Brandon Hyde to return as Orioles manager in 2022; contract was extended last offseason
Brandon Hyde will return as Orioles manager next season, according to a person with direct knowledge of the agreement.
The source said Hyde’s contract was extended last offseason into 2022, a year in which many of the organization’s top prospects should begin matriculating to the majors.
“I can’t comment on my contract status,” Hyde said after Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, “but I am very excited to come back.”
That defeat dropped the Orioles to 127-247 in Hyde’s three years as manager, though he inherited a team that lost a franchise-record 115 games in 2018.
Mike Elias, who in one of his first acts as Baltimore’s executive vice president and general manager selected Hyde as manager, declined to comment Wednesday night on Hyde’s contract status, which was first reported by The Athletic, as he has done in the past. He said recently and throughout the Orioles’ rebuilding process that Hyde won’t be judged on the major league club’s win-loss record.
“I will say that I hired Brandon,” Elias said in June. “We hand-picked him for this job because of his skills, because of the relationship that we felt, because of his references, because of his broad perspective across baseball operations from the dugout all the way to the Gulf Coast League and everything in between. He is a partner with us in this multi-year project. We all knew this would be a multi-year project. We knew there were going to be some rough years. He is not being judged on where we are in the standings in 2021.”
This is Hyde’s first full-time major league managerial job; he served as the then-Florida Marlins’ interim manager for one game in 2011. Hyde was the Chicago Cubs’ minor league infield coordinator and director of player development before joining the major league coaching staff in 2014. He served as bench coach under both Rick Renteria and Joe Maddon and was Maddon’s first base coach when Chicago won the 2016 World Series, its first title in 108 years.
“He and I worked really, really well together in Chicago,” Maddon, now the Los Angeles Angels’ manager, said last month when they visited Camden Yards. “I have the utmost respect for him. He’s a really good baseball mind. The players do really respect him a lot. The guys in Chicago really loved Hyder. Not easy, it’s not easy what they’re going through. I’ve done it, maybe not to this level, but I’ve lived that.
“Not easy, but Hyder’s the right man for the job. I’m telling you, he’s really grounded, he’s well versed, he knows the game inside and out, and he’s got the kind of sense of humor that I know that the players can connect with.”
During his time in Baltimore, Hyde’s rosters have largely featured waiver claims cast off from other organizations and otherwise inexperienced major leaguers. The combination has frequently resulted in bad baseball, with the Orioles historically troubled on the mound in both 2019 and 2021, Hyde’s two 162-game seasons at the helm.
There are signs the Orioles’ rebuild could soon shift. Catcher Adley Rutschman, the game’s top prospect, is expected to reach the majors early next season after starring at Triple-A to end this year. Grayson Rodriguez, baseball’s top pitching prospect, likely won’t be far behind.
Six pitchers who began the season ranked among the Orioles’ top 20 prospects have pitched for them this year, each having more struggles than successes. But there’s hope they can use the offseason to learn from it and be better in 2022.
Offensively, the Orioles have seen plenty of positive developments this year under Hyde. Cedric Mullins, Baltimore’s Opening Day center fielder in 2019 who struggled to the point of being demoted to Double-A, emerged as an All-Star and will appear on many MVP ballots. Ryan Mountcastle has surged since struggling in April, putting together a Rookie of the Year-caliber campaign and setting a franchise record for home runs by a first-year player. Austin Hays has used a scorching September to reestablish himself in the Orioles’ future plans. After losing 2020 to colon cancer, Trey Mancini has returned and largely looked like himself.
Those four players figure to fill the top part of the Orioles’ Opening Day lineup in 2022. It’s now certain that Hyde will be the one writing it.