I suppose that due to the Thanksgiving holiday this past week the Baltimore Orioles’ hiring of Mike Elias feels like it was ages ago. We should keep in mind that Elias was only formally introduced one week ago tomorrow! One week should have been enough time to hire a new manager and get the roster square (even with a holiday), right?!
Here’s s sobering question, however. What if the effort goes south? First off, that’s a bit of a misleading question. Because things will go south – for a period. I’m on record as stating that I believe that the Orioles will improve on their tally of 46 wins from 2018. (For reasons I’ll continue to discuss as time goes on.) However what if…they don’t stop “going south?”
The basic question is what if the rebuild fails? Some folks will argue that it failed after the great Oriole teams of the late 1990’s. However ask yourselves; did the roster really turn over. New players came and went, so by definition I suppose you could say it did. However the O’s never truly committed themselves to a full rebuild.
At that time, they tried to warm the roster over in a sense. And that was an effort that was ongoing until 2007 or so, when Andy MacPhail came to town and in essence committed to a smaller-scale rebuild. However they still in name never announced that they were rebuilding – until now.
The difference between what happened in 2007 and at the end of the 1990’s was that the “slight rebuild” actually worked. The results certainly weren’t immediate, however from 2012-2016 the O’s were one of the most dominant forces in the game. That was due to Andy MacPhail.
But what if what the organization is attempting now flat out doesn’t work? By that, I mean what happens if the team in essence fails to launch? Or…is that even possible?
Of course it’s possible. But that question also illustrates why it’s so important to have a good scouting department, strong minor league system, and a good plan for drafting players. (The Orioles will have the top pick in next June’s draft.) And if you take into account the organization from which Elias is coming, there’s nothing that would indicate that they won’t have a keen eye on those departments.
But again, what if despite the best efforts of the powers-that-be, somehow in five years this is still an organization flailing in the wind? Then where do the Angelos’ turn? For now at least, it beats the heck out of me.