In what has been a rather quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles, for many reasons, new manager Brandon Hyde has begun building his coaching staff for 2019 and beyond.
For his first two hires, the first-year Orioles manager recruited a couple of his old colleagues. Philadelphia Phillies first base coach Jose Flores is leaving his position to join Hyde’s staff in Baltimore, according to Joe Trezza of MLB.com. Also, per Patrick Mooney of The Athletic Chicago, Chicago Cubs minor-league field and catching coordinator Tim Cossins is departing from Chicago to come to the Orioles.
Flores was in Chicago with Hyde from 2012 through 2017, where he served as the Cubs minor-league infield coordinator. He left Chicago after the 2017 season to join the Phillies coaching staff, where he was the first-base coach, infield instructor, and baserunning instructor in Philadelphia for 2018.
With Flores in the fold now, this may have shut the door on a possible return of third-base coach and infield instructor Bobby Dickerson.
Cossins, according to Dan Connolly of The Athletic, is known as a “catching guru.” Also, in Connolly’s tweet, he notes that Cossins’ exact title has not been assigned yet, although he’ll handle the duties of catching and strategy. It’ll be interesting to see the impact he can potentially have on current Orioles catchers, the obvious candidate being former top prospect Chance Sisco.
Once these hires become official, the O’s will have two of the seven coaching positions filled. Trezza notes that the club’s search is expected to carry on into 2019, and they will continue to target coaches with backgrounds in player development.
There are two names to keep an eye on going forward, as the Orioles have offered minor-league pitching coordinator John Wasdin the job as the bullpen coach, according to Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
Wasdin’s role within the organization was soon going to change after executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias hired Chris Holt from the Houston Astros organization to oversee pitching in the minor leagues. If Wasdin accepts the O’s offer, we will know exactly how his role will be changing.
Kubatko also includes that former Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey is available. With the two current coaching hires having former ties to the new O’s skipper, Kubatko says Hickey “figures to be a consideration for Hyde.”
There are several spots still vacant on the Orioles coaching staff, and Hyde has reached out to every coach from the Orioles 2018 staff. Kubatko writes that Dickerson, John Russell, Roger McDowell, and Wayne Kirby haven’t found new jobs yet.
Dickerson and Russell may be the two least likely to return, due to the fact that Flores and Cossins are probably their direct replacements with specialties in infield and catching, respectively. McDowell may be unlikely as well, especially if Wasdin and Hickey are strong considerations to join the staff for 2019.
Now this is pure speculation. But of the coaches from the 2018 staff, it looks like the best bet to return on Hyde’s staff in 2019 is fan-favorite coach Wayne Kirby. There haven’t been any reported candidates to be in charge of outfield instruction. I’m not saying I think it’s going to happen. But, if Hyde is open to having anybody from the 2018 staff return in 2019, Kirby looks the most probable.