Chicago Cubs: Brandon Hyde won’t have it easy with the Orioles

Former Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde faces plenty of challenges in his new role as the manager of the rebuilding and struggling Baltimore Orioles.

The Chicago Cubs have officially lost a bench coach to a managerial vacancy for the second consecutive year.

Brandon Hyde is on his way to the Baltimore Orioles after former bench coach Dave Martinez left to manage the Washington Nationals prior to the 2018 season.

Hyde replaces longtime manager Buck Showalter in Baltimore. He’ll have plenty on his plate managing fewer than 50 miles north of Martinez, as the Orioles finished 2018 with the worst record in baseball.

The 45-year-old will face high expectations in Baltimore with plenty of competition in arguably baseball’s best division.

Stiff competition in the AL East

Not only did the Orioles finish with the worst record in baseball in 2018, but they also did it in a division with two teams that won at least 100 games last season (and a third that picked up 90).

The New York Yankees and reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox headline the American League East again in 2019, as both are expected to compete again this season.

Hyde and the O’s may even see a familiar face in their division next season. The Yankees are currently a possible landing spot for star free agent and former Orioles standout Manny Machado.

Aside from just the Yankees and Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays could also put up a fight in 2019. As noted, they won 90 games in 2018 while using their new opener strategy, which they’re expected to employ again in 2019. Competing for a division title could be a ways away for Hyde.

Sweeping changes on the horizon

Hyde isn’t the only new face to join the Orioles organization this season. Baltimore hired Mike Elias to be the new general manager earlier this offseason.

Having spent six years with the innovative Houston Astros organization, Elias is expected to bring some more analytically-minded strategies to Baltimore. That should be nothing new to Hyde, as Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer employ similar philosophies in Chicago. But it could also mean a full-scale rebuild is on the way for the struggling O’s and this likely won’t be a quick turnaround.

A tall task

Hyde is a great hire for the Orioles and could guide them through their rebuilding years and into success. But it’s not going to be easy.

While Martinez entered his first managerial job with a contender already constructed, Hyde will have to wait a while before the Orioles get there. Fans will need to be patient with him, as he’ll have to build from the ground up and establish a new culture in the organization.

But Hyde has joined a respected organization in one of the best divisions in baseball, so if he can get the job done, it’ll be a great spot for him.

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A daunting challenge is on the horizon for Hyde in his new job. But he was with the Chicago Cubs through their rebuild, so there’s no definitive reason to say he won’t be up to the task.