The Orioles are reaching back into their most recent period of success to try to improve a glaring deficiency for now and the future.
The club signed a one-year deal with former Oriole Mike Bordick this month to become its new minor league offensive coordinator.
Bordick, 44, will be responsible for working with the club's prospects on offensive fundamentals such as base running, bunting and situational hitting.
"Basically, it'll be getting guys to understand the importance of small ball. The game has kind of trended away from the three-run home run," said Bordick, a heady shortstop who played 14 seasons in the majors, including six with the Orioles. "A lot of times it is about getting into scoring position and taking advantage of those situations when you need to score runs, especially in the AL East."
Bordick, whose first year with the Orioles was in 1997 - the last time they were in the postseason or were over .500 - said it's essential for an organization to have uniform instruction throughout its system, and that will be his goal.
"I think it is a tremendous help for the whole organization to know everybody is on the same page, and it starts from the top in learning the right way to play the game," Bordick said. "The fact I was able to play in the big leagues for a while I may be able to give the kids some insight on the little things, and even some of the big things such as work ethic and going out there and being a pro every day."
The Orioles were continually criticized in 2009 for their lack of fundamentals and concentration, which ultimately led to mental errors and base-running mistakes. It was an area manager Dave Trembley vowed to improve in 2010.
"When you get the opportunity to have a guy like Mike Bordick in your organization, you do it," Trembley said. "He brings so much experience, know-how, work ethic. This guy is a big leaguer. He can teach our players at every level what it means to be a big leaguer and what it means to be a Baltimore Oriole."
Trembley offered Bordick a job on his major league staff before the 2008 season, but Bordick declined because he didn't want to be away from his family. In his new position, Bordick will travel mainly to affiliates within driving distance of Baltimore. He is expected to begin working with players this spring in Sarasota, Fla.
The Orioles have made several other organizational moves recently, including hiring Bobby Dickerson, a former Orioles minor league manager and instructor, to coordinate minor league infield instruction, and hiring former big league catcher and longtime hitting coach Milt May to be the club's Gulf Coast League team's hitting instructor.
Bordick, who was known as much for his steady glove as his gutsy, smart play, said he would also help with the organization's infielders if a need arose.
Last season, Bordick was a roving infield instructor with the Toronto Blue Jays. With changes in their front office - including the firing of general manager J.P. Ricciardi - Bordick said he felt it would be best if he looked for another opportunity.
His family relocated to Baltimore in August after a temporary move to Maine in 2008, and Bordick said he contacted the Orioles to see if there could be a fit.
"It feels good. It was kind of a nice feeling to go to Camden Yards a couple weeks ago and actually sign a contract with the Orioles," said Bordick, who also was the head baseball coach at Boys' Latin High School for two years. "I am excited and am looking forward to it and doing anything I can to bring winning baseball back to Baltimore, to the organization, and to make it stronger."
Holliday report shot down
Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail vehemently denied a Foxsports.com report Wednesday that the team had offered free-agent outfielder Matt Holliday an eight-year, $130 million deal.
The report also stated that MacPhail discussed arranging a meeting among him, Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Holliday in Austin, Texas, where the slugger is living in the offseason.
"There's no validity to that report whatsoever," MacPhail said.
Early in the offseason, the Orioles had some interest in Holliday, but it quickly waned when they learned of his asking price.
Quiet on Chapman front
MacPhail said that the team has discussed "generalities" with free-agent pitcher Aroldis Chapman, but has yet to make him an offer, and it's not clear if the Orioles will.
Team officials have not heard back recently from the Hendricks brothers, who are representing the Cuban left-hander. That could be a sign that they are focused on other opportunities for Chapman.
Waters heads to Milwaukee
Left-handed pitcher Chris Waters has signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Waters, 29, was 4-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 16 games, including 12 starts, in parts of two seasons with the Orioles.