LAS VEGAS - As expected, the Orioles were not very active in player acquisitions at the Winter Meetings, but the process of hiring a new manager moved near completion and the business of rebuilding the team is fully underway for new general manager Mike Elias.
It was a chance for beat reporters to get a few opportunities to meet with the new GM and get his thoughts on a variety of topics over a few days in Las Vegas.
At some point in the next few days the Orioles should make official the hiring of Brandon Hyde as their 20th manager. The 45-year-old Hyde was the Cubs’ bench coach in 2014 and 2018. Before that, he was their minor league field coordinator in 2012. In between, he was the Cubs’ first base coach from 2015-17.
Before joining the Cubs, he was with the Marlins from 2003-2011. From June 23, 2010 through the end of 2011 he was the Marlins’ bench coach.
Hyde managed in the Marlins farm system between 2005 and 2009, going 351-342 (.506). Earlier this offseason, Hyde was in the mix for managerial openings with the Blue Jays, Twins and Angels.
During the Winter Meetings Elias talked about the important relationship he will need to have with his first manager.
“The stream of communication now between the front office and the manager’s office is constant,” he said. “I view this position as not just a manager, but also an extension of our front office. It’s somebody who is involved in all manner of decisions in baseball operations and things that are going on in the minor leagues, trade talks, free agent talks. Really, the scope of the job is just enormous.”
Hopefully, in Hyde, the Orioles will be getting a skipper who can get the best out of young talent. Someone who can support young players and keep their confidence level up even as their team may be losing a lot of games. Someone who communicates well with the media so his message and thoughts reach the fan base. The manager is, in a sense, the face of the franchise as he talks with media twice a day.
The overall opinion and vibe I got from several members of the national media I spoke with here was overwhelmingly positive on the Orioles. Elias and Sig Mejdal have earned respect for what they had a large hand in doing in both St. Louis and Houston. The Astros were the most cutting-edge and ahead-of-the-curve team with analytics and now the Elias-Mejdal duo is bringing that to Baltimore.
The challenge is huge. All they need to do is take a 115-loss team and eventually beat the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Not to mention Tampa Bay and Toronto, who both have strong farm systems.
But if there can be a positive feeling about a team that was so bad last year, the Orioles have some of that right now. With these meetings behind him and announcing a new manager right in front of him, we await the next chapter from Elias.