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November 23, 2010

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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Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:02 PM | | Comments (12)


funny how Showalter decided to clean house of old Orioles or coaches with ties here. The fans clamored for bringing back old players but Showalter decided to get good baseball people and get rid of the same old thing.

Good job.

Maybe the old Oriole coaches were well liked, but someone needed to make a real change. And, replacing much of them with coaches who have had significant major league experience will be a benefit. Many of them seems to have been maganers at one point or another, which will be interesting.

New broom sweeps clean. I would have liked to see Surhoff and/or Bordick but Buck has assembled a good experienced staff. Now its the players turn to listen and learn. I'm optimistic...then again, its only Thanksgiving.

I hope he can play shortstop, because the only people Andy seems to sign is coaches. We will need Willie in the field the way Andy moves.

Not a former Oriole in the bunch.


Welcome to Baltimore Willie. I'm excited to see so many new, quality coaches on the Orioles.

and you can bet he will be roundly criticized for it too. Ya just cannot please some folks.

Go O's!

Showalter is taking control of this team. I'm going to hire who I want to hire.

out with the with the new...i'm not complaining....i like these moves...

It would have been nice to have a tie to the past but nostalgia does not win games and many of these guys were big league managers which indicates a level of success unprecedented for any recent coaching staff. so overall I like the looks of things for next year. now if only we can get a power hitter to protect Jones and Markakis and gang.

Things are moving in the right direction. You need to know what to expect from your staff. Buck is making his job goals easier to accomplish by sticking with his own people.

I love our O's oldtimers like
Flanny , Crow , Shelby , etc , but nostalgia wasnt getting O's anywhere on the field or in the standings .

As a reward for breaking O's annual late season collaspes , Buck should be given his own choices on his staff makeups , even if they are former Yankees =)

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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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