Orioles hire Brandon Hyde as manager

Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde will be introduced at noon on Monday as the 20th manager in Orioles history. Left behind at the Winter Meetings are the confusion, controversy and criticisms over the reported confirmations coming out of Las Vegas.

The club has made it official. Hyde is the replacement for Buck Showalter, who guided the Orioles to three playoff appearances and one division title in 8 1/2 seasons at the helm.

Showalter learned on Oct. 3 that his contract would run out and the Orioles were moving in another direction, hours before executive vice president Dan Duquette received the same news regarding his status.

Mike Elias was introduced as executive vice president and general manager on Nov. 19 and now it’s Hyde’s turn to meet the press at Camden Yards.

“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” Elias said in a statement.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and major league coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a world champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

The press conference introducing Hyde will be carried live on MASN and 105.7 The Fan.

Hyde-Pointing-Cubs-sidebar.jpgHyde, 45, managed for five years in the Marlins system and led Double-A Jacksonville to the Southern League championship in 2009. He has spent the past five seasons with the Cubs as bench coach and first base coach and owns previous experience as their field coordinator and development director.

The Santa Rosa, Calif., native signed with the White Sox organization in 1997 as an undrafted free agent out of Long Beach State University. He spent four seasons in the White Sox minor league system as a catcher and first baseman, reaching the Triple-A level in 2000. He played 17 games in 2001 for the Chico Heat of the independent Western League.

The pending hire was praised throughout the industry at the Winter Meetings, with Hyde described as sharp, a tremendous communicator and “just a really good guy.” I heard it from executives, scouts and other members of the media.

The glowing endorsements came while the Orioles offered little in the way of illumination. Elias didn’t want to comment on the search or confirm the six candidates and denied reports that Hyde was offered a contract.

Elias referred to the reports at various times as “inaccurate,” “overzealous” and “premature.” But he was able to laugh at the uncomfortable situation that unfolded in his suite as a big screen television played MLB Network’s version of events.

The leak appeared to come from the Cubs’ side, especially with manager Joe Maddon making it known that he needed a bench coach. Multiple sources at the Winter Meetings confirmed it.

Hyde’s hiring will lead to the construction of a coaching staff, with the manager wielding the most influence over it. Elias and others will provide input.

“We all bring our networks together,” Elias said on Wednesday. “I think it improves the outcome. But certainly as I’ve said, I’m going to look to yield to his preferences first and foremost.”

Asked on Tuesday whether a bench coach with past managerial experience would be needed to pair with a first-timer, Elias replied, “If we were to hire somebody who hasn’t managed in the major leagues, I would still yield to that person’s desires and his own feel for what he wants and who he wants and needs around him.

“Certainly, you look at major league staffs up and down the league, there’s certain constants. Obviously, you’ve got a pitching coach. It’s important to have a Spanish-speaking coach and experience is also always sought and desired somewhere on the staff, usually, but we’ll see.”

The other candidates for manager were Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Royals quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol, Diamondbacks director of player development Mike Bell, Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond and Mariners bench coach Manny Acta. Only Hale, Redmond and Acta have managed full-time in the majors. Hyde filled in on an interim basis for one game with the Marlins in 2011.

Showalter interrupted a streak of Orioles hires that hadn’t managed in the majors. Lee Mazzilli replaced Mike Hargrove prior to the 2004 season and was followed by Sam Perlozzo, Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel on an interim basis.

Davey Johnson (Mets, Reds) and Ray Miller (Twins) preceded Hargrove, who was hired before the 2000 season. Johnson, of course, also managed the Dodgers and Nationals after leaving the Orioles.

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