New Orioles baseball operations chief Mike Elias called reports that he has picked Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde to be the next O’s manager “premature,” but they certainly aren’t counterintuitive.
Hyde, 45, is a well-rounded and experienced major league coach with exactly one game of major league managerial experience. He stepped in momentarily for the then-Florida Marlins after Edwin Rodríguez resigned in 2011 and before the team hired Jack McKeon to finish the season.
You were expecting Mike Scioscia?
The Orioles are entering a lengthy rebuilding process, so they were never going to spend $5 million per year for a guy to hold the hands of a bunch of minor league players the next couple of seasons.
If Hyde gets the job, and that isn’t yet official, he would get the opportunity to grow with the team and perhaps accompany it back to respectability. Whether he might still be around when the rebuild fully blooms could be another story.
Remember the last time the Orioles went into a rebuilding mode. New club president Andy MacPhail brought in Dave Trembley to be a caretaker manager before eventually replacing him with interim manager Juan Samuel and bringing in Buck Showalter to take the Orioles to the next level.
That might not be the plan this time. Elias is a new general manager who will bring a fresh approach to the job, but he established himself as a promising young executive under Houston Astros president and general manager Jeff Luhnow, who used something similar to the MacPhail managerial model during his multiyear rebuild of the Astros.
Luhnow let Bo Porter suffer through the final growing pains with the Astros and then turned the team over to AJ Hinch in 2015, just in time for Hinch to lead the team to winning seasons the past four years and a World Series title in 2017.
Whoever gets the job will get the chance to put his stamp on a team without an identity. The Orioles offloaded most of their established players in July and will arrive at spring training in February with major league job opportunities all over the 40-man roster.
No one is going to expect much in 2019 and 2020, so the new manager will not be under a ton of pressure to win. The emphasis will be on identifying and developing the best talent.
Elias reportedly focused his managerial search on a short list that includes Hyde, fellow bench coaches Chip Hale (Washington Nationals), Mike Redmond (Colorado Rockies) and Manny Acta (Seattle Mariners); Kansas City Royals quality control coach Pedro Grifol and Arizona Diamondbacks vice president of player development Mike Bell.
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Though Elias quickly shot down the flurry of reports that Hyde has been chosen, that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to get the job. It’s not like this is pending a physical.