The first day of the Orioles’ offseason is bringing changes to the major league coaching staff.
Hitting coach Don Long will not return in 2022 and assistant hitting coach José Hernández will switch to a different role on the staff, according to a source.
The club will open a hiring process for both jobs that likely is going to consider both internal and external candidates, which has been the case in past years.
The other coaches serving under manager Brandon Hyde are expected to return next season, his fourth at the helm. However, some of the duties are likely to be retailored - mostly in-game rather than overall roles.
Long completed his third season with the Orioles after replacing Scott Coolbaugh, his hiring announced in January 2019. He spent five seasons (2014-18) with the Reds as hitting coach and three with the Braves (2011-13) as minor league hitting coordinator.long
Long served as Pirates hitting coach from 2008-10 and Phillies roving hitting instructor in 1999 and their minor league hitting coordinator from 2000-07. He spent 12 years in the Angels organization, including 11 as a manager in their system.
The Orioles posted a .239 average this summer that ranked 19th in the majors, and a .705 OPS that ranked 23rd. Their .304 on-base percentage was 26th. They hit 195 home runs to place 17th in the majors.
Long had his share of individual success this summer, including Cedric Mullins, the first 30/30 player in franchise history, and Ryan Mountcastle, who will appear on ballots for American League Rookie of the Year. Trey Mancini credited Long for improving his mindset as he began to slump.
Since Terry Crowley’s 12-year run as hitting coach ended after 2010 - he also held the job from 1985-88 - the Orioles have used Jim Pressley (2011-14), Coolbaugh (2015-18) and Long in the role.
The Orioles replaced pitching coach Doug Brocail and third base coach José Flores after the final game of the 2020 truncated season.
Pitching coach Chris Holt, assistant pitching coach Darren Holmes, major league coach Fredi González, major league field coordinator/catching instructor Tim Cossins, first base coach/outfielder instructor Anthony Sanders and third base coach/infield instructor Tony Mansolino remain on this year’s staff.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said last week that any decisions would be made quickly after the season.
“That’s the way we’ve approached it, the way the industry has approached it,” he said.
“I generally have a philosophy that people are here and they have our support and it’s not something we like to talk about publicly. But it’s baseball, there are changes season to season up and down baseball operations, just like any company, and when they happen that’s part of things. But it’s not something that I talk about publicly because I don’t think it’s in the best interests of our department and our franchise, but obviously we’re getting to the time of year where we’re assessing things and planning ahead and looking at structures for the future.”
Also in the works, I’ve heard, is a plan to add analyst positions to the major league coaching staff and traveling party.