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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Confirming that Brandon Hyde is a good manager

Plus: Player options, Hot Stove warming, and Hyde’s story.

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Division Series - Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

It was nearly a consensus: Brandon Hyde is the Manager of the Year in the American League. He took home 27 of 30 first place votes, while the other three ballots had him in second place.

As a reminder, this is a regular season award. So while Bruce Bochy obviously did a wonderful job guiding his injury-riddled Rangers squad to a World Series title, which included a sweep of the Orioles, his performance in the regular season was below Hyde’s by a substantial margin. The votes reflected that reality.

The voting for this award often stirs up conversations around the value of a manager. How much control do they really have over the lineup? After all, it’s the front office that constructs the roster, not the manager. Etc. They aren’t unfair questions, but they pertain to all managers and aren’t specifically critical of Hyde.

What we do know is that for the second straight year the Orioles did two things: They crushed preseason expectations and they won more games than their run differential indicated they “should.” This season, their run differential gave them a Pythagorean win-loss record of 94-68, and yet they managed to actually go 101-61, a massive difference.

What does Hyde have to do with that? Well, that is up to the above-mentioned distinction between roster construction and roster management. But just think about some of the big things that did happen under Hyde’s watch this season. When Jorge Mateo was on fire, he stayed in the lineup. When he reverted back to the norm he became lefty specialist and crucial pinch runner. While Ryan Mountcastle was dealing with first half struggles, Ryan O’Hearn entered the picture and maintain his role even after Mountcastle was back. In order to combat some starting pitching weaknesses, Hyde moved to a six-man rotation in August. And there’s much more.

It’s been clear for a few seasons that Hyde’s players (apart from Chris Davis that one time) seemed to really like him. John Means has had positive words in seasons past. Trey Mancini always spoke glowingly about Hyde. That alone feels like a huge part of the manager job. The players need to respect you and feel like you are lifting them up. Hyde does that. And he’s been through the wars with this organization. He’s seen some terrible teams. And now that the talent has taken a step up it doesn’t seem like the moment is too big for him.

It was speculated for a while in past years that Hyde might not be given a chance to manage the Orioles once they were good. Well, here we are, and right now he feels like the perfect person for the job moving forward.


Checking on options for some Orioles players | Roch Kubatko
Big league rosters need to have some flexibility in order to make through the 162-game season. Unfortunately, there are some familiar names that won’t be able to offer that in 2023, and that could mean some tough decisions coming down the pike.

Forever a ‘Dirtbag’: Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was shaped by college baseball and a surprising speech | The Baltimore Sun
Some pretty cool stories—and photos—of a younger Hyde that laid the groundwork for becoming the Orioles’ on-field boss 20 years later.

Where the Baltimore Orioles stand as the Hot Stove begins to kindle | The Athletic
There isn’t any new information here, but it can be helpful to look at things in one simple package. The Orioles are in a good position, and other teams seem to think they will be more aggressive this winter. But we need to see that actually happen, and Mike Elias doesn’t speak in absolutes.

5 years in, Orioles GM Mike Elias has a new task: enhancing a division winner | The Baltimore Banner
This is uncharted territory for Elias. So we don’t really know what to expect. My best guess is a significant trade to add pitching. Another winter of half measures to support a team that exceeded expectations would be a real bummer.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Dylan Bundy turns 31. A top prospect, Bundy debuted with the Orioles as 19-year-old in 2012, but would then go back to the minors until he re-emerged in Baltimore during the 2016 season, where he stayed through the 2019 campaign. The O’s traded him to the Angels the following offseason for a package that included Kyle Bradish.
  • John Stephens is 44 today. The Australian hurler pitched in 12 games for the 2002 Orioles, his only big league experience.
  • Darwin Cubillán is 51 years old. In 2004 he appeared in seven games for the Orioles, more than two years after the last time he had appeared in an MLB game.

This day in O’s history

1961 - O’s first baseman Jim Gentile finishes third in MVP voting behind Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Gentile smacked 46 home runs and led the AL with 141 RBI while slashing .302/.423/.646.

1983 - Cal Ripken Jr. is named AL MVP. He had led the league in hits and runs scored for the World Series champion Orioles. Ripken becomes the first player to win Rookie and the Year and MVP in consecutive seasons.