While the Orioles attempt to keep another tight lid on their managerial search, more names are seeping through the cracks.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal has confirmed that Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde and Royals quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol are on the list of candidates. Diamondbacks director of player development Mike Bell, younger brother of new Reds manager David Bell, also will interview, according to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons.
The Orioles aren’t commenting on the reports.
None of the confirmed candidates possess ties to the Orioles, which isn’t a real surprise. This is an organization that, while embracing aspects of its past, also is intent on moving forward while constructing its teardown and rebuild.
Hale is the only one in the group with major league managing experience, guiding the Diamondbacks from 2015-16 and compiling a 148-176 record. He’s also managed Triple-A Tucson for three seasons and served as a coach in the Diamondbacks, Mets and Athletics organizations before joining the Nats in November 2017.
Meeting with reporters at today’s Nationals Winterfest, Hale only confirmed his interest in managing the Orioles. He hasn’t been interviewed.
“Let’s just put it this way, there’s 30 jobs, you know? And if you get the opportunity, it’s a blessing,” he said.
“With all the turnover this year, I had not interviewed yet. I have a great job here. I love it. But if you get the opportunity to talk to somebody and meet some new people, it’d be a great opportunity. So, that’s pretty much all I’ll say on that.”
Asked about the appeal of being thrust into a rebuild, Hale replied, “I think that we always talk about rebuild or reboot or whatever you want to call it. For example, I was in Oakland and everyone felt like that was going to be a long, tenuous rebuild, and guess what? They’re in the playoffs. Anywhere I am, whether it’s here or anywhere in baseball, as a manager your job is to work that room and win as many games as you can. So, that’s really the mindset I’ve always had.”
Hale clearly is interested in managing again.
“In the right situation, with the right people, it’s really important,” he said. “I’m blessed here with Davey (Martinez) and Rizz (Mike Rizzo) and the ownership here. They’ve done really good by me. Those opportunities, like I said, are tough to come by and they’re exciting. We’ll see.”
Hyde has managed in the Marlins system from 2005-09 and served as a minor league infield coordinator, director of player development, bench coach and first base coach.
Bell, the son of former major league third baseman and manager and current executive Buddy Bell, was a first-round pick of the Rangers in 1993 and appeared in 19 games with the Reds in 2000. He’s managed and coached in the minors.
Grifol also has worked as Mariners director of minor league operations.
Orioles general manager Mike Elias insists that past managerial experience isn’t a prerequisite for getting the Orioles job, saying at his introduction that “experience, especially good experience, is always attractive in any hiring process. But we’ll see.”
In other words, someone with a background in scouting or player development also is enticing.
Elias was interviewed by MLB Network Radio over the weekend, and he stated that the Orioles will be “active” in free agency, but later in the winter. He repeated that finding a manager and piecing together a coaching staff remain his top priorities, the same order that he laid out Thursday night on the “Orioles Hot Stove” show on 105.7 The Fan.