When the Orioles made the decision to remove José Flores as third base coach and infield instructor, they didn’t rush through the process of finding his replacement.
They didn’t react as though they were on the clock.
There was a slow build to the composition of the final list of candidates, with the Orioles more interested in making an outside hire rather than shifting one of their coaches into a new role and further reducing the staff.
They replaced pitching coach Doug Brocail with Chris Holt, who already worked for the organization as director of pitching. However, the only way they’d stay in-house with their third base coach was to promote someone from the minors.
Maybe more like a Plan B if they couldn’t find the right guy. But they had some legit people down below.
Tony Mansolino, 38, interested the Orioles for multiple reasons that thrust him ahead of the field and eventually into the spring training complex in Sarasota, Fla. when camp is scheduled to open next month.
A lengthy interview process concluded with the Orioles hiring Mansolino. There were candidates from three or four teams, as well as internal minor league managers who were tossed into the pool.
A wide net was cast, with the Orioles checking on individuals who were under contract with other teams or no longer employed. Mansolino earned points for his previous managerial experience, solid reputation as an infield instructor and stint as a third base coach in the playoffs last year after the Indians did some reshuffling.
Coming from a baseball family, with his father, Doug, a former minor league manager and major league coach who’s currently the Braves’ infield coordinator, and playing at Vanderbilt University also worked in his favor. And the Orioles respect the work done in the Indians organization. More points for Mansolino.
An impressive interview sealed the deal.
As the saying goes, he checked all the boxes.
Double-A Bowie manager Buck Britton, the older brother of reliever Zack Britton, received an interview. He was the Eastern League’s Manager of the Year in 2019 and an infielder during his playing days.
Dave Anderson also was interviewed for the third base coaching job. He would have managed Single-A Delmarva in 2020 if the minor league season hadn’t been canceled.
Anderson was a major league infielder for 10 years and served as the Orioles’ minor league infield coordinator in 2019. He certainly made sense as a potential infield instructor.
So did Aberdeen IronBirds manager Kevin Bradshaw. I’ve heard that he also interviewed.
The IronBirds are moving up from short-season Single-A status to high Single-A this summer with the Frederick Keys no longer an Orioles affiliate.
Speaking of which, what happens to Frederick manager Kyle Moore, who moved up from Delmarva last year?
One scenario I’ve heard has Moore managing Aberdeen and Bradshaw managing the second Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team. Alan Mills will remain manager of the first entry.