It was not a secret that the Orioles wanted Cubs coach Brandon Hyde as their new manager. Reports swirled three days ago that he was going to get the job, though the Orioles denied it, calling them “premature.” Now, however, it’s official: the Orioles just announced that Hyde will be their new manager.
Hyde, 45, spent four seasons as a player in the minors with the White Sox from 1997-2000, then played in the independent Western League in 2001 before ending his playing career. He was a coach with the Marlins from 2010-12 and has been with the Cubs since 2013, most recently as their bench coach.
Hyde takes over for Buck Showalter, who led the Orioles from 2010-18. Last season Baltimore finished 47-115, posting its worst record in team history. To say that Hyde’s order is a tall one is an understatement.
The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma reports that the Cubs have considered trading super-utilityman Ben Zobrist in order to free up payroll space, which would allow the club to address other areas of the roster.
Zobrist, 37, is entering the final year of his contract and will earn $12 million in 2019. According to Cot’s Contracts, the Cubs project to have an Opening Day payroll of about $204.5 million, just a hair below the luxury tax threshold of $206 million. The Cubs have notably been absent from the free agent marketplace, particularly involving Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, due to luxury tax concerns.
Last season, Zobrist hit .305/.378/.440 with nine home runs, 58 RBI, and 67 runs scored in 520 plate appearances. He played all over the field, logging 100-plus innings in both outfield corners and second base while also spending a handful of games at first base. With Addison Russell serving a 40-game suspension to open the 2019 season, Javier Báez will handle shortstop and Zobrist figures to be the starting second baseman.