While there have been significant changes for the Orioles in baseball operations, player development and scouting, the turnover won’t touch Kent Qualls.
The Orioles intend to bring back Qualls as director of minor league operations. The same title that he’s held since coming to the organization prior to the 2013 season.
Qualls’ past duties have included overseeing the administration of the club’s player development department and minor league affiliates. His responsibilities broadened under former executive vice president Dan Duquette, but it’s possible that some adjustments could be made under new front office hires.
There’s still so much uncertainty engulfing the franchise, but Qualls won’t be a casualty after Duquette and manager Buck Showalter learned their fates on Oct. 3.
Personnel with strong ties to Duquette have been cut loose, including senior advisor Joe McIlvaine, special assistants Lee Thomas and Matt Haas, advisor Jeremy Kapstein, assistant director of minor league and international operations Cale Cox, East Coast scouting supervisor Kirk Fredriksson, director of Dominican baseball operations Nelson Norman and special assignment scout Wayne Britton.
Duquette’s son, Dana, accepted a scouting position with the Marlins after the Orioles declined to extend his contract. Director of analytics and major league contracts Sarah Gelles has joined the Astros.
Qualls is an exception. He’s worked with Duquette in Montreal and Boston, primarily in scouting, player development and Latin American operations, and also spent 10 years as director of the Dan Duquette Sports Academy in Hinsdale, Mass.
No one has been closer to Duquette outside of his family.
Director of scouting Gary Rajsich has a contract that runs through November, as I mentioned yesterday. Any offer of a new deal would come later this month.
Director of player development Brian Graham is pretty much running the show now that Duquette is gone, with every move made after consulting with ownership. His future is murky without a new head of baseball operations, but his value is on display again this week.
Graham is no stranger to an interim GM role, having done the same in Pittsburgh. He’s managed in the minors and coached in the majors. He’s run farm systems and served as coordinator. He’s instructed infielders and been in charge of defenses.
As a manager in the Indians system, Graham compiled a 704-491 record, his teams made the playoffs in eight consecutive years and they never finished below .500 in nine. He was chosen as the Carolina League’s Manager of the Year in 1991 after leading Single-A Kinston to the championship and was named Minor League Manager of the Year by USA Today’s Baseball Weekly in 1996 with Triple-A Buffalo. The Bisons won the American Association title the following summer.
Graham spent one season as the Orioles’ “eye in the sky” under manager Mike Hargrove before joining the Marlins and eventually making his way back to Baltimore.
* To clear up any confusion that surfaced yesterday, all of the coaches on Showalter’s staff had contracts that expired on Oct. 31.
I was told that a website listed some of the coaches while eliminating others, including pitching coach Roger McDowell, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and bullpen coach Alan Mills. My initial response was, “Who’s taking the time to actually look at this?” Then, I triple-checked and nothing had changed.
All of the coaches are free to join other organizations. No one is under contract.
* None of the Orioles won a Silver Slugger Award yesterday and I doubt that anyone was caught by surprise.
Former Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis won his first Silver Slugger. He already claimed his third Gold Glove.