When the Orioles announced their new coaching staff last week, it seemed to catch everyone by surprise when it didn’t include a bench coach to help Brandon Hyde with game management.
It really shouldn’t have raised any eyebrows. Though major league managers almost always designate one of their coaches to act as a wingman in the dugout, having someone exclusively dedicated to that role would seem to be far less important during the first full season of a rebuilding year than it might be otherwise.
General manager Mike Elias basically said as much at FanFest last Saturday.
“Our main focus when putting together the staff was getting the right instructors for all the various parts of the sport,” Elias said. “So, at the different positions — pitching, outfield, infield, base running — we wanted to get people that have demonstrated expertise in these areas and have specific focus in these areas.”
In other words, the new front office mantra that everything is about player development dictated that the earliest stage of the rebuilding effort should include an all-hands-on-deck approach from the coaching staff.
That makes perfect sense, since success in 2019 isn’t going to be measured by how many times Hyde steals a win by ordering a late-inning squeeze bunt — not that he’s incapable of doing that.
Hyde doesn’t seem too concerned about it, explaining last week that he will take input from at least three of his coaches in the dugout during games. Major league field coordinator Tim Cossins will be the primary go-to guy, but he said he also can turn to pitching coach Doug Brocail and hitting coach Don Long for in-game advice.
“I think the way our dynamic is going to be in the dugout is going to be evolving a little bit,’’ Hyde said, “but I think that I am going to rely heavily on those guys for game planning and game decisions.”
He also can turn to himself. He was, after all, the bench coach for Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon last season.