Buck Showalter's Brain Trust: The Baltimore Orioles Coaching Staff Next Season
Like most sports, a head coaching change means a complete overhaul of the entire coaching staff. While Buck Showalter used Dave Trembley's crew for his time in August and September to finish the season, Showalter has spent the last few months figuring out who he wants to help him in the rebuilding effort.
The adventure took a bit longer than expected—probably because there were so many managerial spots available—but Showalter finally has the guys he wants.
This is quite an impressive group.
Hitting Coach: Jim Pressley
Presley will be taking over for Terry Crowley as hitting coach in 2011, though Crowley is still very much involved in the Orioles organization.
Crowley will be the team's "hitting evaluator" and will work more with minor league players and won't travel with the team.
Presley spent eight seasons in the MLB, playing for Seattle, Atlanta and San Diego—including an All-Star appearance in 1986.
A member of Showalter's staff in Arizona, Presley has spent the past four seasons as the Florida Marlins hitting coach.
With a team that finished second to last in the league last year in runs scored, Presley has his hands full. However, with the majority of the team under the age of 26, there is a lot of room for improvement
Pitching Coach: Mark Connor
Connor comes to Baltimore from the Texas Rangers, where he has worked since 2004.
Starting as a bullpen coach, Connor was promoted to pitching coach in 2006 and held the position up through August 2008, when he was fired by Ron Washington. While Connor was no longer pitching coach, he has remained a consultant for the Rangers up until now.
Before that, he spent two years playing in the Minnesota Twins farm system, where his career was ended due to injuries.
It is no secret what Connor will be working with in the Orioles rotation. Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta could be legitimate superstars, and Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman could be solid with a little work.
Add Troy Patton, Zack Britton and Rick Vanden Hurk—who are all in AAA Norfolk—and Connor has a lot of toys to play with.
Bullpen Coach: Rick Adair
Like Connor, Adair never played in the MLB due to injury, but his failure to reach the big leagues was perhaps more of a disappointment because he was a third-round draft pick.
Adair has been a pitching coach in the MLB since 1992 (with a 10-year break from 1999-2008) and has been with Cleveland, Detroit and most recently, Seattle.
Working under Connor, Adair will work on helping out the young arms the Orioles have and look to help bullpen guys like Jim Johnson and Mike Gonzalez rebound from seasons that were ruined by injury.
Bench Coach: Willie Randolph
I think everyone is familiar with Randolph because of the amount of press he got being a mediocre manager in the New York market.
In his three-and-a-half seasons as the Mets manager, he had a 302-253 record, and was fired during the 2008 season.
As bench coach, he will be in charge of helping Showalter make sure the players keep maturing and working hard.
Nick Markakis said that last year, people were walking up to the plate without a gameplan against pitchers. That is from a lack of studying off the diamond, and Randolph will make sure that doesn't happen again.
Third Base Coach: John Russell
After 10 seasons playing in the MLB, Russell has bounced around the minors and majors and from organization to organization. Since 1999, he has worked with minor league teams of the Twins, Phillies and Pirates.
In 2008, he was hired to be the Pirates manager and held the position until he was fired in October.
Russell has held the title of third base coach before as a Pirate (2003-05), but was let go with the rest of the coaching staff when Lloyd McClendon was fired.
First Base Coach: Wayne Kirby
Kirby is yet another coach that the Orioles have taken from the Texas Rangers. Considering they just won the American League, that isn't a bad hire.
He was the outfield/base-running coordinator for one of the most aggressive team on the base paths, so it'll be interesting to see how often he sends a speedster like Brian Roberts.
Markakis, Adam Jones and Felix Pie are also guys with a lot of speed, so you could see a lot of stolen bases next season in Baltimore