New Orioles manager Brandon Hyde checked with the Cubs, his most recent employer, to gauge the availability of their coaches and minor league personnel as he scrambled to assemble a staff in Baltimore.
He’s succeeded in prying away one member of the organization.
Tim Cossins is joining the Orioles with the responsibility of working with the catchers, per an industry source. His exact title isn’t known, but he’s going to be one of the coaches under Hyde.
Former bench coach John Russell had the responsibility of serving as catching instructor under manager Buck Showalter before his contract expired on Oct. 31.
Cossins has been working as the Cubs minor league field and catching coordinator and is regarded as an important contributor in player development, the type of background that is attractive to the new regime, including executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.
Nova Southeastern University baseball coach Greg Brown praised Cossins in a tweet earlier this year for being “the best catching instructor around.”
Cossins, 48, joined the Cubs organization six years ago after working for the Marlins, where Hyde served as a minor league manager and member of the major league staff. Cossins had served as Miami’s minor league catching coordinator since 2007 after managing for five seasons in the farm system. He was described as a “guru” and a “wizard at teaching proper fundamentals and game-calling” in a 2012 South Florida Sun Sentinel article.
Cossins replaced Hyde in Chicago as minor league field coordinator, with the latter promoted to director of player development. The Orioles hired Hyde as the 20th manager in club history earlier this month.
The Rangers drafted Cossins in the 16th round in 1993 out of the University of Oklahoma. The Sonoma, Calif., native never reached the majors as a player, spending seven years in the minors, primarily as a catcher.
Cossins’ final season as a player came in 2000 with Sonoma County in the independent Western League. He was a career .215/.274/.324 hitter in the minors.
Other coaching contracts that expired in Baltimore on Oct. 31 included the ones belonging to pitching coach Roger McDowell, first base coach Wayne Kirby and third base coach Bobby Dickerson. As I’ve written previously, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh landed a job as hitting coach at Triple-A Oklahoma City, extra coach Einar Díaz has been hired as a fourth coach at Triple-A Gwinnett and bullpen coach Alan Mills and assistant hitting coach Howie Clark were given minor league contracts to remain in the organization.
Hyde said he’s reached out to every member of the 2018 coaching staff, speaking to them over the phone or leaving messages. Russell, McDowell, Kirby and Dickerson haven’t latched on with a new team.
Former Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey remains available and figures to be a consideration for Hyde.
Multiple sources confirmed that Orioles minor league pitching coordinator John Wasdin has been offered the job as bullpen coach. Chris Holt came over from the Astros organization to replace Wasdin.
The Athletic Chicago first reported Cossins’ hiring by the Orioles.
Update: Phillies first base coach and infield/baserunning instructor José Flores also will join Hyde’s staff.
Flores spent the previous five seasons as Cubs minor league infield coordinator, explaining his ties to Hyde. He managed the Puerto Rico National Baseball Team for two years and also spent 10 years coaching in the Puerto Rican winter league.
MLB.com first reported Flores’ hiring.