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Orioles have second half decisions to make

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Orioles have second half decisions to make

The Orioles have many decisions to make as the second half of the season begins. They’ll continue to engage in trade talks to beef up their staff, but first they’ll have to decide what to do about three players in limbo.

A week ago, Delmon Young was designated for assignment. The Orioles had 10 days to trade or release Young. If he they can’t trade him by Saturday, he’ll be released.

Young didn’t play badly for the Orioles. He had perhaps their most memorable hit of 2014, a three-run pinch hit double in the second game of the ALDS against Detroit.

With a roster crunch and few optionable players, Young’s limited skill set made him the likely cut.

His limited skill set is why it’s hard to trade him. While he has played the corner outfielder positions and has a decent arm, Young isn’t viewed as a good fielder.

If there’s a team that’s interested in him, they can simply wait the Orioles out, and then sign him for the second half after he’s released.

A team that signs him then pays him the prorated minimum salary while the Orioles pay the bulk of the approximately $1.1 million left on his deal.

When the Orioles designated Alejandro De Aza for assignment, they were able to trade him to Boston for minor league pitcher Joe Gunkel, but they’re paying about $2 million of the $3 million that was left on his contract.

If Young has no major league suitors, perhaps the Orioles would re-sign him and send him to Norfolk. He could be a useful September bat.

[RELATED Jimenez has success against Twins

Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Minneapolis that Wesley Wright, who’s been on the disabled list since the season’s first week with a shoulder injury, has agreed to extend his rehab assignment until Sunday.

Wright, who was signed to a $1.7 million contract in December, pitched just twice for the Orioles. In eight games at Norfolk, Wright is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA.

It seems likely that the Orioles will have to designate him for assignment, too because Wright has no options remaining. He could be released and re-signed, too if the Orioles have interest.

Then, there’s Jason Garcia, the Rule 5 draft pick, who has begun a rehab assignment at Bowie. It’s his first trip to Double-A since Garcia was pitching in Low-A ball before he was selected in the draft.

Garcia needs 90 days on the active roster so that he’s not no longer subject to Rule 5. He’ll surely be active in September, but the Orioles need to have him on the active roster for about three additional weeks so that he’s officially Orioles property.

Garcia has pitched one scoreless inning at Bowie.

NOTE: Andres Mora, who played 226 games for the Orioles from 1976-78 died in Mexico on June 12. He was 60.

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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USA Today Sports

Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.