More work to be done after Orioles conclude season

BOSTON - With the Orioles unable to secure the last out yesterday in the ninth inning, a walk-off loss done in a bizarre manner being an appropriate parting shot in a summer filled with oddities, we’re left to wonder what the heck is coming next.

The offseason won’t be stagnant.

The 40-man roster will undergo a major reconstruction. It should be surrounded by yellow caution tape.

Pitchers Alex Cobb and Josh Rogers need to come off the 60-day injured list, with the assumption that the latter remains in the organization.

Rogers allowed 14 runs and 18 hits in 14 1/3 relief innings with the Orioles and finished with an 8.51 ERA and 1.745 WHIP in 11 starts with Triple-A Norfolk, but he’d certainly appear to be worth another look after he recovers and begins throwing again.

The long list of players eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft includes infielder/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, outfielder Ryan McKenna and pitchers Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Cody Sedlock and Gray Fenter.

A team official said outfielder Yusniel Diaz doesn’t need to be protected because he “gets a fifth year.”

Spots are going to be cleared on the 40-man for however many players are added before the Winter Meetings. You can figure out the locks, led by Mountcastle, and which ones are bubble types.

Changes to the coaching staff are less certain, but I sense that at least one is coming.

There hasn’t been a vote of confidence issued and there haven’t been any denials. Internal discussions already have taken place regarding the subject.

“I think everybody’s done a great job,” said Trey Mancini. “That’s obviously, completely out of my control, but I loved everybody that I’ve come in contact with this year. All of our coaches, I think they’ve done such a good job. If you need any extra work, we’re out there every day taking early ground balls, early fly balls. They all work so hard, and I think they’ve done a really, really good job.”

Mancini was impressed by Brandon Hyde, how the first-year manager handled the clubhouse and the challenges that come with the early stages of a rebuild. Gaining trust and respect turned into a smooth process.

Mancini-Tracks-HR-Gray-Sidebar.jpg“He’s awesome to play for. I’m so happy to have him as a manager,” Mancini said.

“He’s done a really good job and, obviously, we’re in the AL East going through a rebuild. So it’s a tough job, for sure, and tough for all of us. But I think we made a lot of strides and can go into the offseason feeling really good about ourselves.”

Mancini will draw more trade interest over the winter, and he’s as close to untouchable as it gets with a rebuilding club. There’s always a chance that executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is overwhelmed by an offer, but the odds seem to favor Mancini staying.

Infielder Jonathan Villar and reliever Mychal Givens appear more likely to be dealt than Mancini, but again, there has to be a satisfactory offer, and none arrived to Elias at the deadline.

“You always have to think about it,” Mancini said. “A lot of things happen in the offseason, and obviously, it’s out of our control and something that we’ll definitely keep an eye on, but I hope they’re both back.

“I’ve said this a lot lately: I think Villar, he’s right up there with guys like (Marcus) Semien as most underrated players in the league. I really think that. Stole his 40th bag (Saturday). He’s helped our club so much, and I really don’t know where we’d be without him.

“Givens and (Richard) Bleier have done such a good job in the bullpen, and all the young pitchers that we have, they’ve helped them out a lot. I think a lot of guys have made strides this year because of those two.”

Dylan Bundy is under team control for a few more seasons and Elias is going to check on the right-hander’s market, though punching a hole in the rotation just creates more work to fill it.

“I don’t know anything. I haven’t been told anything yes or no coming back,” Bundy said.

“I know I’m under the arbitration process, but this is a different regime, so you don’t know how it’s going to go. I was drafted by this team, so obviously you want to stay with the team you were drafted by forever, but that’s not always the case. This is a business and business decisions, they happen.

“I haven’t really thought about leaving or staying or anything.”

I reported last night that Brady Anderson won’t return in 2020, making him the latest holdover from the previous regime to leave the organization.

Anderson no longer wielded the same influence, losing his title of vice president of baseball operations that he held since 2013 and having his responsibilities narrowed to performance/strength and conditioning and nutrition. He worked in more of a consultant role.

The Orioles will be hiring new people to handle those tasks as part of a reconfiguration.

Anderson spent 14 seasons as an Orioles outfielder and was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2004. He spent most of the 2019 season in California while attending to a family matter and is stepping aside, as it’s been described to me, while the organization continues to undergo significant changes.

More scouts will be hired. More people on the analytics side. There are openings with affiliates that must be filled.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s 5-4 loss dropped the Orioles to 11-22 in one-run games. There were some ugly blowouts, but the narrow margins really ate at Mancini.

“I think we played so many close games this year and we lost a lot of them, and I think we still can get better with that, and we’re learning how to play as a unit and I think we’ve gotten a lot better with it,” Mancini said.

“Next year I’d really like to win a lot more of those close games that at the end we don’t come out on top. It has been tough losing a lot of those and I would really like to win more of those in the future.”

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