With the entirety of the baseball world descending upon Las Vegas this week for this year’s Winter Meetings, there is plenty of news to discuss. For Orioles fans, the biggest question that lingers over this week isn’t which free agents the team might sign, but rather who will the organization tap to lead the roster into next season? That question may be very close to being answered.
According to WJZ media partner the Baltimore Sun, the team is “pretty far along” in the process of tabbing their next manager. The Sun’s Jon Meoli spoke to new Orioles General Manager and Executive Vice President Mike Elias who said the team has interviewed six candidates, and that he was “very confident” one of them will be the successor to Buck Showalter. Most notably, he said a second round of in-person interviews may not be needed, suggesting the Orioles’ new skipper could be announced sooner than later.
Elias offered Meoli the following update on the search:
“Last week, mostly, and a little bit beyond that, we conducted in-person interviews with a number of candidates — with six candidates,” Elias said. “It was a fantastic experience, and it’s still a great ongoing experience. All of our candidates were extremely impressive, and one thing that’s been pretty clear to me through this is that there’s a reason that these guys have put themselves into a position to be considered as major league managers. They’re pretty impressive candidates all around. It’s a good choice to make, but it’s a difficult decision to make. I think we have a lot of good choices, and I’m still in the process of doing deeper background work on the candidates right now.”
The team hasn’t released the names of the six candidates, but reports from The Athletic and FanCred Sports have stated that they are the bench coaches for the Cubs (Brandon Hyde), Nationals (Chip Hale), Rockies (Mike Redmond), and Mariners (Manny Acta) along with Diamondbacks VP of Player Development Mike Bell and Royals catching coach Pedro Grifol.
Based on those candidates, let’s take a quick look through at their careers.
Brandon Hyde: Hyde played four years in the White Sox organization from 1997-2000 before joining the Marlins organization as a manager in 2005 with the Class-A affiliate Greensboro Grasshoppers. He worked his way up to manager of the Double-A Jacksonville Suns in 2009, leading them to a Southern League title. From there, he joined the Braves organization and became interim bench coach in 2010 before being named full-time to the role in 2011. After that, Hyde went on to join the Cubs in 2013 under Rick Renteria, and has stayed on staff through the transition to Joe Maddon.
Chip Hale: Hale played in the majors for the Twins and Dodgers from 1989-1997. He then joined the coaching ranks with stops in Arizona (2007-09), New York Mets (2010-11), Oakland (2012-2014) before being named manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015. In his two seasons as manager, the D-backs went 148-176 finishing under .500 in both seasons. Since then, Hale has served as third base coach for the A’s (2017) and bench coach for the Nationals (2018).
Mike Redmond: Redmond played 13 seasons in the majors, ending his career in 2010. He immediately joined the coaching ranks as manager of the Lansing Lugnuts, the Single-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, in 2011. Just two years later, he was named manager of the Miami Marlins where, over the course of two-plus seasons, he compiled a 155-207 record. After being relieved of his managerial duties in May of 2015, Redmond joined the Rockies staff as bench coach the following year (2016) and has been with the organization since.
Manny Acta: Acta has plenty of coaching experience having gotten started in the coaching ranks in 1993, eventually working his way up to become manager of the Washington Nationals in 2007 at the age of 38. Acta lasted just two and a half years in Washington with a 158-252 record in that time. He took over as manager of the Cleveland Indians the following season in 2010 with a similarly tough tenure going 214-266 in three seasons. After spending some time as a broadcaster for ESPN, Acta rejoined the coaching ranks in 2015 as the third base coach under Scott Servais in Seattle, moving into the bench coach role this past season.
Mike Bell: Bell has spent nearly his entire baseball career with the Diamondbacks since being selected by the club in the expansion draft in 1997. He began his post-playing career in 2007 as manager of the short-season Yakima Bears. He worked his way up into the front office where he has spent the last seven seasons in the player development department as Director and now Vice President.
Pedro Grifol: Grifol played nine seasons in the majors from 1991-99 before joining the Seattle Mariners organization as a scout. He spent 13 years in Seattle in a variety of roles before joining the Royals organization as a hitting coach in 2013. He became the team’s catching coach in 2014 and has overseen the play of three-time Gold Glove winner Salvador Perez in that time.
Each choice brings plenty of unique experience and background with him. So let’s hear it O’s fans: Who would you like to see wearing the black and orange and leading the way in this rebuilding era at Oriole Park at Camden Yards?