free agent player does opt out of this 3 week window then they can sign with any other team remaining for any amount but only for 3-4 years.

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2021 at 12:10 pm

      Didn’t say who needed to provide it, but someone should…go O’s…

      • Baltimore Castaway

        October 5, 2021 at 12:55 pm

        CP,

        You are pointing to an important fact here… all of the people on this Board pretty-much want the same thing–a winning team to root for and be proud of. This team has been short on some important intangibles for quite some time… I believe that we will eventually see this at some point….my hope is that it happens while they are still in Baltimore…

        There remains a chance that the Brothers will sell the team once things resolve themselves in other areas.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          October 5, 2021 at 4:37 pm

          Now that I agree with.

    • CalsPals

      October 5, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      Really would have no problem with them selling to people who’d have no problem investing in a major league team & keeping them in Baltimore…go O’s…

    • Winchester

      October 5, 2021 at 3:07 pm

      Are you saying that Hyde is adept at “analytics “?
      If so, analytics isn’t worth much, looking at 2021 results!

    • CalsPals

      October 6, 2021 at 7:31 am

      What Trey did was heroic, Mikeys just doing his interpretation of his job….go O’s…

  12. willmiranda

    October 5, 2021 at 10:26 am

    Some useful idiots outside the organization say the O’s have the best collective farm in the world, so ME & Co. fire the manager of the top team. How Bolsheviki is that? Revolutionary ideologues take over an empire on the downswing with an ailing czar, promising to bring paradise. They have a Plan, too smart for the masses to comprehend, that is always five years from being completed. When The Plan doesn’t seem to be advancing –e.g., charging forward from 110 losses to 110 losses– heads must roll because there can be no fault with The Plan. Better to label random people as reactionaries and fire them indiscriminately; keeping proles fearful and uncertain tightens control by the commissars. Great fun until you realize that the lives and livelihoods of real people –from white collars to groundskeepers, from players to concessionaires– are being ruined to no apparent end. Endless patience is demanded of the masses, while the masters show none to their scapegoats.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      October 5, 2021 at 11:16 am

      Well Mr Miranda, where to begin….

      Agree w some of your assessment here… agree that they do not have the best Farm System in MLB, they still need (a lot) more impact talent in the system. Not processing your references to Russian Revolutionaries..unless you’re saying that the rebuild is behind plan and that heads will roll to distract the fanbase.

      Your point about real people losing their jobs and careers is very true…and sad…Baseball is a very very cruel sport in many respects.

      • willmiranda

        October 5, 2021 at 12:07 pm

        Your response to the cruelty seems to be a riff on “you have to break eggs to make an omelet,” which suits my analogy. I disagree that all the cruelty can be attributed to some impersonal “baseball.” In the concrete, the suffering is the result of free decisions made by human beings, not by any power of fate or necessity of nature. I think the burden of proof is on the people practicing the cruelty to demonstrate why it was justifiable. Other people or organizations would make different decisions and “baseball” would survive.
        As for the Russian Revolution, it seems to me the O’s were in a shambles like the Russian Empire when the new geniuses came on the scene to remake everything according to their own ideology and impose it dictatorially, without regard for actual results and without regard for who gets hurt. Thus, the reference to omelets.

        • Birdman

          October 5, 2021 at 5:19 pm

          So are you equating the Angelos family with the corrupt and incompetent Romanovs of Czarist Russia?

          • willmiranda

            October 5, 2021 at 8:38 pm

            First, an analogy is not an equation, but a remarking of significant similarities in two situations. In this case, that both organizations were on a down cycle and ripe for takeovers or at least new leadership. Second, as you well know, the Romanov Family are considered martyrs and saints by the Orthodox Church; so I would not share your characterization of them. Third, I find it highly unlikely that Lenin, for example, would have gone to Nicholas, begging for a job. Analogy, yes; identity, no.

  13. jimcarter

    October 5, 2021 at 11:54 am

    I don’t know why anyone would want to be on this staff. Look at how many pitching coaches have been through the door since 2010. That door is definitely of the revolving type. I still see no signs of “building”. It’s just a continuous tear down.

    • Winchester

      October 5, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      Not building?Not true-we have Tom Eschelman, DJ Steward, Pat Valaika, Ritchie Martin….

  14. Mikepete73

    October 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    glad to see the pitching coach at aaa go but the orioles need to fire their pitching coach not just the hitting coach. that many “prospects” don’t have horrible years without something fundamentally wrong.

  15. BirdsCaps

    October 5, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    It’s a shame to see Kendall fired. he’s one of the nicest people you will meet in the minors.

  16. 33d St

    October 5, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Three YEARS into the “rebuild” and the O’s turn in the 3rd worst team ERA of any team in the last 75 years of Major League Baseball.

    As for the “#1” minor league system, check the minor league standings. Then take a peek at whose affiliates finished ahead of the O’s affiliates. The “ #1” thing is pretty hard to support when you see Tampa’s affiliates finishing miles ahead and the Yankees and Red Sox affiliates typically better as well.

    Fans are dorking out over Adley and Rodriguez like there’s some great day ahead. Add those two to the 3 good players we have now and we’ll have 5 good players. Only one of whom is a pitcher. Yay.

  17. jason Diaz

    October 13, 2021 at 4:24 am

    Get your appearance up a notch with this beautifully designed Stumptown S02 Dex Parios Red Biker Leather Jacket.

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