Hyde managing life on the other side of the rebuild

If it wasn’t such an overused and clichéd phrase, the series between the Orioles and Nationals could be touted as a prime example of two teams heading in opposite directions.

You can think it. Just don’t print it.

The Orioles are contending in 2022 after beginning their teardown under the previous regime by trading away their best players in July 2018. The farm system under the new front office is ranked No. 1 in baseball.

A scout from another organization fussed over it during a recent conversation, marveling at how far the organization has come under executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias. And how the Orioles nailed the most recent draft, beginning with shortstop Jackson Holliday and continuing with outfielder Dylan Beavers, third baseman Max Wagner and outfielder Jud Fabian.

He was especially high on Beavers, saying the former University of California standout, the 33rd overall selection, could be better than 2021 first-rounder Colton Cowser.

Meanwhile, the Nats dealt Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the Padres at the deadline while continuing to wave a white flag that doubles as a tarp. They have the worst record in the majors three years after winning the World Series, losing their 93rd game last night. They need an extreme makeover from top to bottom, and they hope the last draft and trade with San Diego accelerates the process.

Someone from the D.C. media asked Brandon Hyde yesterday what advice he’d give to managers of a rebuilding club. Hyde smiled, turned to a Baltimore reported and asked, “Is that a trick question?”

“Patience,” he finally said.

“You’re going to see things, really, that you haven’t seen in a while, and it’s going to be a lot of tough nights, just because you’re behind the 8-ball a little bit, and you have mostly young players. And especially in the division we play in, playing against teams that are built to win that year, every one of them, it just takes a lot of being able to try to be as consistent as possible and as positive as possible with your players.”

There isn’t a quick fix, which is where the patience comes into play. Along with understanding why moves are made for the future while a team takes its beatings in the present.

The Orioles have moved out from behind the 8-ball, and it isn’t magic. There’s been some luck, but the pitching is improved this year – especially the bullpen – they’re playing better defense, and they’ve mostly been healthy, though ace John Means is a major exception.

The switch is flipped on the past mentality. Go out and play. Don’t worry about restrictions.

“I think we did that,” Hyde said. “If you look at our record from like the middle of May into August, we were top three, four in baseball in wins. You start getting some confidence, guys start coming to the park a little bit differently. It’s not just about trying to survive in the big leagues. It’s about coming to the ballpark trying to win that night.

“That’s the hugest difference is, you have guys that just haven’t been here very long, a lot of roster shakeup, guys are just trying to survive, honestly. And when you start to win, now it’s about winning every single night and expecting to win. And we turned the corner with that this year.”

The Blue Jays are waiting around the next corner, with a huge series in Toronto after the Orioles close out their series tonight in D.C. With Austin Voth making a temporary move to the bullpen, the rotation lines up with Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer starting at Rogers Centre.

Lyles has been introduced to the pressures of a playoff race. He’s one of the exceptions inside the Orioles’ clubhouse.

Hyde turns to his veteran leaders to guide their young teammate through it.

“Our most vocal guys are Roogie (Odor) and Robby (Robinson Chirinos), for sure,” Hyde said. “We have like four guys who have been in the postseason on the team. Roogie, Robby, Jesse (Jesús Aguilar) and Lyles, and that’s it. I think going through this is great for these guys going forward. It’s great to see how young we are, playing the games that we’ve been playing.

“We had a disappointing week. I just hope we can bounce back. I think our veteran guys will help out with that, as well.”


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