The Orioles are making some changes to the structure of their player development department.
Brian Graham, who has served as the Orioles’ coordinator of minor league instruction, will be named director of player development, according to multiple sources. Graham will be responsible for personnel decisions and player movement within the system, among other duties.
Graham couldn’t be reached for comment last night.
In the past, Graham has served as a minor league manager, farm director, major league coach and interim general manager (with the Pirates in September 2007). He’s entering his sixth season in the Orioles’ minor league system. He also was an eye-in-the-sky on former Orioles manager Mike Hargrove’s staff in 2000.
I’ve heard that John Stockstill, the Orioles’ director of player personnel, will be more involved with professional and international scouting. We should have a clearer picture of his responsibilities once the Orioles make the announcement.
The Orioles also will be confirming the hiring of Jonathan Mathews as hitting coach at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
Mathews, the son of former Rockies bullpen coach Rick Mathews, will join new IronBirds manager Matt Merullo.
Jonathan Mathews previously served as a coach at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.
Mathews is one of the many additions to the minor league side of the organization, which include Matt Martin as infield coordinator, Luis Pujols as Single-A Delmarva manager, Justin Lord as Shorebirds pitching coach, Wilson Alvarez as Gulf Coast League Orioles pitching coach and Torre Tyson has Single-A Frederick field coach.
I’ve also mentioned previously that the Orioles hired former Red Sox farm director Kent Qualls as part of their minor league baseball operations staff. He will handle the bulk of the administrative duties.
The internal shuffling includes Orlando Gomez managing the Gulf Coast League team, Ryan Minor moving up one level to manage Frederick, Einar Diaz moving up from Delmarva to Double-A Bowie as field coach, Kennie Steenstra going from Bowie to Frederick as pitching coach and Blaine Beatty going from Frederick to Bowie in the same capacity.
Rick Peterson is expected to return as the Orioles’ director of pitching development.
So, heard any good trade rumors lately? Anyone who’s a logical fit for the Orioles?
Notes: The Orioles still aren’t commenting on former Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens, who reportedly agreed to a one-year deal late last night.
A team official said there’s still more work to do regarding Jurrjens and no announcement is expected today.
To answer a popular question, Jurrjens has minor league options remaining, so he could be sent down and enter Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation.
Also, the Orioles still haven’t signed veteran left-hander Mark Hendrickson to a minor league deal, though they’re in the process of reaching an agreement. There’s little doubt that he will report to camp next month. Manager Buck Showalter wants him there.
And finally, Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports that the Orioles re-signed left-hander Rich Rundles and signed knuckleballer Zach Staniewicz, who joined the Army in 2011.
Here’s what Eddy wrote:
Zach Staniewicz pitched for four seasons at Concordia (N.Y.) College, then spent a couple seasons in the low-level independent leagues, working as both an outfielder and right-hander. He put his baseball ambitions on the back burner to join the Army in ‘11, according to The Examiner, a media outlet based in Hudson Valley, N.Y., but he never stopped trying to master a knuckleball. Staniewicz crossed paths with Orioles GM Dan Duquette while serving in the military, and Duquette reportedly liked the knuckler’s potential enough to give the 26-year-old a tryout and now a minor league contract.
In any other organization, Staniewicz would seem to be the longest of long shots, but Baltimore did resuscitate the careers of Miguel Gonzalez and Lew Ford last year.