One of the biggest parts of a rebuild is the ever-changing landscape of coaches, as a team looks to fix and/or fill areas that need improvement. Whether it be at the big league level or the minor league level, there is always a revolving door to find what will help take that next step.
For the Orioles, that is becoming more of a factor as the team starts knocking on the door of competitiveness. In fact, the organization made some changes to the coaching staff yesterday.
The first big change is happening at the big league level, as long-time hitting coach Don Long will not be returning and assistant hitting coach José Hernández will be assigned to a different role.
The 2021 Baltimore Orioles finished 10th in the A.L. in hitting (a .239 average) but also was in the lower third in most offensive categories.
Long had previous success with the Reds and Pirates, while trying to navigate an inexperienced and young team to follow the same philosophy.
Overseeing transformations of hitter Cedric Mullins and improvements with Ryan Mountcastle, while getting Trey Mancini back on track, the Orioles are choosing to go in another direction, as our minor league talent starts progressing upward to the bigs. With a philosophy of plate discipline and patience adopted through the growth of our lower levels, it is time the big league club starts following the same approach.
Speaking of the lower level clubs, the Norfolk Tides will be making a change at manager, as Gary Kendall won’t be returning next season. Kendall has been a part of the organization since 2000, where he spent eight seasons coaching Double-A Bowie and the last two with the Tides.
Kendall will be departing the organization along with Tides pitching coach, Kenny Steenstra. The Tides regressed by eight wins from the 2019 season, as the club dealt with a franchise record 62 players this past season on the roster, including August call-up, Adley Rutschman.
Kendall finishes as the Tides’ third manager since becoming a Baltimore affiliate in 2007, with a 112-157 record over his two seasons. Speculation has already swirled that Buck Britton, who led the Baysox to the playoffs in 2019 and 2021, could be the next manager for Norfolk.
In another move, the Orioles also released former Orioles’ bullpen coach Alan Mills from his managerial position of one of the Florida Complex League teams. After finishing 11-30 for the FCL Orioles Black club, the Orioles have decided to move in a different direction.
As the Orioles continue to shape the organization into a consistent competitive team, changes will be of the norm. The Baltimore Battery wishes all of these men the best with their future endeavors and thank them for all they’ve done for this organization.
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