The offseason work conducted by the Orioles has moved past the 40-man roster today and impacted two coaches.
The Orioles aren’t going to bring back pitching coach Doug Brocail and third base coach/infield instructor Jose Flores, according to multiple industry sources.
Potential candidates have not been determined and no other changes are coming to the staff at this time, per a source.
Brocail was hired in January 2019 as the replacement for Roger McDowell, who served on former manager Buck Showalter’s staff for two seasons. Brocail had ties to executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias from their tenure with the Astros and served for three years as Rangers pitching coach before joining the Orioles.
The six seasons spent with the Astros included periods as a special assistant and minor league and major league pitching coach.
After inheriting one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball upon coming to Baltimore, Brocail helped this year’s group improve the team ERA from 5.59 (15th in the American League) to 4.51 (ninth).
The rotation’s ERA dropped from 5.57 (14th) in 2019 to 5.09 (11th). But the biggest gains were made by a bullpen that lowered its ERA from 5.79 (15th) to 3.90 (seventh).
Brocail was lauded by members of the organization for his work with rookie starters Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer and veteran left-hander Tommy Milone, who registered a 3.99 ERA in six starts and averaged a career high 9.5 strikeouts per nine innings before his trade to the Braves for two players to be named later.
I’m hearing that the Orioles are making broad structural changes based on economic factors and the possibility of minor league condensing.
No word on whether Brocail’s exit impacts director of pitching Chris Holt, who was promoted to his current position last winter after spending one year as minor league pitching coordinator. He’d be a logical candidate, though he’s also valued for bridging the instruction between the minors and majors.
The Orioles haven’t confirmed the moves involving Brocail and Flores, who was hired in December 2018 after serving as Phillies third base coach and infield instructor. Both roles were filled by Bobby Dickerson under Showalter’s staff.
Flores earned his first major league assignment in 2018 as Phillies first base coach before moving across the diamond.
Serving as Cubs minor league infield coordinator from 2013-17 enabled Flores to build a relationship with current Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. They remain good friends.
A switch at third base also could lead the Orioles to seek someone with a different profile.
The Orioles routinely make changes to their coaching staff. They removed Arnie Beyler as first base coach and John Wasdin as bullpen coach last winter and hired Anthony Sanders and Darren Holmes, respectively. They also replaced assistant hitting coach Howie Clark with José Hernández, who had served as major league coach.
Former major league manager Fredi González was hired to handle the duties relinquished by Hernández. He also took over in the dugout when Hyde was ejected.
Don Long remains as hitting coach and Tim Cossins as major league field coordinator/catching instructor after joining the Orioles prior to the 2019 season.
It’s my understanding that Brocail and Flores were told today that their contracts wouldn’t be renewed.
The contracts of Triple-A hitting coach Sean Berry, Double-A fundamentals coach Butch Davis, pitching rehabilitation coach Mike Griffin and scout Doug Witt weren’t renewed. Davis had been working at the alternate camp site in Bowie.
Berry returned to the organization, and his previous role with Norfolk, but never made it to the Tides after the minor league season was canceled. Griffin had replaced Scott McGregor after serving as Norfolk’s pitching coach.