An exact date for the Orioles to announce their coaching staff doesn’t exist. The closest you’ll get is “fairly soon,” or “shouldn’t be too much longer.” The process is playing out. Like everything else in a rebuild, patience is a requirement.
No one from the 2018 staff is expected to stay in the organization. Third base coach Bobby Dickerson appeared to have a shot at one point, but it faded and he accepted a job as the Phillies’ infield coach, the deal finalized late Thursday night.
Whether or not you link the hire to the Phillies’ pursuit of free agent Manny Machado, it’s a smart move to bring in one of the top infield instructors in baseball. No amount of spin should carry you away from that fact.
Hall of Famer Jim Palmer vouched for Dickerson and his opinion carried a lot of weight.
Dickerson, as I reported, will sit in the Phillies dugout rather than also serve as a base coach. Meanwhile, the Orioles are expected to use José Flores, coming from the Phillies, as their third base coach and infield instructor. Former Red Sox first base coach and outfielder instructor Arnie Beyeler will replace Wayne Kirby at first.
This is a breakfast rehash. Feel free to plop a poached egg on top of it.
Don Long, let go by the Reds, is replacing Scott Coolbaugh as hitting coach. Tim Cossins will work with the catchers, but does he also become bench coach with the other spots apparently filled?
If John Wasdin is the bullpen coach, and I’m only going by the offer made to him, that leaves pitching coach and assistant hitting coach.
The Orioles haven’t settled on a Triple-A manager to replace Ron Johnson, with the completion of the coaching staff taking a higher priority. They also need a pitching coach at Single-A Frederick and hitting coach at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
* Meanwhile, reviewing the salary settlements for the arbitration-eligibles, Jonathan Villar will be paid $4.825 million in 2019, Dylan Bundy $2.8 million and Mychal Givens $2.15 million. Confirmations from the national media keep trickling in days later.
MLBTradeRumors.com projected that Villar would get $4.4 million, Bundy $3 million and Givens $2 million.
* Mark Trumbo was asked again on Thursday’s “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan to provide an update on his surgically repaired right knee.
The recovery can’t be rushed. Running and hitting are prohibited. Patience remains the theme.
“I’m about four and a half months out of surgery and making excellent progress,” he said. “There are a few protocols out there and I think we’ve kind of chosen one that seems to fit the best, and there’s been no setbacks of any kind. The progress has actually been pretty cool to see, and I think the baseball activity stuff is going to come maybe in a month or so.
“Could be a little bit less, but I think a good conservative timeline for some of the running and more aggressive type of activities is probably going to be a few weeks away.”
Trumbo is working overtime to educate himself on the cartilage procedure and recovery, and he’s found some lengthy timelines that extend upwards of a year before the player can return.
“Obviously, I don’t have that amount of time or that luxury,” he said, “so we’re doing everything we can to build the foundation now so when the season starts I’ll have everything in place and be ready to kind of hit the ground running and be a contributor as soon as I can.
“Hard deadlines are tough. They serve a purpose, obviously, but they also make things sometimes pretty difficult if you’re kind of getting close to that date and you’re maybe a ways out. So, I’m doing the best I can to kind of estimate, but a lot of it is up in the air still.”
In a normal offseason, Trumbo would have started baseball activities a little while ago. Hitting almost daily, incorporating weights into his workouts.
“As far as the working-out part, it’s been tweaked a little from what I would normally do,” Trumbo said, “but the hitting is something that I will be starting later than I probably ever have.”
Trey Mancini credited Trumbo with pulling him out of a slump that covered much of the first half of the season. Trumbo remembers the conversation, how he approached the young hitter and offered some advice.
“I try to selectively kind of pick my spots with Trey or with anyone else,” Trumbo said. “The reality when you’re not doing well is there are going to be a whole lot of people, some qualified, some maybe not, that want to give you some advice and tell you what they see. Being someone who does this for a living and has arguably the best seat in the house to watch it, I just saw that he was a little quick, and when you get quick you might run into a few fastballs, but hitting off-speed becomes extremely difficult. You’re just not giving yourself much of a chance.
“One point to him was just that by getting jammed you’re forcing the ball to travel a little bit longer, and really you’re just trying to get a little better look at it. It happens so quick that it’s really just more of a concept as opposed to, ‘Hey, go ahead and try to do this.’ But I’m glad it helped. It’s something that I’ve heard in the past and it worked for me, and sometimes something like that can really turn things around for you.”
As one of the veterans on a roster that’s becoming younger and more inexperienced, where does Trumbo turn when he’s struggling at the plate? The few remaining vets? The coaches? The video room?
“It’s a combination,” he said. “The coaching staff is generally guys who have been around quite a while and they’re there for a reason. But on the flip side, a guy like Trey coming into his own in his third year, he’s a valuable resource. If he were to say something to me, I would absolutely listen and I’d actually probably get a real kick out of it because that’s about the time that you’ve got to start taking a little bit more responsibility.
“One of the things I always enjoy is talking to the pitchers. They study us for a living all the time, and we usually just talk to other hitters. Pitchers are one of the most valuable resources you can go to because they are constantly studying guys and they might see, ‘Hey, this guy is similar to you and this is how I attack him.’ So, talking to Cash (Andrew Cashner) or (Alex) Cobb or Dylan or any of the other guys, I always get a lot of enjoyment out of that.”
Cal Ripken Jr. always sought input from the pitchers. It’s a tested theory.