Results tagged ‘ Mike Elias ’

Baltimore Orioles: I don’t know who’s on third

Baltimore Orioles’ GM Mike Elias said that roster construction was going to be slow-going when he signed on and took the job. So Orioles fans shouldn’t be concerned that things are moving at a snail’s pace. However Orioles’ FanFest is in fact coming at the end of the month; it would be nice for a few things to be in place by then.

Let’s start here; who’s the starting third baseman? In the past this was never an issue, as the Orioles had a guy named Machado. But this year we’re going to see a new starting third baseman – or perhaps a platoon of them.

If there’s an incumbent, it’s probably Renato Nunez. However I’m not sure even he can get that distinction. He was taken by the Orioles off of waivers last year, as was Rio Ruiz, Nunez’s apparent competition for the role. Of the two, Nunez is probably the better one. The Orioles could let these two duke it out in spring training, or even look outside the organization.

There’s also another option, which I’ve suggested before. We talk a lot about Chris Davis and his offensive struggles. Davis has played third base in his career, including during his stint with the Orioles. He’s a solid first baseman, and a decent third baseman. Would the Orioles consider making Davis the full-time third baseman this year if no better option were out there?

The other hidden benefit of that arrangement is that it would open up competition for more younger players in the outfield. The Orioles could simply move Trey Mancini to his normal position at first base. The question is whether or not the Orioles would want to do that or need to. Time will tell.

End of the day, I think there needs to be more of a plan in place for that position than “we might look at several people.” Once the regular season starts, that is. The hot corner is a very important position, which is something that Orioles fans have probably taken for granted at times in the recent past.

Baltimore Orioles: All’s still quiet on the home front

Everything’s still quiet for the Baltimore Orioles. GM Mike Elias is taking some time with his family during the holidays, however it’s doubtful he’s totally unconnected. This is somewhat of an interesting time because you’re coming out of a major holiday (Christmas), and going into another major holiday (New Years).

The entire league is slow this time of year. Heck, the entire world seems to slow down. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But nevertheless, there’s not much news going on with the Orioles and the baseball world. Which means there’s not much more to write in today’s column!

Baltimore Orioles: Mike Elias making progress in manager search

The big elephant in the room for the Baltimore Orioles at this year’s Winter Meetings is the lack of a manager. GM Mike Elias admitted as much in saying that it’s always good to have your manager involved in the meetings. But that isn’t possible this year. Keep in mind that the organization is starting from the bottom.

The names are out there, and recently the name of former Washington manager Manny Acta was added to the list. A lot of folks will remember what he did with Washington and hope the Orioles take a pass. However I would urge fans to keep an open mind. One way or the other, a household name manager isn’t walking through the door.

Lots of sports figures have failed at coaching, only to go somewhere else and hit it big. Look no further than Bill Belichek in the NFL. However that aside I wouldn’t expect a hiring at the Winter Meetings this week. What happens after that however could be another story.

I wouldn’t expect the Orioles to make many waves at the meetings this week until Thursday’s Rule 5 draft. However this year it’s not the worst thing in the world that they’re going to participate. In the past it didn’t make much sense because they were trying to win now. That’s not the case now. So if they can get some talent that can possibly see the field right now, that isn’t a bad thing.

Baltimore Orioles: What’s the focus at the Winter Meetings?

Baltimore Orioles’ GM Mike Elias (and his team) will be heading to Las Vegas in the next few days. That of course is where the 2018 MLB Winter Meetings will take place. Elias will of course be representing a team as a General Manager for the first time. He’ll also be one of the youngest attendees.

Odds are there’ll be no trade rumors or anything along those lines involving the Orioles this time around. I would expect them to once again be active in the Rule 5 draft, but don’t expect any big ticket items coming back to Baltimore. So what exactly is Elias expected to do there?

Unfortunately he’s still growing into the job. So it might be an opportunity for him to just pay attention to what’s going on around him more so than anything else. I know that Orioles’ fans might not want to hear that given that most fans want their team front and center of what’s going on. But this will be a learning experience for Elias, and the fact is that the team still doesn’t have a manager.

On that front, it might be a decent place to continue the search. Maybe even hold an interview or two for all I know. The entire baseball world will be in Vegas – and if not actual candidates, odds are their agents will be there. Ideally I suspect that they would have liked to have a manager in place by now. But the search goes on.

Having said that, if any proposed rule changes are discussed, I would hope that Elias speaks up for whatever the good of the organization would be depending upon the issue. And the fact is that there are a million things which could at some point be tweaked. Replay, slide rules, etc. You never know. Again, I wouldn’t expect too much out of the Orioles in the way of big news at the 2018 Winter Meetings. However needless to say, their new GM will certainly be there representing them as a force moving towards the 2019 season.

Baltimore Orioles: No manager before the Winter Meetings

The Baltimore Orioles and GM Mike Elias are going through the process of finding a new manager. This much we know. But at this point it doesn’t appear that they’re going to have anyone in place before next week’s Winter Meetings. That could change, but at this point that’s what appears to be the case.

I said two weeks ago that it would behoove the Orioles to have a manager by then. I do stand by that statement, but in reality it’s also more important overall to get the right person. I suspect that it should be obvious where the organization is going, and odds are that won’t hamper the organization at the meetings.

I wouldn’t expect Elias to do much wheeling and dealing, because while the Orioles have said that they could be active in free agency, it won’t be big name free agents. Possibly role players who could help lead the younger guys along.

Baltimore Orioles: Managerial search

According to MLB Network’s Peter Gammons and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Baltimore Orioles are starting to narrow their list of names regarding their managerial search. Or perhaps form their list is more the term I should use. One way or the other, GM Mike Elias has been busy.

The Orioles apparently have interest in bench coaches Chip Hale (Washington), Brandon Hyde (Chicago Cubs), Pedro Grifol (a coach in Kansas City), and AZ Director of Player Development Mike Bell. The Orioles are mum on any of these names – the search goes on. Hale is the only one of that aforementioned group who’s commented. At the Nationals’ Winter Fest he said that he hadn’t been contacted by the Orioles, but would be interested in managing anywhere.

Speaking for myself, I’d be apt to look at a bench coach or perhaps a base coach more than anyone else. I recognize that someone like Mike Bell is probably attractive in the new wave of thinking given that he’s in player development. But keep in mind that a manager still has to know X’s & O’s more than anything else.

Player development is something that the organization needs, and I suspect they are and will be focusing on it. I just think that whomever patrols the dugout should have a coaching background. Nevertheless, the search goes on. At the very least there are names attached to the search at this point.

Baltimore Orioles: Does fandom come with caveats?

Be it on twitter, a message board, radio, etc, I don’t think I can recall hearing one fan of the Baltimore Orioles say that Mike Elias was the wrong hire as the Birds’ General Manager. In fact, one theme I noticed was that plenty of fans seemed to indicate that because of the direction that the team appeared to be going, they were renewing their fandom. As in, they considered jumping ship.

So…is this “a thing?” For starters, I do think that much of that attitude is overblown. Meaning that people say that and perhaps they think they even believe it. But do people truly have to be in love with the direction of the franchise in order to remain a fan?

If you would have asked Orioles fans in 2011, many of them may well have thought that the direction of the franchise was the same as it had been previously. At that time, I don’t recall hearing anyone talking about jumping ship. Granted however, while it existed Twitter wasn’t as big as it is now.

But again, do people really consider jumping off the bandwagon if they don’t like where the franchise is headed, or what they’re doing? If people are to be taken at their word, I suppose that they do. Whether or not that’s a proper course of action is up to the individual.

People may well ask if they should be expected to be all in on the team when they don’t think the team’s going to win. Maybe that’s a fair point. But does that mean you “find another team?” I suppose the answer is not necessarily so. Maybe you watch from afar and so forth. But needless to say, I think most of Baltimore supports the course of action that the Orioles seem to be taking.

Baltimore Orioles need a manager in the next two weeks

The first step to the future for the Baltimore Orioles was hiring a GM. They got their man last week in Mike Elias. He’s now obviously taxed with finding a new direction for the franchise. The next step in that entire process is finding a new field manager.

And Elias has pretty much said that’s the priority. However there is an hourglass filled with sand that’s rapidly running. The MLB Winter Meetings are in two weeks in Las Vegas.

The Orioles aren’t expected to be a massive force in free agency. However odds are they’ll need to sign a couple of players along the way. So it would be preferable for them to have a structure in place before then.

It wouldn’t look good for prospective free agents to wonder where they would fit into the Orioles’ plans given that there’s no manager in place. Mind you, hiring Elias was a major part of shaping the future in Birdland. But Elias won’t be involved in on-field decisions, strategy, etc. That’s up to the manager.

So I would submit that the O’s need to have a manager in place or at least an announcement made prior to the Winter Meetings. Otherwise they risk hampering whatever progress could be made at the meetings. All part of the process.

Baltimore Orioles: What if things go south?

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Patience is a virtue

Baltimore Orioles fans appear to understand that a rebuild is a process. And no necessarily a short one at that. New General Manager Mike Elias is the man taxed with overseeing that process. This much we know.

Patience isn’t my strong point. I admit that, and quite frankly I see that as a good thing. In my view it means that I know what I want and I’m not willing to wait for it. But what I’m selling to Orioles fans is to do as I say, not as I do.

Most people understand that a rebuild is a processes. Furthermore the majority of folks understand that the O’s are in the very beginning of that process. However are people truly prepared for the truth of that reality?

From 2012 until 2016 the Oriole were one of the winningest franchises in baseball. Granted the end of 2017 and all of 2018 ended that, it’s a tough thing for fans to accept to go from that to basically being told that they’re going to be rooting for the worst team in the sport.

Again, folks say they understand that. However are they really prepared for how bad the team is going to be next year and in the immediate interim? One has to hope so.

I say this because we live in such a fast-paced world. If you aren’t winning, you’re nothing. Teams such as Boston and New York are going to be winning while the new-look Orioles are flailing in the wind. And once the next generation of stars becomes apparent, are people going to accept being told that the future is bright while division foes get fat off of the O’s?

My hope is that folks do in fact understand and accept that the franchise is going to struggle for awhile. My hope is that the fans continue to turn out to Camden Yards, because that sends a message to the young players that this is a place that they’re going to want to play. Because otherwise…it’ll be a long, cold winter.

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