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Orioles looking for replacement for Hale at third base


Orioles looking for replacement for Hale at third base

Six weeks ago after the Orioles season ended, manager Buck Showalter lauded his coaching staff, saying it was the best staff he had ever had. He was confident that all six coaches would be back.

Now, it appears that five will be back, but one won’t. Reportedly, third base coach DeMarlo Hale will soon sign a three-year contract with the Toronto Blue Jays to become John Gibbons’ bench coach.

Showalter badly wanted Hale back, but he also had been busily promoting him as a managerial candidate.

A three-year contract is most unusual for coaches, and it’s something the Orioles couldn’t offer. Showalter is signed only through next season, and even if he receives a two-year extension, which could come before the end of the year, Hale wouldn’t get a three-year deal.

Hale’s work with the Orioles was widely lauded. He worked well with advance scout Ben Werthan on positioning infield defense. If Toronto’s defense and record improves, it puts the long-deserving Hale in position for a managerial job next winter.

Gibbons hasn’t always been popular with his players, and if his tenure is a short one, then maybe Hale succeeds him.

It’s time for the annual Orioles coaching search. Whoever succeeds Hale will be Showalter’s fifth third base coach since Aug. 2010.

Gary Allenson was coaching third then. He replaced Juan Samuel, who managed for two months before Showalter arrived.

Showalter wanted to replace the entire coaching staff after 2010 and bring in his own people. The Orioles did talk with Samuel about returning, but couldn’t come to terms with him.

John Russell was hired instead, but by June, he had been moved to the bench and Willie Randolph was moved to third base. Russell made some questionable calls, and the move was attributed to a knee injury.

Randolph wanted to be in the dugout, chafed at his role and wasn’t retained. Hale, who had worked with Showalter in Texas, replaced him.

The logical move for the Orioles is to replace Hale with Norfolk manager Ron Johnson. His work with an ever-changing team was widely praised, and he’s been a major league coach before. Johnson and Hale worked together in Boston under Terry Francona.

After last season, Showalter toyed with the idea of moving first base coach Wayne Kirby to third base. He could consider that again and bring in Johnson or another organizational favorite, Bobby Dickerson, who has filled in as Orioles bullpen coach. Dickerson, a roving minor league instructor, traveled with the team late last season.

Predicting Showalter coaches is often a tricky exercise. When he was selecting a new staff two years ago, the betting was that he would bring in Brian Butterfield as third base coach, Don Wakamatsu as bench coach and Mark Connor to be pitching coach.

Butterfield and Wakamatsu didn’t come. Connor did, but abruptly left in June. Bullpen coach Rick Adair replaced Connor as pitching. Adair remains though the Orioles have not officially announced that they’ve retained either him or hitting coach Jim Presley.

Hale will replace Wakamatsu as bench coach in Toronto. Butterfield has moved on to Boston. Wakamatsu could be coming to Baltimore, but his experience is working with catchers, not infielders. Russell has done a fine job with Matt Wieters.

The Orioles could consider Mike Bordick. He worked with the infielders last season, sometimes before broadcasting games. The downside is that Bordick has no major league coaching experience.

There are a number of experienced third base coaches looking for work. Larry Bowa, a former major league manager, who interviewed in Houston, and is currently working for the MLB Network and longtime Orioles coach and one-time manager Sam Perlozzo, who was let go by Philadelphia, are available, as is Pete Mackanin, who coached with Perlozzo with the Phillies. Mackanin briefly managed Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.




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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.


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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.

The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning. 

After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.

This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.

The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.  

Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.

Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.

The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.