NEW YORK -- Randy Wolf is on a new team in a new league, and in a very new role.After 14 seasons of starting in the National League, Wolf is in the Orioles bullpen as a left-handed reliever. Hes thrown out of the bullpen just five times in his career.Its different, but I think its exciting, Wolf said on Friday afternoon.I knew that was going to be the role going into it. A big part of my decision was coming here and helping the team, which I think has a great chance of winning.Wolfs signing was officially announced on Friday afternoon. Hes been in the postseason with Los Angeles in 2009 and Milwaukee in 2011.Being in the playoffs the past two out of three years, I realize thats what its all about to play September baseball when it actually means something and every game is important. No matter what the role is, thats exciting, Wolf said.After 3-10 record and a 5.69 ERA with the Brewers, Wolf was released on Aug. 22, his 36th birthday.This has been the most frustrating season of my career, Wolf said.Its been a nightmare year, no doubt.For now, Wolf joins Brian Matusz as the only left-handers in the bullpen. Matusz has a weeks experience relieving and Wolf is a novice. Its not the role for Wolf, its the joy of a postseason push.This is one of the teams thats the best team that nobodys talking about, Wolf said.Theyre finding ways to win every day. Its pretty exciting to see a team like that. Its hard to really put your finger on what it is that makes them win, but as long as they win, thats all that matters.
The Orioles have finally found their man.
After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.
Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.
Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.
“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”
Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.
Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.
Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.
Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.
Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.
The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.
Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.
Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”
Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man.
For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez).
But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"
Elias said no decision made on manager, no offer made and probably no hire here. Called report on Hyde, shown on TV in suite, “premature” #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 12, 2018
Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.
Asked what’s the value of keeping search close to the vest, Elias replied, “I don’t see any value in not keeping it close to the vest.” #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) December 12, 2018