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December 11, 2019

Brandon Hyde

San Diego, California

Q. You don't want to use the word "rebuild" this past season talking with the players, how do you divert the focus from that out of the clubhouse despite everything that's going on?
BRANDON HYDE: I think we're still going to talk about improving our club, competing on a nightly basis. I didn't want to use that word because I don't feel that's -- I don't want our players to -- I just want our players to try to compete and win every night and really focus on that and focus on getting better every single day. We have a lot of work to do. We know that. That's where we are right now.

Q. You had an idea talking to Mike that something like this could happen to Bundy, but did you hold out hope that you would have those key contributors back?
BRANDON HYDE: I think I'm realistic, and I've seen good players get traded away in situations like ours so I know that anything is possible. I knew that especially the second halves those guys had that there would be interest from other teams, and that's great for them.

I'm happy for them and happy that they put themselves in that position. Mike liked the return that we were getting back, and I knew that was definitely a possibility. I took the job a year ago, not quite a year ago, but it's part of it.

Q. Do you have conversations with those guys when moves like this happen in the off-season?
BRANDON HYDE: I tried texting both of them. I got through to Dillon. Me and "D" texted back and forth.

Q. How tough is it going to be fill what Jonathan brought offensively, defensively, energy?
BRANDON HYDE: Exciting. Exciting player. Talked about him a lot today, but I saw him a lot in Milwaukee and the tools that he had. Never been with him on a day-to-day basis. He brought so much from, like you said, the energy level; played 162 games; never wanted to come out of the lineup; played banged up; switch-hits; get 40 bags; would have gotten 60 to 70 on a better team.

If we weren't losing all the time he would have had more opportunities to get stolen bases. But the power that he showed also is really impressive. I liked the way he played shortstop the last couple of months. Did a really nice job. I thought he really improved his defense and his consistency in his defense. I thought he became a better baseball player the last two months of the year, so he's going to be a big loss.

Q. How is 2020 going to be different than 2019?
BRANDON HYDE: I think you're going to continue to see players come through our organization. You're going to continue to see different opportunities for different guys. I think that one thing I'm proud of is what we did from a clubhouse standpoint and culture standpoint, and I want to continue to keep that going and improve that.

I was saying today, you walked into our clubhouse you wouldn't have known if we were a team that was in the last place in the AL East. I felt like we were really consistent. I think a lot of that credit goes to the coaches being positive every single day. I thought we had a great make-up group of players that really turned the page well, and I am really happy with the work environment that the coaches, the veteran players, that we all created.

I want it to be a good place to play. I think we did that last year and I want to continue to see that going forward.

Q. You talk about the energy that D. R. Brought. How much can Austin Hays bring?
BRANDON HYDE: I think we saw that the last few years, and we saw it in Spring Training, too. Talent level he has, speed factor, how he plays defense, center field defense, the ability to steal a base and the ability to hit for average and power, I thought he really displayed it well in September. I was really happy with what he brings.

So we're excited about his future and excited about him going forward, too.

Q. As it sits right now, would he be your lead-off hitter with VR going?
BRANDON HYDE: I haven't got that far. I don't know. He would be definitely in the mix, yeah.

Q. In Spring Training you're going to be able to see guys that have been in the organization you haven't seen before. Aiken, Cramer, Zimmerman. How exciting is that for you to be able to see a glimpse of your future?
BRANDON HYDE: I got to see Cramer in the fall this year. That was exciting. I flew down to Arizona to watch our guys play. That's the exciting part right now, is that we had some guys perform well in the Minor Leagues, guys with upsides, and instead of watching them on video we're watching them in Big League camp.

Excited about their future. We're going to be pretty young and inexperienced and it's going to be exciting to see who takes the next step and is ready to compete and contribute at the Big League level.

Q. Joe asked as you reached out with Dillon and Jonathan, but have you reached out, any of the other players reached out to you, after those decisions were made, after the trades to talk about stuff?
BRANDON HYDE: No. They haven't reached out because of that. I've had players reach out to me this off-season, but not specifically for -- after the trade about other things.

Q. You guys got Richie Martin Rule V draft last year, this time. Given VR is not around anymore, does that change what you guys might have planned for Richie for 2020?
BRANDON HYDE: I think it depends on how the roster shakes out and what moves we make this off-season. I was really excited about how Richie improved offensively the last couple of months. Offensively we had a lot of guys improve, and that's what we were looking, for is guys to get better over the course of the year.

If you look at our hitters especially, there's a lot of guys that really improved over the course of the season. Richie was one of those. I like the way he played defense. I know the metrics don't show for whatever reason, but I liked the way he played defense, played Major League shortstop after never playing an inning in Triple A.

So he will be in the mix and we will see what we do this off-season with guys from a free agent standpoint and go to Spring Training and see what happens.

Q. One of the young guys who didn't perform as well as you would have liked was Chance Sisco. Mike was saying he was sent to a hitting school in the off-season. Are you confident you're going to see a different Sisco this year?
BRANDON HYDE: When he got to us he was really swinging the bat well, and for me it was more of a confidence issue. I think he got in a little bit of a funk and had a hard time getting out of it. I was happy with how he caught.

I thought he improved from Spring Training to the last game of the year defensively, and I know there is room to grow defensively, but I know he's putting it on himself this off-season to go to a facility and work on swing thoughts that we had as well as his body.

There was a lot of conversations at the end of the year about things he could do this winter to improve and come into Spring Training, and I know Cossins is going to go see him and sounds like he's doing that.

Q. Hanser played short before he started playing second base for you guys. Do you view him as still be able to play shortstop?
BRANDON HYDE: Yeah, he played a little bit in Spring Training. But if need be -- I thought I wore out Hanser last year, to be honest with you, he played so much. I don't think he was used to the innings and the at-bats. He hadn't played like that in a long time. So.

I think you're going to see a guy that's a little more light on his feet this year. There is going to be a possibility of being able to stick him at shortstop, like we did in the spring or like they have done in the past. But I think there is a possibility of that happening. Really all depends on our roster.

Q. Do you think competition will be a big thing in Spring Training like it was last year for you guys?
BRANDON HYDE: Yeah, I think -- yeah, absolutely. I think it's going to be similar in that there's a lot of opportunity to win Major League jobs.

Q. Brandon, Pedro Severino had stutter steps with Washington and came to you guys. Can you talk about him?
BRANDON HYDE: Sevi is another guy that really improved his defense over the course of the year. Always a catch first, throw, bat second guy, and swung the bat well for us, especially against left-handed pitching.

I like the raw power. Sevi is really strong. I felt like he was coming into his own offensively. He played more this year than he has in the past, and is still kind of learning the Big League game a little bit. Tough to do as a young player behind the plate without a ton of at-bats.

I thought he improved defensively over the course of the year, and he had a nice year offensively. He has big power to center. He's got bat-to-ball skills. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to seeing Sevi in Spring Training.

Q. Talked a little bit about Hays, and with Mancini locked in and with what Santander did last year, do you feel like you had a better grasp of a more consistent outfield in 2020, or is that up in the air, too?
BRANDON HYDE: I think it's up in the air, but I do have a better grasp of our players, though. I didn't know our roster hardly at all, and the only guy I had a relationship with from the past was Cashner, so it's a much better system knowing our system so much more, and having a relationship already it's going to be easier.

Q. Could you envision a Santander, Hays, Mancini outfield being one that is consistent...
BRANDON HYDE: Definitely a possibility, yeah. But there are other guys in the mix. We'll see how it plays out.

Q. Do you think there are particular strengths to that group specifically in terms of their talent?
BRANDON HYDE: I think Trey is an impact bat. I think he's a run producer in the American League and a guy that's going to hit a ton of home runs and slug and be able to play multiple positions.

I think Anthony Santander is scratching the surface of the player he's going to be. I like the switch-hit. I like the corner defense a lot, and you saw what Austin did in center field. So excited about all three of those guys.

Q. Mike said he wanted as many possible candidates for the starting rotation. How many candidates do you feel comfortable in going through when you go to Spring Training?
BRANDON HYDE: I think normally you would like to have eight. To feel comfortable about breaking camp six weeks after the fact; having eight guys that have an opportunity to be in a rotation is the ideal number, right around there.

Q. You knew Rossy; you just went through your first year. Can you talk about him?

Q. Yeah.
BRANDON HYDE: I think Rossy has got an advantage in that he's going to know those guys so well. In my situation, a first-year manager situation especially out of the organization, the first year is building relationships and getting to know guys, and Rossy knows those guys. He has that down and that's already in the bag for him.

I don't think you know what it's like to sit in this seat until you do, and you don't know what your day is going to be like until you do it. No matter what time I got to the park 12:00, 12:30, and my media obligations were at 3:45, 4:00. That window goes by in five minutes because there is so much stuff coming into your office.

You can't prepare for it until you go through it. Rossy is going to handle it great. Huge advantage with him spending time in the media this past year and he's going to be fantastic.

Q. So you liken being a first-time manager to drinking from a fire hose?

Q. Can you describe what it's like, what was it like for you once you were you were on the ground?
BRANDON HYDE: It was a sprint from the time I got hired to Spring Training, because I wasn't even hired yet at this time, so I was hiring coaches at Christmas, Major League coaches, and I tried to call every guy on the roster. Like I said, experience is everything.

I'm going to do things differently than I did last year, I'm sure. You handle situations that come up. I know Rossy watched managers that he was with closely. I watched Joe closely for four years and the other three managers, so I knew what to expect.

But until you sit in the seat you don't know what the feeling is like after getting left on the field or having to pitch a position player for the third time that week because you ran out of pitchers, all those things that happen that you are just not prepared for.

Q. Any of the rule changes troubling to you?
BRANDON HYDE: Well, the three-batter minimum for me is a little cloudy, so I'm waiting to get some more clarification on it.

Q. What kind of clarification? Commissioner said today it's going to go through.
BRANDON HYDE: So once he finishes an inning, what the next inning is like, like he goes back out for the next inning. I'm a little fuzzy on that.

Q. Meaning how many he's gonna face?

Q. Brandon, if there's one thing that you want to make sure you do differently that you have learned from this first year, like, I would like to be better at that...
BRANDON HYDE: I just think it's going to be easier this year because I know the players so much and I know -- I'm familiar with a lot of guys.

I think the one thing is that I'm going to manage my time better between the time I get to the ballpark until BP. Make sure I set aside time to -- I want to be on the field. Our coaches are already on the field a lot. Our coaches work harder with players than I've ever seen in the Major Leagues, so I want to be out there for more of that. I want to be hands on.

Q. I know you are rounding out coaching staff, but team announced Chris Holt is going to have more of a role on the Major Leagues side.
BRANDON HYDE: I'm excited about Holty being around more. I think what they brought in from Houston and the things they put in place in our Minor Leagues, everything ticked up and we did a lot of good things on the pitching side in the Minor Leagues. Holty has a lot to do with that.

So to dive into our rotation and our bullpen, I'm excited about Broc and Holty working together along with the bullpen coach we hire.

Q. When do you hope to have the bullpen coach hired?
BRANDON HYDE: I think we will have it by next week. It will be soon. We just interviewed some guys here, and then we'll talk about it and make a decision here pretty soon.

Q. Even though it's not official, can you speak to what Sanders and Freddie bring to the staff?
BRANDON HYDE: Yeah. I've known Freddie since I was a Minor League manager in the organization that he was the Major Leagues manager, so he treated me wonderfully. I was at Big League camp with him. I was the September coach a couple times, and always had a lot of respect for Freddie.

Kept in touch and stayed friends since then, so I'm really excited about the opportunity to have somebody with some perspective, a guy that's managed playoff games, really good teams in Atlanta. He's also been through a situation similar to ours in Miami, back in '07ish, or '08, with a young team.

So I love what Freddie brings and his experience. Anthony comes so highly recommended by so many people I trust in this game, just the Team USA, base running, outfield, has passion for it. Loved the phone conversations that we had. He just comes highly recommended, and after we agreed with him I got numerous phone calls and texts saying that we had a home run with that hire.

Excited to have both those guys join us.

Q. You mentioned Freddie's experience. It was a talking point after you were hired last year about whether that would be that kind of experience in the dugout. Did you feel a deficit in that stage?
BRANDON HYDE: No, not during the game. I think Freddie is going to give me perspective, you know, postgame, pregame, somebody to talk to during games, also.

But I felt comfortable last year with Broc and Don and Cos and Don. I thought we worked together with decision making, and I love the relationship that we all have. Freddie, just adding Freddie is another big piece of somebody with a lot of experience.

Q. Do you see any poetry in that your first Big League job came when Freddie was fired and --
BRANDON HYDE: Not really, no. Just circumstance.

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