We don’t know yet who the next Orioles manager will be, but he might be among five names we will mention here today. The first four are expected to interview with the club, or maybe have already. The fifth name has ties to O’s general manager Mike Elias. Both worked for the Houston Astros last season.
Will the next O’s skipper be among this group?
Washington Nationals bench coach Chip Hale: The Nationals hired Hale for the 2018 season to assist a first-year manager in Davey Martinez. The 54-year-old Hale has played and managed in the majors. He was an infielder with the Twins and Athletics for seven seasons. He managed Arizona to a two-year record of 148-176 (.457) in 2015-16. Hale also managed in the minors and was the Pacific Coast League manager of the year for Arizona in 2006.
Hale was a coach for Arizona from 2007-09. He was a New York Mets coach in 2010-11. He was Oakland’s bench coach from 2012-14 and returned to the A’s in 2017 as third base coach after managing the D-backs. Then he was hired by the Nats and just completed his first season with that organization.
Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde: The 45-year-old Hyde got consideration for other managing jobs that were open previously this offseason with Toronto, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Angels. Hyde has served as a minor league field coordinator, a director of player development and a big league coach. He managed in the Miami Marlins system from 2005-09 and served as the Marlins bench coach from 2010-12. He began as Cubs bench coach starting in the 2013 season, so he’s served in that role for six seasons for Chicago.
Arizona vice president of player development Mike Bell: Bell is the grandson of former big leaguer Gus Bell and son of former big league player and manager Buddy Bell. His older brother David was recently named manager of the Cincinnati Reds. It’s quite a baseball family.
Bell has been with the Diamondbacks for 12 seasons and in pro ball for 26 seasons. For six years he was the D-backs’ director of player development and has served as vice president of player development the last two years. In his first seven seasons heading up their player development operation, 28 Arizona affiliates made the playoffs and 41 homegrown players made their big league debuts. Bell turns 44 on Friday.
Kansas City quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol: The 49-year-old Grifol just completed his sixth year as a Royals coach. He was special assignment coach in 2013 and hitting coach in 2013-14. From 2014-17 he carried the title catching coach and worked with an All-Star in Salvador Pérez. Before he joined Kansas City, Grifol worked 13 seasons for the Seattle Mariners, serving in various roles. He was an area scout, a minor league manager and a director of minor league operations. He coached on Seattle’s big league staff in 2010.
Houston bench coach Joe Espada: The 43-year-old Espada knows the American League East after four seasons (2014-2017) with the New York Yankees. He served as a pro scout for New York in 2014 and was third base coach from 2015-2017. Before that, he was Miami’s third-base coach from 2010-2013. He was with the Marlins starting in 2006 and also spent time in their minor league system as a hitting and infield coach.
Espada played for 10 seasons in the minors, appearing in 644 games from 1996-2005. An infielder, he was drafted in the second round by Oakland in 1996. Espada is a native of Puerto Rico and has managed in the Puerto Rican winter league.
These are five men with very solid credentials, but we can’t tell what kind of manager any of the five would be just by looking at resumes and/or backgrounds. This is where the personal touch with interviews will come in handy for Elias. He’ll probably get a true feel then how their backgrounds could play out when it comes to dealing with the clubhouse and front office and serving to take the Orioles into a rebuilding future.
It’s an important hire for the Orioles.
One look at the 2019 draft: In this recent article we wrote about the possibility of the Orioles drafting Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the No. 1 pick next June. He is the top-rated player for the 2019 draft, according to a new list of the top draft prospects released yesterday by MLBPipeline.com. Texas high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is rated second.