Baltimore Orioles will have a rate equilibrium moving forward

Moving into 2019 the Baltimore Orioles are going to have a rare moment of balance in a sense between the field and the front office. Mike Elias as we know is the new GM. And assuming that the Angelos brothers are to be believed (and there’s no reason to think they shouldn’t be at this point), he’s going to have full autonomy in hiring a manager.

And that’s how franchises should work. The owner hires the manager, who in turn hires the coach/manager. But last time around that isn’t really how it worked. Andy MacPhail did hire Buck Showalter, who Dan Duquette then inherited. And going backwards from there, MacPhail inherited his manager, and so forth going back.

That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Obviously Showalter had enough clout with ownership and his name spoke enough for itself to where Duquette had to know that Buck’s job was secure regardless of what he (Duquette) thought about him. But while there are situations where a new GM has inherited a manager and it’s worked out well, ideally a new GM is going to want his own guy running the team.

For the most part, that’s usually how it works. With a few exceptions most new coaches inherit bad teams. So lots of times the GM and head manager/coach in fact are coming in at the same time. That’s certainly the case with the Orioles. Whether or not things work out in the end is up to both parties, and of course the players.

Baltimore Orioles hire Mike Elias as their new GM

Not that it’s been any big mystery, but the Baltimore Orioles have formally hired Mike Elias as their new General Manager. Again, I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been out in the media for the better part of the second half of the week. Just covering my bases as a writer!

Elias of course comes to the Orioles from the Houston Astros’ organization, where he served as the Asst. General Manager. He’s 35 years old, and is a native of the region being from Northern Virginia. He’s been seen as an up-and-comer in the industry for some time. So now’s obviously his chance. He’s going to be the Orioles’ top guy.

The Orioles announced that Elias will have full autonomy to do what he needs to do in order to build a winner. The Orioles also said that he’ll be able to do what he needs to do to make the franchise relevant in the community. And I feel that’s a huge deal. The Orioles have long been imbedded in the Baltimore community and amongst their fans. It appears that isn’t going to change.

A press conference will be held to formally introduce Elias as the new General Manager on Monday at Camden Yards, at 11 AM EST.

Baltimore Orioles: Commissioner Rob Manfred extended

Baltimore Orioles’ ownership representatives John and Lou Angelos spent the week at the owners’ meetings. Obviously the big story is that they appear to have hired a new GM in Mike Elias. However the owners also voted to extend commissioner Rob Manfred for an additional five years in his current role.

This is noteworthy for the future of the game. And it’s something to which Orioles fans should pay attention perhaps more so than Elias’ hire. I can’t tell you that I’m against everything for which commissioner Manfred stands, because that’s inaccurate. But I do have serious questions regarding the direction of the game.

Preliminary indications seem to be that Manfred isn’t against radicle change in baseball. And there are a lot of radicle ideas out there, such as seven inning games, and starting extra innings with a runner in scoring position. The idea of ties has also been floated.

People seem to be very caught up in the pace-of-play, and Commissioner Manfred seems to get that. Speaking for myself, I might not be against implementing a pitch clock. At least more so than I would be seven inning games.

I suppose my point is that baseball is timeless. Sure it changes here and there – there are rule changes every year in every sport. But that doesn’t mean that changing part of the fabric of the game (such as nine innings) would be acceptable.

None of this is to say that any of that will happen. It’s just chatter. However it’ll be interesting to see what if anything Manfred decides to do with his newfound tenure.

Baltimore Orioles: Commissioner Rob Manfred extended

Baltimore Orioles’ ownership representatives John and Lou Angelos spent the week at the owners’ meetings. Obviously the big story is that they appear to have hired a new GM in Mike Elias. However the owners also voted to extend commissioner Rob Manfred for an additional five years in his current role.

This is noteworthy for the future of the game. And it’s something to which Orioles fans should pay attention perhaps more so than Elias’ hire. I can’t tell you that I’m against everything for which commissioner Manfred stands, because that’s inaccurate. But I do have serious questions regarding the direction of the game.

Preliminary indications seem to be that Manfred isn’t against radicle change in baseball. And there are a lot of radicle ideas out there, such as seven inning games, and starting extra innings with a runner in scoring position. The idea of ties has also been floated.

People seem to be very caught up in the pace-of-play, and Commissioner Manfred seems to get that. Speaking for myself, I might not be against implementing a pitch clock. At least more so than I would be seven inning games.

I suppose my point is that baseball is timeless. Sure it changes here and there – there are rule changes every year in every sport. But that doesn’t mean that changing part of the fabric of the game (such as nine innings) would be acceptable.

None of this is to say that any of that will happen. It’s just chatter. However it’ll be interesting to see what if anything Manfred decides to do with his newfound tenure.

Baltimore Orioles: Mike Elias to be named Birds’ GM

The Baltimore Orioles apparently have their new head man in the front office. Mike Elias, the Asst. General Manager in Houston, appears to be the choice, as first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The move isn’t yet official, but it’s happening.

Elias has a strong background in scouting, and has worked for several different organizations. If you’re going to poach front office talent from any organization, you may as well do it from one of the more recently successful ones in Houston. Elias has met with John and Lou Angelos on various occasions. The brothers are at the owners meetings currently, which could be why the team’s hesitating just a bit to make the move official.

This move could well represent a move towards a more analytical approach to the game, which was lacking in the recent past. Elias will of course hire the next manager, and it’ll be interesting to see if he finds that person in the Houston organization. Time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: Mike Elias to be named Birds’ GM

The Baltimore Orioles apparently have their new head man in the front office. Mike Elias, the Asst. General Manager in Houston, appears to be the choice, as first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The move isn’t yet official, but it’s happening.

Elias has a strong background in scouting, and has worked for several different organizations. If you’re going to poach front office talent from any organization, you may as well do it from one of the more recently successful ones in Houston. Elias has met with John and Lou Angelos on various occasions. The brothers are at the owners meetings currently, which could be why the team’s hesitating just a bit to make the move official.

This move could well represent a move towards a more analytical approach to the game, which was lacking in the recent past. Elias will of course hire the next manager, and it’ll be interesting to see if he finds that person in the Houston organization. Time will tell.

Baltimore Orioles: What’s a reasonable win total in 2019? (updated)

The Baltimore Orioles had an historically bad record in 2018 – this much we know. The good news for whomever the next manager is will be that there’s nowhere to go but up. In theory. But when we look to next season, what’s a reasonable number of wins that we can or should expect from the 2019 Orioles.

First off it’s tough to predict that in November. Nobody can possibly know the answer to that before the roster is construed. However there a few tangible things that we can deduce. This season the Orioles had Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, neither of whom had much in the way of spring outings. Cashner signed a bit earlier than Cobb, so he actually got a spring start. Cobb didn’t, and went to extended spring training until mid-April before joining the Orioles.

Both of these pitchers struggled out of the gate in 2018. As time went on they corrected themselves, but of course they eventually produced quality starts that were losses because the bats couldn’t get untracked. But as time went on they slowly corrected themselves.

So I would submit that spring games and workouts are of supreme importance to pitchers (or to anyone). Thus regardless of the the makeup of the team, who the manager is, etc, those two will have a full slate of spring games and workouts next year. I suspect that’ll make for a smoother transition into the season, and hopefully a few more wins early.

The O’s also had some major injuries last year, such as Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Darren O’Day going down early. And if that wasn’t enough, one of O’Day’s replacements, Richard Bleier, was also done for the season early with an injury.

Trumbo and Bleier are obviously the only ones still on the team. But you have to assume that the injury bug perhaps won’t bite the Birds again in 2019. Furthermore does the law of averages not suggest that Chris Davis SHOULD be at least marginally better next year?!

Do all of these factors add up to a lot more wins? Probably not. But I do believe that when all’s said and done the 2019 Orioles will have more wins than the 2018 version did. But we can’t say for sure.

UPDATE (7:20 AM): USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported overnight that the Orioles are expected to hire Houston Asst. GM Mike Elias as their new General Manager. No word on a timeline, but that’s the word on the street. More as it comes!

Baltimore Orioles: Battle for Sarasota?

Yesterday I wrote about the Baltimore Orioles and their spring training experience. As I said, Ed Smith Stadium is second to none. It’s the best spring training experience in the league. And that’s a good thing for the Orioles for more than one reason.

In 2020 the Birds will begin sharing Sarasota with the Atlanta Braves. They’re building a new spring facility in the area, as 2019 will be their last year in their current facility in Orlando. How does that affect the O’s?

As I said yesterday, the Orioles have embraced Sarasota and Sarasota has embraced the Orioles since the partnership began. They’re very much embedded in the local community, and it’s very much a grass roots partnership. Local businesses purchase season tickets for Grapefruit League play, and local residents flock to games. Will Atlanta eat into that revenue?

The obvious answer is that the presence of another team in town will have an affect. But it’s up to the Orioles how big an effect it will have. They need to keep up their presence in the Sarasota community, and if anything step it up. If they’re able to do so, hopefully the community still stands behind them when the Braves come.

One thing that will change for the better will be the spring training schedule. With another team in the immediate market, the Orioles should be able to schedule easy road games in terms of their travel schedule. In 2020, that is.

Baltimore Orioles: Best in baseball in one category

The Baltimore Orioles are the best in baseball. In one area…fool you for a moment there, didn’t I?! But seriously, there is one part of their organization which is truly second to none: their spring training operation.

For years the Orioles trained in Fort Lauderdale, in a facility that was crumbling to the ground before their very eyes. Teams had no urge to come there to play the Orioles, who in turn had to struggle to scrimp together a home schedule in the Florida Grapefruit League. Then in 2010 everything changed.

That year the Orioles moved their spring training to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL. The park and the surrounding facilities were almost as antiquated as the Birds’ former facility in Fort Lauderdale – almost as antiquated. But the Orioles got an immediate upgrade in spring facilities when they moved there.

The O’s renovated the facility over a few years, and Ed Smith Stadium is now one of the best if not THE best spring training park in baseball. I’ve never heard anyone who’s been there say anything to the contrary. That goes for media, fans, and players. It’s a first class facility.

Whereas when they were in Fort Lauderdale the O’s had to beg teams to come play them, now it’s almost the exact opposite. Teams line up to come to Sarasota to play the Orioles. Some teams such as Pittsburgh and Toronto come in two or three times during Grapefruit League play.

That’s a testament to the Orioles’ organization that it’s such a great facility. Not only do teams want to come in and play them, but the fans come as well. The O’s have set and broken attendance records at Ed Smith Stadium over time. And the local Sarasota community has embraced the Orioles as well, and in turn the O’s have stepped up in the Sarasota community. It’s a great partnership.

Sadly the play on the field won’t be good at Camden Yards for some time. But BOTH Camden Yards and Ed Smith Stadium are facilities of which Orioles fans can be proud.

Baltimore Orioles: What are Baltimore fans to do?

The Baltimore Orioles have been in rebuild mode since the beginning of the summer. Officially, anyways. Many would argue they’ve been in rebuild mode for longer. Perhaps since the 2016 AL Wild Card game. But I digress.

We can assume that the Orioles will be in rebuild mode for some time. This much we know. However I’m on record as saying that I’m really looking forward to the 2019 Florida Grapefruit League season. It’ll be a chance for the fans to see what they have in the new team.

However of late we’ve seen an Oriole-like decline in the Birds’ NFL counterpart, the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore’s football birds are on a bye this week, and it really couldn’t have come at a better time. There are all kinds of rumors about the Ravens and where they go after the bye – meaning head coach and quarterback. However I also believe that you don’t make any draconian decisions in terms of ripping your team down until after you’re eliminated from playoff contention. Until that happens, you owe your fans and your city to make every effort to win games.

But you’d be hard-pressed to look at the Ravens and argue that they aren’t on the verge of a full tear-down and rebuild – similar to what the Orioles are going through. Does that mean that head coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco are done? If it’s a full rebuild, odds are that’s exactly what it means. Whether or not that’s the right thing to do is another story, and is up to the beholder.

However Baltimore fans could be in for a world of pain in a sense, with both professional franchises rebuilding at the same time. (This assuming that the Ravens end up in that same boat at some point in the near future.) In the past when the Orioles had bad seasons at least fans could always look forward to September when the Ravens would kick off. If rebuilding is in their future, September will simply bring another painful season.

I think that the difference is that first off baseball’s much more of a grind than the NFL. It’s literally everyday from spring training until the end of September. Football at least is only once a week. However the NFL is set up for teams to go from contending, to rebuilding, and to contending again in a much shorter timeframe. So at least Baltimore fans have that.

In the interim, my recommendation is for people to just sit back and enjoy the games. Sure there’ll be some lean years in the immediate future. But Oriole Park at Camden Yards is still a great place to spend a summer evening or afternoon with your family. As is M & T Bank Stadium during football season. And if nothing else, Baltimore does stadiums the right way. Possibly better than any other city. At least you can sit back and enjoy a crab cake and a cold beer while waiting for a winner!

%d bloggers like this: