Bench coach Tom Trebelhorn posted the Orioles' lineup yesterday on the magnetic board outside the clubhouse, as he does before every game. It appeared to be a normal morning in many ways, except this was the last time he'd hold that responsibility, or any others, in an organization that has employed him for 12 seasons.
The Orioles informed Trebelhorn his contract wouldn't be renewed for 2008. A replacement will be discussed at the organizational meetings in Sarasota, Fla., next Monday.
"It wasn't easy, [but] we're making changes to this organization because, whether you [reporters] or anybody else feels it's right or wrong, we feel that it's necessary to do it," manager Dave Trembley said. "We're going to do what we feel we have to do in order to change the face and identity, and we're going to go in another direction.
"I can't say that Trebs is not coming back because he didn't work hard or because he doesn't have knowledge. That's not the case. I'm going to bring in somebody else."
At this point, third base coach Juan Samuel and bullpen coach Alan Dunn are the only staff members assured of returning. Samuel contemplated resigning with another year left on his contract before deciding to stay.
"I was pretty sure that something was going to come up if I wanted to [leave], but I didn't have anything lined up. I gave them my word that I'm going to live up to my contract," he said.
"We all know that things have to get better here. I have faith in the people upstairs. I think that, with Andy [MacPhail] coming in, some changes are going to be made. It's just a matter of changing the makeup of this ballclub."
First base coach Sam Mejias told the Orioles a few weeks ago that he wasn't returning, so at least two vacancies must be filled. Trembley said no determination has been made on the statuses of pitching coach Leo Mazzone and hitting coach Terry Crowley, whose contracts run through next season.
"Whether or not we make other decisions throughout the organization will be determined when we go to the organizational meetings," Trembley said.
"I'm going to take my time and I'm going to get input from a lot of people, then I'm going to make the decisions and make those suggestions to Mr. MacPhail."
Said Mazzone: "I love it here. I hope to finish my career here. It's an opportunity to try and help bring the winning tradition back to Baltimore. And I think it can be done."
MacPhail acknowledged other changes could be forthcoming.
"We try to put first things first and proceed from there," he said.
Trebelhorn served on the coaching staff for seven seasons, six of them at third base. He also spent five years in the front office.
"I've had a good run here," he said. "This is the longest I've been in any organization. Changes are part of this business. Do I agree with the change? No.
"I wish it was one particular lineup card I messed up that I had a reason for this, but I can't put my finger on it."
Trebelhorn, who has been fired as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs, wanted to remain with the Orioles despite having to leave the team on occasion during spring training and earlier in the season to attend to his ailing wife in Arizona. Trebelhorn, 59, will consider retirement but hasn't ruled out pursuing another job, even if it's in the minors.
"I used to think I was indispensable, but I've been disposed now [by] three teams," he said. "I've got a beach house I want to buy in Oregon. I might just head up to Oregon and hit fungoes to the sea gulls."
Trembley said Double-A Bowie coach Mo Hill, who joined the Orioles' staff last month, is a candidate for a full-time position next year.
Media pick Markakis as MVO
Right fielder Nick Markakis was named Most Valuable Oriole by members of the local media who cover the team on a regular basis.
Markakis, the only player named on all 28 ballots, completed his second major league season by leading the club in batting average (.300), doubles (43), home runs (23) and RBIs (112), and ranked fifth among American League outfielders with 13 assists. Markakis appeared in every game until yesterday, when Trembley sat him so his average wouldn't dip below .300. Markakis asked to stay in the lineup.
"I think it was important for him," Trembley said. "He's 23 years old."
Pitcher Erik Bedard finished second in the voting, and second baseman Brian Roberts was third.
2007 attendance near stadium low
Yesterday's crowd of 43,589 brought the Orioles' season attendance to 2,164,822, the second-lowest in the 16-year history of Camden Yards.
The Orioles drew 2,153,139 last season.
Sun reporters Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly contributed to this article.