Mike Elias is still looking for a field manager to lead the Orioles in 2019 and beyond, but to this point, little information has surfaced about potential candidates. Will the Orioles hire someone before the Winter Meetings get underway?
Since being announced as the Orioles new Executive Vice President and GM, Mike Elias has made several notable changes within the front office, most recently this week’s firings of Brian Graham and Gary Rajsich. But while the rebuild in Baltimore is well underway, the Orioles remain the only team in baseball without a field manager.
Similar to how the Orioles kept the details of the GM search under wraps, there hasn’t been much information available regarding how the Orioles have been handling their search for a new manager.
In an interview with 105.7 The Fan on Thursday night, Elias made clear that he’s prioritizing the managerial search at the moment. Elias said, “Step one is getting the manager in place…that’s first and foremost on my agenda right now”. However, Elias didn’t provide a list of potential candidates.
Without mentioning anyone in particular, Elias did say that the Orioles have a great list of names they’ll interview, and that the search is well past “phase one”.
On Saturday night, however, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweeted out two potential names who the Orioles will allegedly interview for the position, giving Orioles fans a small bit of insight into the process.
The two names mentioned in the tweet are Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde.
The other name that has been tossed around recently is Joe Espada, a bench coach for the Astros with ties to Elias and Sig Mejdal.
Hale was an infielder for the Twins and Dodgers from 1989-1997, and he served as the manager of the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders from ’04-’06. After the ’06 season, in which he won the Triple-A Manager of the Year award, Hale became a bench coach for the Diamondbacks where he served until ’09.
After his initial stint with the D’backs, Hale bounced from the Mets, to the A’s, then back to Arizona where he served as the club’s manager in ’15 and ’16. Hale posted a 148-176 record with the D’backs and was fired at the end of the 2016 season.
WATCH MLB ON ESPN+: Get your free 7-day trial of ESPN+
Hale has plenty of experience in major league clubhouses but his track record is a bit erratic and he didn’t have much success in his first managerial stint, whatever that’s worth.
Hyde managed in the Marlins minor league system from ’05-’09 before working for the major league club in a bench coach role in ’10 and ’11. In 2013, Hyde was hired by the Cubs as a bench coach and he’s been in Chicago since.
More from Birds Watcher
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
Hyde doesn’t have any experience managing at the major league level, but he’s spent the past six years working for one of the smarter organizations in baseball, and he’d surely be receptive to any non-traditional methods Elias and Mejdal might want to employ on the field.
Espada was hired by the Marlins in ’06 and served in several roles in the minor leagues, including as a hitting coach, a minor league infield coordinator, and third base coach. In 2014, Espada was hired by the Yankees and worked as a special assistant to General Manager Brian Cashman.
Espada coached for the Yankees from ’14-’16 before becoming a bench for the Astros in 2017. Espada has spent the past two years working in the same organization as Elias and Mejdal, which is likely part of the reason he’s been linked to the open job in Baltimore.
Predicting who Elias and the Orioles will hire is a fools errand, and I won’t do so here. But we’ve finally gotten a few names who’ve been linked to the job, and that’s a start. Whether or not the Orioles find their new manager before the Winter Meetings, which begin December 9th, is to be seen.
The Orioles took their time hiring Elias, and Elias will likely do the same with the managerial search. This is an important decision and Elias is going to make sure it’s treated as such.