By Stan "The Fan" Charles
Buck Showalter may not have gotten the Alex Rodriguez or Victor Martinez he wished for this holiday season, but the wishes he was granted make a nice gift for Orioles fans next season: a new coaching staff.
The last two remaining pieces are in the fold and have apparently even agreed to positions and titles: John Russell will be the clubs' new third base coach and Willie Randolph comes in as infield instructor and bench coach.
The two join previously-leaked names Wayne Kirby (first base), Mark Connor (pitching), Jim Pressley (batting) and Rick Adair (bullpen) in what amounts to a full facelift of the O's coaching staff.
Clearly this isn't exactly the group Showalter set out to hire. Brian Butterfield and Don Wakamatsu would have had the Russell and Randolph spots had they not signed on in Toronto with the Jay's new skipper John Farrell.
There was even a brief dalliance with Juan Samuel, who prematurely announced he'd been asked to come back by Showalter only to find himself in Philadelphia as salary negotiations with the Birds stalled.
Showalter's new staff has some deep depth. He now has the pitching coach he wants in Connor, and has a highly-respected former major league pitching coach in Adair in his bullpen.
Additionally, he adds two former big league skippers to his staff in Randolph and Russell, which speaks volumes about Showalter's confidence in himself. Phil Regan, Lee Mazzilli, Dave Trembley or Sam Perlozzo wouldn't have dared have real competitors looking over their shoulders.
The good news about the coaching staff came just in time for Thanksgiving, but was mixed with the less than good news of the O's failure in their aggressive bid to sign catcher/first baseman Martinez.
MacPhail stepped up with a four-year $48 million dollar deal, and the Tigers came away with the prize for just $2 million more. It appears the Orioles weren't given the opportunity to match, leading to speculation Martinez wanted to go to Detroit all along.
Posted Nov. 24, 2010