Life on farm: Thrift, Trebelhorn reassigned Former head to aid Wren

ex-Brewers boss promoted

November 13, 1998|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

In the latest rumblings to come from a front-office shake-up that began soon after a disappointing season grinded to a halt, the Orioles will name Syd Thrift as a special assistant to new general manager Frank Wren and promote Tom Trebelhorn to director of player development.

Thrift had spent the past four seasons in that post, which he assumed on Oct. 31, 1994. During that time, he helped to revive the Orioles' minor-league system after a dormant period caused, in part, by the loss of draft choices from the club's increased activity in the free-agent market.

The 1997 draft, which yielded high school catcher Jayson Werth and outfielder Darnell McDonald in the first round and hard-throwing left-hander Matt Riley in the third, was rated among the top three by Baseball America. And eight of the Orioles' minor-leaguers made their respective leagues' Top 10 Prospects list this year.

Thrift, 69, returned to Baltimore last night from Naples, Fla., where he attended the general manager meetings, and couldn't be reached for comment.

Trebelhorn's resume includes managerial stints with the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs, but he's never served as farm director. He had been the Orioles' minor-league coordinator of instruction for the last three years, putting together spring vTC training and instructional league programs and "making sure each level was doing the things the organization agreed upon, the important elements of development." He'll turn 51 in January.

"This is a new challenge," said Trebelhorn, who is in Arizona this week monitoring some of the Orioles' prospects in the fall league. "I certainly can't do the things Syd does, and I never said I wanted to. I envision this more as a nuts-and-bolts baseball job, still mostly on-field. I look at it as an expansion of my old duties. I know that's how Frank envisions it. I'll be more of an old-school farm director instead of an office farm director."

Trebelhorn said he has no intention of pursuing another managerial job. "If I did, I'd be managing at Triple-A right now," he said.

"I had my run at it and it was very enjoyable, but it takes a certain commitment and a burning internal desire."

Wren still must find an assistant GM and a scouting director, openings that were created when Kevin Malone bolted to Los Angeles to become the Dodgers' GM and the contract of Gary Nickels wasn't renewed.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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