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November 9, 2010

More Orioles' coaching candidates: Randolph, Allenson, Thomson, Donnelly, Bordick

Don Wakamatsu has joined the Toronto Blue Jays and so he won’t be Buck Showalter’s bench coach.

Juan Samuel and the Orioles haven’t been able to agree to terms and it’s looking more and more like Samuel may coach elsewhere in 2011 – possibly Philadelphia, the site of many of Samuel’s best days on the field. Samuel has been in contact with the Phillies about their vacant first-base coaching job and also has talked to other teams, according to his agent.

I’ve been told that the Orioles no longer anticipate Samuel will be part of the 2011 staff, so they are moving on to other candidates. That’s not saying the door is shut, but it is creaking that way.

That would leave two spots open on Showalter’s 2011 staff: bench coach and third base coach. One will be in charge of instructing the catchers and the other will handle infielders.

Originally, Showalter wanted a Spanish-speaking coach on staff, but as his needs and the coaching options have narrowed, he may forego that plan and just focus on the best catching and infielding instruction he can get.

We’ve heard plenty of names. Here’s a look at five legitimate candidates in the running:

Willie Randolph, 56. Yes, he’s a Yankee, and that’s frowned upon in these parts. But he was a six-time all-star infielder in an 18-season career, spent 13 years coaching the big leagues and parts of four more as the manager of the New York Mets. His first big-league coaching job was in 1994, on Showalter’s Yankees’ staff. The past two seasons he was the bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, who fired manager Ken Macha and replaced him with Ron Roenicke. If Showalter is looking for an experienced baseball man as well as a trusted old friend to be his bench coach and work with infielders, Randolph is the guy.

Gary Allenson, 55. The former big-league catcher was in his fourth season managing the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate when he received the call in June to come up to the majors and replace Samuel as third-base coach while Samuel took over interim managerial duties. When Samuel stepped down in August after Showalter was hired, Allenson remained on staff and by all accounts did a fine job as third-base coach. He has two major advantages: He knows most of the Orioles from managing them in Triple-A and he spent seven seasons as a big-league catcher, with Boston and Toronto, so he’d be able to handle catching instruction responsibilities. He likely could serve as bench or third base coach. He’s also been offered the Norfolk job again if he is not included on the big-league staff.

Rob Thomson, 47. Another Yankee, he has spent the past 21 seasons in various roles with the Bronx Bombers, including the last two as third base coach and 2008 as Joe Girardi’s bench coach. His contract expired at the end of the season, and he could join Showalter, whom he worked with in the Yankees’ system in the 1990s, in either capacity. He was a minor league catcher and third baseman in the Detroit Tigers organization for four seasons, but never made the majors.

Rich Donnelly, 64. He has spent more than 25 years as a big-league coach, 14 of it on Jim Leyland’s staffs in Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado. He has also been a big-league coach for the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers. In his third-base coaching stint with the Dodgers, he organized spring training camp in 2006 and 2007, which is a responsibility that often falls on bench coaches. He was a minor-league catcher, playing four minor league seasons in the Minnesota Twins organization. Also a former minor league manager, he could serve as third base coach or bench coach. He was a serious candidate for the Orioles’ bench coach in 2010 before Jeff Datz was hired.

Mike Bordick, 45. A local favorite, Bordick played in the majors for 14 seasons, including six with the Orioles. Will forever be remembered in Baltimore as the shortstop who came to town and moved Cal Ripken Jr. to third base. He spent the last season as the Orioles’ roving offensive instructor and was a roving infield instructor for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2009. He helped out in spring training and at times at the big-league level last season. A former sure-handed shortstop, he’d likely coach third and be in charge of the infielders. If not, he’ll remain an instructor within the organization.

These aren’t the only names that have been thrown around, however. Here are a few more: Bobby Dickerson, who managed at Triple-A Norfolk for part of the season; former Oriole B.J. Surhoff; former manager and big-league catcher Jerry Narron.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 8:59 PM | | Comments (15)


Dan: What is the rap on John Shelby that the O's would go so hard to bring back an apparently reluctant Juan Samuel but not Shelby? Think they didn't really expect Samuel to accept their offer? Think Shelby will land a job this season somewhere, since unlike Samuel, Allenson, etc. he is not being offered another post in the organization?

I'm not sure there was any knock on Shelby. Showalter obviously wanted a fresh group of coaches. Jobs are drying up, but Shelby is well-respected in the game. Hopefully he lands somewhere. As for Samuel, I think the two sides are far apart on financial terms. No hidden agenda there.

BJ , RETURN TO BALTMORE, his workman like ethic is much needed,
a distinct advantage on an off the field.

No one frowns upon former Yankees coming here. That's silly.

Rick Dempsey and Scott McGregor came from the Yankees. This is the Camden Yards mentality. Back in the Memorial Stadium days when there was no Ticketmaster and online hotel booking, we never got overrun by opposing fans. The Yankees were just another team before ESPN and MLB decided that they would stack the deck for TV ratings.


Hey Ed: I covered the team during the Lee Mazzilli Era. A week didn't go by when I didn't hear a fan complain about the Orioles hiring an old Yankee coach. Silly? Sure. But a lot of people around here don't like it.

This is great news! I thought Samuel was a horrible third base coach.

It's a no-brainer....bring BJ back. He was the model player that could instill his passion for the game and his emphasis on working hard every day.

Samuel may be good in the dugout, especially with Spanish-speaking players, but he was an awful Thirdbase Coach. There have just been too many bad decisions running the bases, especially trying to make it home, these past two years. I'm glad he won't be back. I'd like to see Rich Donnelly added to the staff, either as thirdbase or bench coach. He's a great coach.

Should I be surprised that the Orioles are going to lose guys that were preferred because of what is likely pennies?

I think Gary Allenson would be a fine choice for Thrid Base Coach again.
A.) He did his job
B.) He has experience

My question is how come no one from inside the "Warehouse" has mentioned a return for Davey Lopes? One of the biggest complaints I heard last season from not only bloggers, but also from those in the TV Booth that the Orioles don't run. Jones got picked off a few times and Pie has the speed to accumulate some stolen bases but he never really got rolling. That all would change, at least in my "Humble" Opinion if the Orioles hired Lopes.

Also, Bordick would be ok, I think he needs more experience though.

As for the rest listed, No!

Lastly, why can't the Orioles ask about being able to talk to Damon Berryhill, Devon White or Eric Davis? Or even Steve Finley former Oriole who won five gold gloves with various teams?!?!

There's plenty of fish out there! Let's go and catch them up for "Heaven Sakes"!

Willie Randoph would be a great addition to the Os staff. Experienced as both a player and manager, great fielder, and I think he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder after the way he was treatred by the Yankees at the end of his career. He might bring that added edge to the club.

The way the coaching carousel has been turning this offseason just goes to show that it ain't over till it's over. Personally, I don't have a problem with hiring former Yankees. Even Buck fits that category.

Randolph, Surhoff, and Bordick would all be good choices. After that, the table drops off in my opinion.

As for third base coach I’d love to see Ripken take his dad’s old job, but it ain’t happening. Same with Eddie Murray love to see him there, but it’s not likely. Rick Dempsey used to do it and he was a bench coach. Perhaps it’s cruel as he wants to be the manager, but I still want to see him in uniform. Is Billy Ripken an option? Brady Anderson strikes me as a good guy for bench coach. Don’t ask me why. What happened to Jeff Datz?
Showalter said that he was going to build a staff out of the organization’s past. I’ve often said that this team needs to look no further than itself for inspiration. It would be important to me, to see a former great as bench coach and third base coach.
I’m going to hope for Bordick. Again taking the job that Ripken once held, something about it seems Oriole appropriate.


Surhoff might be a good choice for hitting coach. Not much said here about who would fit that role. He'd be a rookie at it, but the guy knew how to hit.

I'm all for Bordick or BJ, but you know, Randolph--even though he was a Yankee, was and is a class act---any of those 3 would be fine with me--Go Birds!

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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