Willie Randolph accepts bench coach job
Former New York Mets manager Willie Randolph agreed to terms this afternoon to become the Orioles’ bench coach in 2011, reuniting him with manager Buck Showalter, the man who gave Randolph his first big league coaching job in 1994.
Randolph, 56, had spent the past two seasons as Ken Macha’s bench coach in Milwaukee and before that was the manager of the New York Mets from 2005 to 2008.
A six-time All-Star second baseman in an 18-season big league career, including 13 with the New York Yankees, Randolph will also be the Orioles’ infielders coach. Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks made strides defensively this season, and Randolph was cited as one reason for that.
Randolph’s hiring became official this evening, when the organization announced its full coaching staff after months of discussions and negotiations.
With the hiring of Randolph, former Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell, who could have served as bench coach, will coach third base, a position he held with the Pirates from 2003 to 2005. Russell, a former big leaguer, will also instruct the team’s catchers.
Mark Connor will be the Orioles’ pitching coach -- the fourth time he has been in that role with Showalter as manager. Rick Adair, the former Seattle Mariners pitching coach, will handle bullpen duties, and Jim Presley, who most recently was the hitting coach for the Florida Marlins, will take the same role with the Orioles. Presley was also Showalter’s hitting coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The only member of Showalter’s 2011 staff without at least six seasons of major league coaching or managerial experience is new first base/outfielders coach Wayne Kirby. At 46, Kirby, a big league outfielder for eight seasons, is the youngest of the group. He has spent nine seasons as a minor league coach, including the past five as an outfielders/base-running instructor in the Texas Rangers' system.
When the offseason began, former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was the favorite to become Showalter’s bench coach if he didn’t land a managerial job. Instead, Wakamatsu agreed to be the Toronto Blue Jays’ bench coach, leaving the spot open in Baltimore.
Randolph was the obvious fit. He has been friends with Showalter since the early 1980s, when they were in the New York Yankees organization together. Showalter tabbed Randolph as his third base coach in 1994 with the Yankees. Randolph and his family live year-round in New Jersey, so he was hoping to return to the East Coast after two years with the Brewers, who fired Macha and hired Ron Roenicke this offseason.
\With the hire, Showalter adds a trusted friend, a former manager and someone who has a strong reputation of working with infielders.
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