O’s will choose manager from six candidates (and other notes)

LAS VEGAS - Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias confirmed this afternoon that he’s conducted six in-person interviews for the managerial position and hopes to name a replacement for Buck Showalter later this month.

Elias, meeting with the media for about 20 minutes inside his suite at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, said the process is “pretty far” along and there won’t be a second round of interviews. He has all of the information that he needs.

Redmond Rockies Sidebar.jpgThough Elias wouldn’t confirm any of the reported names, the six candidates are known to be Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, Royals quality control/catching coach Pedro Grifol, Diamondbacks director of player development Mike Bell, Rockies bench coach Mike Redmond and former Nationals and Indians manager Manny Acta.

MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported Acta as a candidate.

Elias said he hasn’t heard from agents wanting to know who’s going to be hired. The vacancy hasn’t been an issue.

Also, Elias confirmed that Chris Holt has been hired as minor league pitching coordinator. He also mentioned how much he values vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson’s “institutional knowledge” and is seeking the best ways to utilize it.

In case there were any lingering doubts about Anderson’s role in the organization.

Here are a few other nuggets from today’s media session, with Elias quotes to following the next article:

* Elias isn’t certain whether one individual will oversee player development and scouting.

* Elias said he currently views Jonathan Villar as the “primary” shortstop, though the shifts will keep moving him to the right side of the infield. The Orioles want to add another middle infielder, and they’re in the market for a catcher.

* The Orioles won’t be “fast movers” in free agency, so expect signings to happen later in the winter.

* Nothing is imminent on the trade front. Asked about the possibility of dealing more veterans, Elias replied that he’s going to look at anything that advances the goals of the organization.

* While serving as architect of the rebuild, Elias said he wants to see improvement “everywhere” and upgrade the talent level from top to bottom.

* Rio Ruiz, claimed off waivers today from the Braves, provides depth at third base and, as a left-handed hitter, can compete with Renato Núñez.

* With two openings on the 40-man roster, Elias is keeping his options open to select two players in the Rule 5 draft.

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