As we wait for Orioles news beyond additions to the front office and 40-man roster, I’m wondering what exactly is happening in San Diego. Besides the perfect weather, of course.
The Padres reportedly have hired former Orioles utility infielder Ryan Flaherty as quality control coach. They’ve already added Bobby Dickerson as bench coach and Wayne Kirby as first base coach - two former members of manager Buck Showalter’s staff.
An announcement is expected this week.
If the Padres really want to make Manny Machado happy, they could sign Jonathan Schoop as a free agent and move the franchise to South Beach.
Flaherty, 33, appeared in 14 games with the Indians this summer and went 3-for-21. He did pretty well for himself as a Rule 5 pick, spending parts of eight seasons in the majors and exceeding $6.71 million in career earnings per Baseball-Reference.com.
The Orioles brought Flaherty to the majors and he became one of Showalter’s favorites. The versatility in the field was valued. And let’s never forget that he started at second base twice in the 2012 American League Division Series against the Yankees and at third base throughout the 2014 ALDS and Championship Series.
Flaherty homered in Game 4 of the ALCS in Kansas City.
Someone had to keep hitting in that series.
Flaherty signed with the Phillies as a free agent in February 2018, was released in spring training and signed with the Braves just as the Orioles thought they had a deal with him. The Orioles offered him a minor league contract and the Braves trumped it.
Overall, a nice career for a super-nice guy - much more comfortable without the cameras and recorders - who’s done playing and now entering the next phase of his professional life. One that could lead him into managing someday.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are busy with other coaching positions - first base, assistant hitting and bullpen. Perhaps we’re told this week that Anthony Sanders is replacing Arnie Beyeler at first base.
The Orioles already promoted Chris Holt to a director of pitching position that didn’t exist in previous years, tying him to the major and minor league levels rather than only the latter.
Holt will be working with pitching coach Doug Brocail and the replacement for bullpen coach John Wasdin.
An executive with another organization believes that teams should employ two separate pitching coaches - one for the starters and one for the relievers. That the latter should have a more defined set of responsibilities than the traditional bullpen coach.
The executive noted the “significant dichotomy” between the training regimes, mentality and pitching plans. He thinks the coach in the bullpen needs to be a former reliever who’s more equipped to train and prepare the group. The other coach should be a former starter who better understands that group’s training program, daily schedule and game plan.
The Orioles employed Elrod Hendricks as bullpen coach for 28 years, and he was a former catcher. Rick Dempsey, whose catching career in the majors spanned 24 years, replaced Hendricks in 2006.
Dave Trembley began the 2007 season as bullpen coach and he never played professionally.
Alan Mills, the bullpen coach prior to Wasdin, was a longtime reliever in the majors.
The position comes in all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. And the Orioles are the type of organization that could really step outside the box again as it continues to seek more analytically driven coaches - including some who aren’t working in professional baseball.
Today’s question: Which player on the current roster would make the best manager?