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If Mike Elias Is Looking For Experienced Manager For Orioles, An Option Could Be ...

December 3, 2018
Information on the Orioles' managerial search has been about the same as it was for the hunt for a general manager until the very last hours -- in other words sketchy at best, non-existent for the most part.

However, as candidates for interviews begin to filter out, at least a couple of omissions are noteworthy.

The press release naming Mike Elias the new baseball sheriff in town had hardly been written before there was widespread speculation that Houston Astros bench coach Joe Espada would be the next passenger on the Houston-Baltimore line. A prominent name among the new wave of young bench coaches, Espada had been the New York Yankees' third base coach the previous from 2015-2017. He replaced Alex Cora, who had left to manage the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

But as information leaks out about Elias' possible interview candidates, Espada's name has seemingly gone to the back burner -- with ample speculation that the Orioles' rebuild job is not the best spot for a rising star. There is also the possibility that Elias is simply weighing other candidates against someone with whom he's already familiar.

Bench coaches Chip Hale (Washington Nationals) and Brandon Hyde (Chicago Cubs) are among the names that have surfaced along with Pedro Grifol, who is the quality control coach for the Kansas City Royals, and Mike Bell, the Arizona Diamondbacks' director of player development.

If Elias is looking for someone with experience at just about every level of the game, a top candidate would be the bench coach of the reigning World Series champions -- Ron Roenicke. Elias' background doesn't show any obvious relationship with the younger brother of ex-Oriole outfielder Gary Roenicke, but the fact that Cora, who preceded Espada as Astros' bench coach, tabbed Roenicke as one of his first hires a year ago probably counts for some style points at least.

Along with his own big league career, Roenicke's resume, in addition to an extensive stretch as minor league coach and manager, includes stints as third base and bench coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels and three-plus years as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, including a 96-66 record in 2012.

Roenicke is far more experienced in all facets of the game than anybody who has been mentioned thus far -- which in baseball's new age is not necessarily an advantage. But as analytics more and more becomes an essential part of the industry's overall strategy it is almost impossible to survive without a willingness to embrace baseball's move into the 21st century.

While Roenicke would appear to be at least a logical interview candidate, until his name surfaces it's likely he'll continue to fly under the radar.

Jim Henneman can be reached at JimH@pressboxonline.comĀ 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox