Elias continues to reshape Orioles' organization; Finding room for players on 60-day injured list - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias continues to reshape Orioles’ organization; Finding room for players on 60-day injured list

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Nearly three years into his term as Orioles executive vice president/general manager, Mike Elias continues to reshape the organization.

Monday’s news that hitting coach Don Long was fired shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Long’s departure and the reassignment of his assistant, José Hernández, leave manager Brandon Hyde with just one coach, Tim Cossins, from his original staff. Cossins is the major league field coordinator and catching coach.

Elias replaced pitching coach Doug Brocail after the 2020 season, bullpen coach John Wasdin after 2019, and base coaches Arnie Beyeler (first, after 2019), and José Flores (third, after 2020).

Long, who has extensive major league experience with the Orioles, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, will try to take his talents elsewhere, and Oriole hitters will get accustomed to a new voice.

One candidate could be Anthony Iapoce, who is expected to leave the Chicago Cubs, according to Robert Murray of FanSided. Iapoce worked with Hyde when both were in player development for the Cubs.

The news that Triple-A Norfolk manager Gary Kendall was leaving the organization wasn’t as big as Long’s departure, but it is significant.

Kendall had managed in the minor leagues for the Orioles since 2004, through four administrations and six major league managers. He’s well thought of throughout the game but, at 58, knows that it might be difficult to get another position because of the consolidation of the minor leagues before this season.

A lifelong Marylander, Kendall had strong Baltimore credentials — coach for Baltimore City Community College and Towson University, batting practice pitcher and scout for the team and, except for four years (1996-1999) with San Diego, had worked exclusively with the Orioles.

Before he became manager of the Bluefield Orioles in 2004, Kendall was a coach for Bluefield and Aberdeen for three seasons. He spent a year at Bluefield, three at Delmarva, three at Aberdeen before starting an eight-year run with Bowie. Since 2019, he had managed Norfolk.

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The dismissals on Monday included another minor league manager, former Orioles reliever and bullpen coach Alan Mills, Norfolk pitching coach Kennie Steenstra, strength and conditioning coaches Joe Hogarty and Ryo Naito, and equipment manager Chris Guth.

There are few people remaining in the baseball operations department who preceded Elias’ arrival. However, all the minor league managers in 2021 were holdovers.

Buck Britton, who could succeed Kendall at Norfolk, was at Bowie; Kyle Moore, Aberdeen; Dave Anderson, Delmarva; and Kevin Bradshaw, who managed the Florida Complex League teams with Mills, were in the organization before Elias.

This past season, the Orioles had two Florida Complex League teams, and it’s unknown whether there will be two in 2022.

Bowie pitching coach Justin Ramsey, who has received praise for his work at Delmarva in 2019 and Bowie this past year, could be a candidate to succeed Steenstra.

Roster decisions: The construction of the 40-man roster during the offseason will be interesting, and probably ongoing.

After a season with relatively few injuries, the Orioles ended the season with 12 players on the injured list, seven on the 60-day injured list.

Starting pitcher Matt Harvey will be a free agent, but there’s still pitchers Keegan Akin, Hunter Harvey, Travis Lakins and Jorge López, infielder Jorge Mateo and outfielder DJ Stewart.

Harvey and Fernando Abad, who finished the season as the only left-hander in the bullpen, are the two free agents, though some of the players on the 40-man roster could opt for free agency if they pass through waivers.

With the retirement of Chris Davis, the Orioles have no players under contract for next season and eight players eligible for arbitration: first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini; outfielder Anthony Santander; catcher Pedro Severino; infielder Pat Valaika; and pitchers John Means, Paul Fry, Tanner Scott and López.

Mancini, Means and Santander will be offered arbitration, but the Orioles will have decisions to make on Fry, López and Scott.

López struggled as a starter but thrived in the bullpen. Fry and Scott struggled in the bullpen. Fry ended the season at Norfolk, and Scott finished it on the 10-day injured list because of a knee injury.

It seems unlikely that Severino, who made $1.82 million this year, will be back. Valaika was signed to a split contract that paid him $875,000 while he was in the majors and $300,000 in the minors, and he seems unlikely to return as well.

The Orioles have first claim on American League players placed on waivers. The Tampa Bay Rays, with the best record in the league, have 13 pitchers on the 60-day injured list and the Orioles could claim some of those.

Call for questions: I’ll be answering your Orioles questions this week. Please leave them in the comment box or email them to: [email protected]

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

 

27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    October 6, 2021 at 7:41 am

    #BringBackSeverino make it trend!

    I’ve had upteem screen names but now use HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat exclusively and I love using the word exclusively frequently, almost exclusively…

    • CalsPals

      October 6, 2021 at 8:09 am

      It’s umpteen…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 6, 2021 at 9:22 pm

        LOL

        He’s just so perfect with his words and opinions, ya know?

  2. jimcarter

    October 6, 2021 at 7:57 am

    Ousting that equipment manager is bound to have a positive, rippling effect throughout the organization.

    • CalsPals

      October 6, 2021 at 8:11 am

      Agree, thought the same thing, maybe he was selling O’s jerseys on eBay…lol…go O’s…

    • Birdman

      October 6, 2021 at 8:54 am

      Maybe ownership found someone willing to do the job for minimum wage.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 6, 2021 at 10:39 am

      Ooooh JimmyC ….you made me laugh so hard … thank you!

    • Jim Considine

      October 6, 2021 at 4:15 pm

      Speaking of equipment, has anyone noticed how many players tear their pants while sliding. The broadcasters do not mention it as it it was a matter of good taste.

  3. Orial

    October 6, 2021 at 8:20 am

    All these moves so far seem irrelevant and nothing but perception(“see we’re angry and we’re making moves”). Now the 40 man roster that’s a whole different story. Heard during game broadcast last night –Yankees aquire Holmes from Pittsburgh where he struggled mightily,tweaked his arm angle,ditched the curve ball,and voila-he’s lights out/unhittable. My point—it CAN be done,now DO IT O’s!!

    • 33d St

      October 6, 2021 at 11:47 am

      They’ve had three years to show us what they can do to improve pitchers at the major league level. Having the third worst team ERA of any major league team in the last 75 years should answer any questions about their ability in that regard.

  4. Orioles20

    October 6, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Stewart needs to go. That’ll open a spot for Stowers when he’s ready. Hunter Harvey needs to go to. He can’t be relied on. Availability is the best ability. He’s barely pitched in three years. That’s two spots. Is Lakins even going to be ready for the start of next year? Severino is not worth what he’ll be paid in arbitration. Particularly with Adley up some point next year.

    • Icterus fan

      October 6, 2021 at 9:02 am

      Bet they keep both Stewart and Hunter Harvey. One last attempt at greatness.
      I am wondering what will happen with Diaz, too.
      Who’s Rutschman’s backup for 2022, assuming he makes the club out of spring training?
      Hopefully Wynns and not Severino.

    • NormOs

      October 7, 2021 at 5:09 pm

      The problem is, if Harvey is OK he’s already a hell of a lot better then anybody in this horrible bullpen with the exception IMHO, of Lopez and Wells.

  5. Lankyrat

    October 6, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Is it foolish to hope for a back up catcher with a stronger batting average than Wynn’s to be picked up by the organization? I am fairly new to baseball and would not mind someone explaining to me what makes Wynn’s valuable other than his salary and having good character or professionalism. Thanks.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 6, 2021 at 9:35 am

      I will answer this one in the upcoming mailbag, rat.

  6. 33d St

    October 6, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Makes sense. Orioles just turned in the third worst team ERA in 75 years.

    It’s that darn Long who nearly cost us the first pick by presiding over 3-4 competent major league hitters who won us a few games.

    Elias is serious about his tanking and any minuscule amount of competence will not be tolerated. Hopefully we can hire Mario Mendoza as hitting coach and give him a 10 year deal. If we can cut our runs scores by half, we can go on a run of 35 win seasons that’ll turn our minor league

    • 33d St

      October 6, 2021 at 9:55 am

      .. system into the toast of baseball!

  7. willmiranda

    October 6, 2021 at 9:56 am

    I love the line “Oriole hitters will get accustomed to a new voice.” But will they hit any better? Next year, it will be interesting to watch how hitters who did well this year –like Mullins and Mountcastle– fare under their new tutor. More generally, the expression seems like one of resignation, that these changes will make no difference. There was mention of “reshaping,” but do these slashes indicate any emerging recognizable “shape”? There’s a difference between lopping and pruning, and this seems like the former.

  8. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 6, 2021 at 11:06 am

    I find a couple of these moves with the coaches kind of ironic if not outright funny …

    1. Elias fires Don Long. A guy with the perfect name for a hitting coach no less, and Chris Holt is still around? Uh yeah .That makes sense.
    2. Elias retains catching coach Tim Cossins for the stellar work he’s done with Severino behind the dish? Classic.
    3. This one really chaps my buns … Elias fires the baddest-ass relief pitcher in Bal’more Orioles history in Alan Mills? Who’s supposed to teach the right cross now?

    And poor Brandon Hyde continues to play the part of the cuckold.

    • jimcarter

      October 6, 2021 at 11:54 am

      #2 crossed my mind as I read the article. I’m sure #1 crossed EVERYONE’S mind.

    • Jeff L

      October 6, 2021 at 2:07 pm

      Elias has done his job. To me it looks like he is now at the crossroads that one Andy MacPhail found himself at. Trying to convince an agent of a #1 or #2 still in his prime to convince his client that Baltimore is a Hall of Fame type career move. If MacPhail, with all his family lineage/ties to the game couldn’t do it, who can? Again, Elias has done his job…and just like MacPhail… well enough to move on to another organization. Oh, and just like MacPhail did with Samuel, take Hyde along with him. We need a decent starting pitcher or 2 still in his/their prime to anchor the staff via trade or free agency, along with Means, so to take unnecessary performance pressure off our young guns. Good luck Mr. Elias. And best wishes.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 6, 2021 at 4:28 pm

      Jeff, your timeline isn’t quite correct. MacPhail left in October 2011, just when the team was set up to win. He didn’t go to the Phillies until June 2015, and Juan Samuel, who never managed the Phillies, arrived immediately after he left the Orioles.

  9. mstrchef13

    October 6, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Any chance the O’s could bring Mike Griffin back? He seemed to have success at Norfolk and I often thought he should have been named pitching coach in Baltimore in the mid 2010’s.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 6, 2021 at 4:29 pm

      I wouldn’t expect that.

  10. dlgruber1

    October 6, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    If I were Nicole Sherry I’d have my resume updated.

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