ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette stressed again today that the club will “reload” over the winter and avoid a total rebuild after finishing below .500 for the first time since 2011.
Duquette said the rotation must be rebuilt and he’ll search for a left-handed starter, which seemed to indicate that the Orioles wouldn’t pick up Wade Miley’s $12 million option. However, Duquette didn’t offer confirmation while meeting with the traveling beat writers.
Duquette also said the coaching staff will be reevaluated. Manager Buck Showalter stated earlier in the day that he hoped to have everyone back next season.
Showalter scoffed at reports that he’s a candidate for the Phillies managerial job, saying that he has one more year left on his contract.
Orioles head athletic trainer Richie Bancells is retiring after 41 seasons in the organization and 34 at the major league level. He wants to spend more time with his family.
“It just kind of came on as the year went on,” he said. “You wake up one day and you realize it’s time when you’re kind of tired, and tired of being tired is the way I’d put it. It’s a combination of a lot of things, both professionally and personally. I have seven grandchildren now and I just want to be around them more and those kinds of things.”
Bancells said it’s too early for him to sift through all of the memories and rank them in importance. I’m pretty sure Cal Ripken Jr. will be a big part of them, considering Bancells’ role in keeping The Streak alive.
“I don’t know if right now I can, but I’m sure at some point on the road I’ll look back on it,” Bancells said. “There were just a lot of great moments, whether it was postseason stuff. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with so many good, good players, some of them in the Hall of Fame. It’s just hard to pinpoint one or two things after all these years, but it’s just been a great time.”
Bancells appreciates how fans have embraced him over the years despite his behind-the-scenes work and efforts to avoid the spotlight unless needed on the field.
“It makes you feel good. It does,” he said. “It makes you know that they’re really true fans if they know who I am. And I actually have had the opportunity to help them. At times, they’ve asked me for advice and I’ve helped them with things, and I’ve always enjoyed doing that. It touches you. It really does touch you.”
So what will Bancells do with his free time?
“Pretty much anything I want to do,” he said, smiling. “This has become pretty much a 24/7 year-round job. And that’s the thing, it’s realizing that you’re being dragged a little bit further from your family. And as I said, all of our kids are grown and they have spouses and I have seven beautiful grandchildren, and I’m really anxious to spend time with them and do things and go places with my wife Carol that I haven’t had the chance to do.”
The Orioles will consider in-house candidates to replace Bancells.