Mike Elias has been very busy during his first few weeks in Baltimore. Since being named the Orioles' new general manager and executive vice president on Nov. 15, Elias has facilitated significant front-office turnover, hired a top lieutenant in assistant GM Sig Mejdal and parted ways with the club's starting
Mike Elias has been very busy during his first few weeks in Baltimore. Since being named the Orioles' new general manager and executive vice president on Nov. 15, Elias has facilitated significant front-office turnover, hired a top lieutenant in assistant GM Sig Mejdal and parted ways with the club's starting shortstop and longest tenured player. Now, details of Elias' search for his most visible on-field hire are beginning to crystallize.
At least six candidates are expected to undergo first-round interviews for the Orioles' managerial vacancy, according to a report by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, a field that reportedly includes at least two current MLB coaches. Nationals bench coach Chip Hale and Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde are candidates for the position, per Rosenthal, while longtime baseball writer Peter Gammons reports that Baltimore will also interview D-backs executive Mike Bell. The O's are the only team in baseball without a manager.
Though it is unclear how far along the Orioles are in their first wave of interviews, the process is not complete yet. Speaking at the Nationals' FanFest on Sunday, Hale confirmed he had not yet interviewed for the job while hinting that he will. Given the timetable, it appears likely that Baltimore's search for a new skipper extends at least through the start of next week's Winter Meetings, which begin Sunday.
Speaking on the Orioles Hot Stove radio show this week, Elias called the search for Buck Showalter's replacement "first and foremost" on his priority list, adding his hope to "hit those glaring needs as quickly as possible."
Here is a breakdown of the reported interviewees and other possible candidates.
Chip Hale, Nationals bench coach
Given their commitment to a full rebuild, the Orioles are believed to prefer someone with managerial experience over a first-time skipper. Hale fits that description, having previously managed the D-backs from 2015-16. A longtime coach with the Mets, A's and mostly recently the Nats, Hale went 148-176 (.457 winning percentage) at the helm with Arizona.
"There are 30 jobs; when you get the opportunity, it's a blessing. ... Those opportunities are tough to come by and they're exciting, so we'll see," Hale told reporters on Sunday. "We always talk about rebuild or reboot, but when I was in Oakland, they felt like that was going to be a long, tenuous rebuild and now they're in the playoffs. As a manager, your job is to work that room and win as many games as you can. That's the mindset I've always had."
Brandon Hyde, Cubs bench coach
Hyde, 45, was in the mix for managerial openings with the Blue Jays, Twins and Angels already this offseason, jobs that ultimately went to Charlie Montoyo, Rocco Baldelli and Brad Ausmus, respectively. Hyde managed in the Marlins' system from 2005-09, served as Miami's bench coach from '10-12 and has held that role with the Cubs since '13.
Pedro Grifol, Royals catching/quality control coach
A former Minor League catcher, Grifol was the Royals' hitting coach from 2013-14, and he managed in the Mariners' farm system ('03-05, '12). He has ties to Elias, having interviewed for the Astros' bench-coach opening in '17. That job eventually went to Alex Cora, who became the Red Sox's manager a year later.
Mike Bell, D-backs vice president of baseball development
A member of a three-generation baseball family, Bell was in the mix for the Rangers' manager job earlier this offseason. He is the brother of new Reds manager David Bell and son of former Tigers, Rockies and Royals skipper Buddy Bell.
Joe Espada, Astros bench coach
Espada interviewed with Toronto and Texas, and he reportedly spoke to the Twins before they hired Baldelli. He served as the Yankees' infield and third-base coach from 2015-17. Last offseason, Espada was linked to the Red Sox's and Yankees' managerial jobs before leaving New York to fill Cora's bench-coach role in Houston.
Other potential candidates: Carlos Beltran, Raul Ibanez, Hensley Meulens, Joe Girardi, Manny Acta, Jeff Banister, Bob Geren, John Gibbons, Fredi Gonzalez and Mike Bordick.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.