Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch on Tuesday laid out the type of relationship the new Orioles front office of executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and assistant general manager Sig Mejdal could have with their new manager, describing the kind of managerial mind-meld that defines modern baseball.
Hinch said he and Mejdal worked closely "to combine baseball instinct with baseball information and where that balance is, and where that breaking point is and some of the in-game decisions are made."
Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde, who according to multiple reports will become the Orioles' new manager, comes from an organization that had similar success adopting such principles to the Astros.
And whether it's he or any of the other candidates the Orioles formally name as their new manager, Elias said he views the hire "not just as a dugout manager but a part of our organization and an extension of our front office," meaning someone who is well-versed in analytics and is intent on building what he has repeatedly described as an "elite talent pipeline" with the Orioles.
The new regime's moves will color the team on the field come Opening Day 2019, but the managerial hire that has hung over the Orioles through the first two days of the winter meetings in Las Vegas will provide the most tangible sense of how they'll do so.
Speaking generally Tuesday about a manager and possibly coaching staff hires that leader would make, Elias elaborated a bit more on the types of people he saw the Orioles employing in uniform.
"I think it depends on the makeup of your staff, but we seek coaches that are fluent in that information, and part of their job — a big part of their job — is to translate and distill that information, not just with every player but to each particular player because they know those players well,” Elias said. “They know their psychology, they know how they like to think during the game. That's a huge part of the job now, and the ability to traffic in that information and convey it in a useful way to a player is a key component to coaching, not just in the majors but also in the minor leagues as well."
Elias was unclear as to what titles the Orioles will specifically try to fill, but pushed back on the idea that a first-time major league manager like Hyde would need a bench coach who had managed at this level before. The front office's role in selecting the staff would be to advise and consent, but it's the manager's call to choose his staff.
"If we were going to hire somebody who hadn't managed in the major leagues, I would still yield to that person's desires and his own feel for what he wants and who he wants and needs around him," Elias said. "Certainly, you look at major league staffs today, up and down the league, and there's certain constants. Obviously, you've got a pitching coach and a hitting coach, and it's important to have a Spanish-speaking coach, and experience is also always sought and desired somewhere on the staff, usually. But we'll see. We'll see who we hire, we'll see what they end up seeking, we'll see what ends up being available to us. But this is very down the road for us right now, because we don't have a manager."