Brandon Hyde leaned heavily on his contacts around Major League Baseball to put together an experienced coaching staff adept at developing young talent.
The new Orioles manager hired a group of old-school baseball veterans that played key roles as managers, coaches or scouts at both the major league and minor league level.
"I think the people you have around you as a manager are really, really important," Hyde said. "I feel like I've surrounded myself with awesome people, so I feel good about that."
Hyde, however, took the unorthodox approach of not hiring a bench coach. Instead, he will rely on all of his staff to help formulate decisions.
Tim Cossins was hired as the major league field coordinator/catching instructor and will provide a sort of "consigliere" role for Hyde.
Cossins has extensive experience with development and spent 10 years with the Florida Marlins. He managed their Gulf Coast League club (2003-2004, 2007), their Florida State League team (2005-2006) and spent six years as their minor league field/catching coordinator.
New Orioles general manager Mike Elias is on board with Hyde's strategy. Elias said the main focus was getting the right instructors for the different positions: pitching, outfield, infield and base running. The formal titles are an afterthought.
"I think that Tim Cossins and his role will be taking on a lot of bench coach duties," Elias said. "He's got a very close working relationship with Brandon already through their past. There's going to be a lot of guys in that dugout that have already had a lot of major league coaching experience, and talking to Brandon and his style, he likes to talk throughout the game and he likes to talk to all of his coaches.
"I think he'll be relying on three or four people for advice on in-game moves rather than just one person, but we'll see how the structure evolves going forward."
Hyde will also lean heavily on new pitching coach Doug Brocail. A commanding presence at 6-foot-5, Brocail will not look down to many players. However, he understands the nuances of his job have changed.
"I used to be real old school," he said. "But the analytics guys, they've done some [amazing] stuff."
Brocail spent the past three seasons as the pitching coach for the Texas Rangers. He is familiar with Elias after coaching five seasons in the Houston Astros organization.
Brocail also can relate to the pitching staff -- he spent 15 years as a player for the San Diego Padres, Astros, Detroit Tigers and Rangers.
New hitting coach Don Long spent the last five seasons in the same position for the Cincinnati Reds. Overall, Long has 33 years of professional coaching experience and can help provide insight to the game day management.
"I think it's building a culture and really creating an environment where we're relentless in what we do and how we prepare and how we work and how open we are to getting better," Long said of the job in Baltimore. "Every hitter has his own identity: things they're good at, maybe some challenges they have, but we really want to build a group identity. We want to be known wherever we play as a team that's really tough."
The roles of Cossins, Brocail and Long will expand beyond their traditional responsibilities as coaches.
"I'm going to rely heavily on those three guys for game planning and game decisions," Hyde said. "The title thing, for me, didn't matter. I think the people you have around you as a manager are really, really important. I feel like I've surrounded myself with awesome people, so I feel good about that."
The staff also includes:
- First base coach Arnie Beyeler spent the last three seasons as manager of the New Orleans Baby Cakes, the Miami Marlins' Triple-A club. He also served as first base coach and outfield instructor for the Boston Red Sox from 2013-2015 and worked with several top prospects, most notably Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr.
- Third base coach Jose Flores should provide a boost with developing some of the Latin American players. He spent 10 years coaching in the Puerto Rico Winter League. He managed the Cidra Braves of the Puerto Rico Baseball Federation from 2004-11. His team won four national titles (2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009), and he was named Manager of the Year in 2005. Flores spent the 2018 season as first base coach of the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Jose Hernandez has been with the Orioles since 2010 and will be Hyde's major league coach. Hernandez spent the past six seasons with Triple-A Norfolk and one year each with the Gulf Coast League Orioles (2010), Class-A Delmarva (2011) and Class A-Advanced Frederick (2012).
- John Wasdin has been in the Orioles organization for the past three years and was promoted to bullpen coach. He spent the past two years as the Orioles' minor league pitching coordinator. His experience with the organization will be a boost.
- Howie Clark is the only holdover from former manager Buck Showalter's staff, and he will retain his position as the assistant hitting coach. He also has experience with the Orioles' minor league system having served as the hitting coach for Double-A Bowie (2016) and Class-A Delmarva (2015).
The new coaches have brought a new energy level to the franchise. The players know they will enter spring training with a clean slate.
The goal now is to get better each day.
"I know our players are unbelievably energized," Hyde said. "You get that sense on the phone. There's a sense of, we really want to be good. Whatever that timeline is, I can't tell you, but I think we've taken really good steps so far. And I want to feel like there's a good feel from the fans, but I know there's a good feeling from our players."