Orioles name Shelby first-base coach
Role of bench coach only opening left in Baltimore dugout
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles plugged a few organizational holes on Tuesday, when they named John Shelby as their new first-base coach and welcomed back two former staff members to new roles.
Baltimore named Lee MacPhail IV as a special assistant to the team's president of baseball operations, Andy MacPhail, and hired Brian Graham as a special assignments coach for the Minor Leagues. Shelby's hiring leaves Baltimore with just one more opening within the dugout, and it also gives the Orioles a visible link to their last World Series team.
Shelby, who was selected by the Orioles in the first round (20th overall) of the 1977 First-Year Player Draft, played 11 years in the big leagues and earned two World Series rings. He batted .258 as the regular center fielder for Baltimore in 1983, and later started for the Dodgers as they made their run to a World Series title over Oakland in 1988.
The former outfielder has also built up a healthy coaching resume. Shelby managed for almost five seasons in the Los Angeles farm system, notching a 291-335 record from 1993 to 1997. He moved on to the big league staff as a first-base coach in 1998 and spent the last two seasons in that capacity for Pittsburgh, breaking a 14-year run with Los Angeles.
MacPhail, who is the elder executive's nephew, comes to the Orioles with two decades of baseball experience. The Baltimore native worked as an intern in his first stint with his hometown team, and he eventually moved on to a post as director of player development and scouting. MacPhail worked in Baltimore from 1986-1995, before starting his baseball odyssey.
After a few years spent working for Texas and Cleveland, MacPhail hooked on with his uncle's former team -- the Minnesota Twins -- as an area scout from 1999 to 2001. He bounced to the Montreal Expos in 2002 and stayed with the franchise for five seasons before spending 2006 as a pro scout back in Minnesota.
Graham's career began with nine seasons as a Minor League manager and two served as first-base coach for the Cleveland Indians. He worked with the Orioles and Marlins for one season each, then spent six years as director of player development with the Pirates. Graham is expected to serve many of the same duties as a field coordinator next season.
Andy MacPhail, whose father Lee and grandfather Larry MacPhail are both enshrined at the National Baseball Hall of Fame, is expected to make one other high-level front office hiring this winter. The Orioles will also look to fill the role of bench coach, which will likely involve manager Dave Trembley reaching out to someone he's worked with in the past.
Baltimore has already changed faces at pitching coach, dismissing Leo Mazzone and hiring former Florida coach Rick Kranitz. The Orioles will retain bullpen coach Alan Dunn, third-base coach Juan Samuel and hitting coach Terry Crowley.
In other news, the Orioles learned on Tuesday that backup catcher Paul Bako filed for free agency. Bako, a 10-year veteran, batted .205 with one home run and eight RBIs in 60 games for Baltimore. The Orioles will also likely lose center fielder Corey Patterson and right-hander Kris Benson to free agency once the process gets under way.
Baltimore will retain exclusive negotiating rights with Bako and any of its other free agents until Nov. 12, which represents the end of the 15-day period of silence after the World Series. Free agency will heat up from there and will remain on center stage throughout December, a month which will also feature the league's Winter Meetings.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.