Good morning, Camden Chatters.
Please join me in wishing a happy birthday to the Orioles’ new GM, Mike Elias, who turns 36 today.
A major league scout, an assistant GM for a World Series winning club, and now the head honcho for the Baltimore Orioles. Elias has accomplished quite a bit in his relatively young life. I mean, this guy is three months younger than me, and how many major league teams have I been the GM of? None, as far as I know. Good on ya, Mike.
Elias isn’t taking it easy for his birthday, though. He and new manager Brandon Hyde have broken ground on hiring a new coaching staff with a pair of reported arrivals. The first newcomer was revealed yesterday afternoon:
Confirming through sources, Tim Cossins is joining the Orioles and his longtime friend and colleague Brandon Hyde on Os coaching staff. He’ll be in charge of catching and strategy. Exact title not assigned yet. Cossins has worn many hats in baseball. Known as a catching guru. https://t.co/kW2Iqx5w8B— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) December 27, 2018
I sure like the sound of a “catching guru.” Perhaps Cossins can improve Chance Sisco’s defense enough for the former O’s top prospect to have a capable career behind the plate (of course, Sisco will need to improve his offense, too). The O’s also have a couple of other notable catchers in the minors in Martin Cervenka and Brett Cumberland, along with second-year backstop Austin Wynns in the bigs.
In any case, Cossins’ job description sounds a lot like the role previously held by John Russell, who worked with the O’s catchers and had served as the bench coach under Buck Showalter since 2011. So I think it’s safe to say that Russell won’t be returning to the Orioles, which is no surprise.
Within an hour of the Cossins news, the Orioles’ second coaching hire was reported:
Sources: Phillies first base coach Jose Flores will be joining Brandon Hyde's staff in Baltimore.— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) December 27, 2018
Flores spent 2012-2017 with Hyde in the Cubs organization, where he served as their Minor League infield coordinator. He also coached Puerto Rico's team in the 2013 WBC. #Orioles
Again, Flores is an ex-colleague of Hyde’s. And the fact that he’s an infield coach could mean bad news for Bobby Dickerson, the Birds’ previous infield coach under Showalter.
With Cossins and Flores on board, I’m interested to see how the rest of the coaching staff will shake out. Will Hyde continue to recruit his other player development colleagues from the Marlins and/or Cubs? Do any of Showalter’s former coaches have a shot at being retained (looking at you, Wayne Kirby)? Stay tuned.
Orioles hiring Tim Cossins for coaching staff (updated) - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko has a full bio on Cossins, and also reports that John Wasdin has been offered the bullpen coach position. Soon the coaching staff could be up to three.
Inbox: Who will new O’s coaches be? - Orioles.com
More coaching talk. Joe Trezza speculates that former Cubs pitching coach (and Hyde colleague) Jim Hickey could be a fit in that role with the Orioles. Also, Trezza isn’t closing the door on an Adam Jones return to the Birds.
A good start for new regime: Improve organization-wide pitching - Steve Melewski
Elias talks about his staff having a “special sauce” for developing pitchers. As opposed to the Orioles’ previous special sauce for pitchers, which was, like, rancid mayonnaise and pickle juice.
Ballot stuffing: The Athletic’s Hall of Fame voters reveal their 2019 choices – The Athletic
Twelve baseball writers explain their Hall of Fame votes, including Orioles writer Dan Connolly, whose ballot includes ex-Orioles Mike Mussina and Curt Schilling. I’m glad none of these ballots are eye-poppingly bad. I’m sure there’s someone out there who voted for Mariano Rivera and Omar Vizquel and nobody else.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! In addition to Elias, your Orioles birthday buddies include 1999-2005 reliever B.J. Ryan (43), an All-Star closer for the O’s in his final year with the club; 1987 infielder Ray Knight (66), who was recently fired as a MASN Nationals broadcaster after a verbal altercation with another employee; 2012 seven-gamer Bill Hall (39); and the late 1983 infielder Aurelio Rodriguez, who would have been 71 today. It’s also the 46th birthday for Einar Diaz, who never played for the Orioles but spent the past several seasons on the Birds’ coaching staff before moving on to Atlanta this offseason.
On this day in 2005, the Orioles reportedly agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract with free agent outfielder Jeromy Burnitz. A week later, though, the deal fell apart and Burnitz signed with the Pirates. That started a war of words between the O’s front office and Burnitz’s agent, who said the Orioles’ contract had “harsh, intimidating language” about the physical. The Orioles’ reputation for having stringent physicals, of course, remains a running joke to this day. But they didn’t miss out on anything in Burnitz’s case; his career lasted just one more season, in which he batted .230 with a .711 OPS for the Pirates.