Considering challenges of constructing a coaching staff

The Orioles haven’t laid out a time frame for hiring a new manager, with Mike Elias offering confirmation last week during his introduction as executive vice president and general manager. A process too important to be rushed. A list too long to be chopped in hasty fashion.

To quote Elias: “It’s not something to rush for the sake of meeting artificial dates in the wintertime.”

Meanwhile, contracts for the entire coaching staff expired on Oct. 31. No one has landed a new job, from what I can glean. No one knows whether he’s got a chance to stick around under a new manager.

It isn’t unprecedented, especially in Baltimore, for coaches to carry over to the next regime. I wrote an article last month detailing how Elrod Hendricks stayed in Baltimore as bullpen coach through a succession of changes. And how Mike Hargrove also inherited Eddie Murray, Sam Perlozzo and Terry Crowley.

The longer that it takes for the Orioles to name Buck Showalter’s replacement, the harder it becomes to build a staff as more jobs are filled in other organizations. Take a look at what’s happening in Toronto under new manager Charlie Montoyo and in Minnesota under Rocco Baldelli. And how the Astros had to account for three spots.

The Mets hired Jim Riggleman as bench coach, eliminating any chance that the Orioles might have considered him for manager or their new staff.

There haven’t been many rumors circulating that involve Orioles coaches whose futures grew uncertain with Showalter’s departure. The Marlins contacted pitching coach Roger McDowell in October, according to Peter Gammons, but others in the industry disputed the report.

I thought that bench coach John Russell might be a candidate for the Mets’ job, but I didn’t hear anything about an interview.

Showalter used to warn how it’s a mistake to assume everything is wrong in an organization that’s fallen on hard times. He didn’t believe that a thorough house cleaning was necessary when the Orioles hired him in the summer of 2010. And it would be wrong to lay the blame for a 115-loss season at the feet of an entire coaching staff.

The Orioles will conduct their managerial search in the same secretive manner that preceded Elias’ hiring. However, I don’t believe that anyone on this year’s staff has been contacted.

Dickerson-orange-sidebar.jpgBobby Dickerson has earned consideration due to his experience managing in the minors and in winter ball and his familiarity with the personnel in the organization. Otherwise, his reputation as one of the finest infield instructors in baseball, right up there with Brian Butterfield and Perry Hill, sets him up as a significant loss if not retained in some capacity.

Dickerson was instrumental in Manny Machado’s conversion to third base, where the former and future shortstop earned two Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove, and Jonathan Schoop’s improvement at second. Just ask them.

Like others on the staff, Dickerson wants to be part of the rebuild in Baltimore but also is in a bind if another offer comes along, including a job that returns him to the minors. Pass it up and risk being left out in the cold.

Unemployment around the holidays is one of life’s proven stress-inducers. We just have a tendency to forget how it impacts people in sports who aren’t making millions.

The Orioles need a manager at Triple-A Norfolk and Dickerson, who held the job on an interim basis for part of the 2010 season, would make sense. Especially if the Orioles decide to keep Gary Kendall at Double-A Bowie or put him on the major league staff instead of bumping him to the International League.

First base coach Wayne Kirby’s work with the outfielders has been lauded in the past. Scott Coolbaugh served as hitting coach in 2015 when Chris Davis belted 47 home runs, drove in 117 runs, registered a .923 OPS and was handed a $161 million contract. Now, he’s blamed for Davis’ plummet and for high strikeout totals throughout a lineup of all-or-nothing hitters, as if he’s ordering everyone to close their eyes and swing from the heels.

The sound of my eyes rolling can be heard for miles.

Showalter has always considered Russell to be one of the game’s finest catching instructors, his work with Welington Castillo presenting one of the examples. I’ve spoken to relievers who value the bond formed with bullpen coach Alan Mills going back to their days in the minors.

Grading McDowell’s work is tricky considering the skill level of some pitchers who have passed through Baltimore and the inexperience that flooded this year’s staff. But he’s always going to be blamed for the bloated ERAs.

The Orioles seem intent on speeding away from their past, with eyes fixed on their future and all the work that a rebuild entails. They never considered an in-house candidate for the job that Elias landed and he’s going to keep sifting through his network to find more outsiders. But I wonder if circumstances and reputations could influence some of those decisions.

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