Results tagged ‘ Mike Elias ’

Baltimore Orioles: Draft Day

The Baltimore Orioles may not be playing on the field, but they’ll be participating in this evening’s annual MLB Draft. The Birds will pick second overall, meaning that only one top player will be off the board when they choose. With the status of the season itself very much in flux, the draft adds just a bit of normalcy.

My personal opinion is that the Orioles need to pick the best player available on the board. But who might that be? That’s the question that will be answered, however Orioles’ GM Mike Elias has said that they’ve narrowed their list down to five names or so.

Detroit is rumored to be taking first baseman Spencer Tokelson with the first selection overall. However Elias and company are familiar with the full range of candidates on the board:

We put a lot of work into it. We had met with the candidates in person this winter. I did personally and there are others that we did to that we met over Zoom and it worked pretty well. There’s a lot of background that goes into it other than meetings. The scouts do a ton of background work, we talk with people around the program – the coaches, the strength coaches, the guy in our minor league system who used to play there. Just everyone.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Stay tuned here to Birdland Crush for details on who the Orioles pick. The draft begins at 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles’ GM Mike Elias will not be implicated in cheating scandal

Baltimore Orioles’ GM Mike Elias was a guest on Baltimore’s 105.7
“the fan” (WJZ-FM) earlier this week, and he spoke to Dan Connolly of The Athletic. In both interviews, the topic of the Houston Astros and the ongoing cheating scandal came up. Elias of course was the former Asst. GM in Houston. Elias on his role there:

But I have said, and I will say, that my role there was running the minor leagues, running the international scouting, running the draft. And I was very focused on it. I’ll leave it at that

Quote courtesy of Dan Connolly, The Athletic

In short, Elias is saying, it wasn’t me. However MLB’s investigation found similar things to what Elias is saying. Now he was also silent on whether he knew what was going on. Odds are he would be subject to the league’s discipline had he said he knew it was happening. And obviously did nothing.

However this should put some Orioles’ fans minds at ease. The league has bigger fish to fry than Mike Elias, and they aren’t going to hand him out to dry just because he’s now a GM and he was there in Houston at that time. Elias also said that the Orioles would be doing things the “right way,” so again fans should be at ease that the franchise isn’t doing something that could come up later on and be investigated.

Baltimore Orioles: Minor leauge signings

The Baltimore Orioles yesterday signed RHP Brady Rogers and catcher Taylor Davis to minor league contracts. Both are expected to get invites to spring training. And I would suspect that both have a shot at making the big league roster depending on how that goes.

Rogers was drafted by Houston (when current Orioles’ GM Mike Elias was there) in 2012, and appeared on the way to having a decent big league career. However he was derailed by Tommy Johns surgery in 2017, and was never really able to regain his form. Obviously this is a low-risk move for an Orioles’ franchise who needs to stockpile pitching.

Davis was signed by the Chicago Cubs in July of 2011 as a non-drafted free agent. A career .235 hitter in the minors, he’s apparently very good at framing pitches. He’ll join a large group of catchers looking to break camp in the major leagues with the Birds. Thus catcher will be an important position battle to watch as Grapefruit League play goes along.

Baltimore Orioles: Could the Birds take advantage after the cheating scandal?

The Baltimore Orioles find themselves in a league with two teams that already are and/or will be guillotined due to the cheating scandal in MLB. Both Houston and Boston have fired their managers, and while the organizational discipline hasn’t come down yet on Boston, odds are it’ll be similar to what we saw with Houston. The Orioles have the additional benefit of being in the same division with Boston, a team which again is about to be handicapped for years to come.

Could this help the Orioles in 2020? Yes…it could possibly help them. But more poignantly, does it make the Orioles reconsider their strategy of not going after big ticket items? And by that, I mean via trades.

I think it’s a long shot, but there’s always a chance that GM Mike Elias in effect decides to become a buyer in a sense, and maybe makes a trade for a player currently on Houston or Boston’s roster. Again, I think this is a long shot. But it’s something to consider, and it’s something that I hope Elias would at least give some thought to doing. If not now, perhaps at the trade deadline.

Why should this effect the Orioles’ direction? Those two teams are going to be losing some top draft picks the next couple of years. That will thin out the herd in their farm systems by a country mile. So might they perhaps consider swinging a trade for a major league player right now in exchange for a prospect who could re-energize their farm system?

I suspect that both teams would hold off on doing something like that until after the season starts. They’re both still good teams with good players; odds are they aren’t about to punt the season before it starts. Now if at the deadline things aren’t going well, would it not be something they’d at least consider?

Which brings us back to the Orioles. Would they want to potentially move the rebuilding process along quicker by perhaps acquiring a great player from a championship-caliber team? That’s really a tough call. You’d be sacrificing some farm system depth for a player who probably isn’t going to help you right here and right now. But one who perhaps might have a few years left of team control and could help you to contend down the line. I can’t tell you which is the best way to proceed. But I can tell you that I think Elias would be foolish to not at least consider that option.

Baltimore Orioles hosting first ever Winter Warm-up

One of the big changes in terms of how the current Baltimore Orioles’ management is doing things is that Orioles’ FanFest is no more. FanFest was a treasured event, but for whatever reason Mike Elias and company feel that the team’s efforts in terms of PR and winter marketing are best served elsewhere.

And today we’ll see those labors come to pass, as the Orioles will be hosting their first “annual” Winter Warm-Up at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The event lasts from 11 AM – 2 PM, and will be held on Eutaw St. Rain or shine, apparently – yes, you read that right. Today’s forecast looks foreboding, however the event itself does look fairly well put together.

Parking is free in Lot A, and admission is $5 – or free for Birdland Members. (Non-Birdland Members can gain free admission with the donation of a coat.) Fans will have the opportunity to speak with GM Mike Elias, as well as with coaches. Complimentary coffee and hot chocolate will be served, Holiday music will be played, fans will be able to take a picture with “Santa Bird,” all among other things. All merchandise in the Orioles Team Store will also be discounted to 50% of listed value.

Unfortunately with the weather forecast being what it is, this event will probably be poorly attended. That means it won’t be a fair barometer of how popular the event could actually be in general. FanFest was a time-honored tradition in Baltimore. I do think however that this event will be a decent replacement. My hope is that Orioles fans turn out. See you at the yard!

Baltimore Orioles head to the winter meetings

GM Mike Elias and his team have arrived in San Diego for the MLB Winter Meetings this week. The Orioles aren’t expected to make many waves, but the fact is you never know. This will be Elias’ second Winter Meetings with the Orioles, although last year he had just been hired a couple of weeks prior.

However manager Brandon Hyde will be in his first Winter Meetings as manager of the Orioles. Actually, it’ll be his first Winter Meetings as a manager overall. This shows of course that the O’s are a young team and have a lot of promise moving into the future. Everyone’s young and/or new.

Again, I wouldn’t expect the O’s to be overly active this week. However the one moment to watch is Thursday morning (probably closer to afternoon here on the east coast) when the final piece of business is conducted during these Winter Meetings. That’s when the Rule V draft will take place. Traditionally the Birds are active in that, which is well-documented.

Perhaps might there be a middle infielder on their radar who could plug the hole left by Villar? Anything’s possible. More as we hear it.

Baltimore Orioles: Trust the process

I’ve said this a few times this week to Baltimore Orioles fans: trust the process. Everyone knows the rebuilding process through which the Orioles are going. However there’s been a lot of angst regarding this week’s trades by some fans.

Sometimes sports management can be a line of work that isn’t for the faint of heart. This is one of those times. The likes of Bundy and Villar had a lot of fans in the fan base. And it’s easy to criticize Mike Elias for making those trades if one of those two were guys you really liked. But we have to trust the process.

Elias has gone through this before, mind you. He went through it as the Asst. GM in Houston. And Houston’s won a World Series in the last three years, and have played in two. And Elias has been clear with where he thinks this process could end:

I want to see a playoff team at Camden Yards, and we want to see a playoff team at Camden Yards. There’s only one way to get there, given where we’re at, where we’re starting from. We all know the strategy, the process. This is not easy. This is not something we want to happen again, but coming into the organization in late 2018, with the roster construction what it was, where the talent base was, where we were in the standings — this was the only path

Quote courtesy of Jon Meoli, Baltimore Sun

Elias isn’t coming in here trying to make the Orioles worse. He wants to win, and he understands how to get that done. And it’s not something through which he wants the Orioles to have to go through again anytime soon:

I don’t want to have to see a selloff process again. It’s something that we want to get through, build our organization and our base, and maintain a high-quality, competitive franchise, even in the American League East. We feel it can be done. We see franchises around the league that pull it off, and we want to build that here. This is part of the road to getting there.

Quote coutesy of Jon meoli, Baltimore sun

So we have to trust the process. It’s not a quick one, but history shows that it works. In all sincerity, is there any other way?

Baltimore Orioles: World Series vindicates old school baseball

The Baltimore Orioles hired GM Mike Elias from the Houston Astros, who of course just lost the World Series to the Washington Nationals. However Orioles fans should be encouraged given that Elias brought a lot of people over from Houston, and appears to be setting up the Orioles’ culture in the same manner.

However there’s also a cautionary tale in this. Part of what Elias is all about is bringing analytics to the Orioles. But Houston showed last night that it can’t all be about analytics. You still have to have a feel for the game itself, which is played by human beings.

With Houston leading 2-1 in the seventh inning, manager A.J. Hinch lifted started Zach Greinke, who’s pitch count was in the 80’s. That seemed odd to me given that Greinke had only just given up his second hit of the game. He seemed to be in a zone.

Hinch probably should have gone to Gerrit Cole, however instead opted to use reliever Will Harris – who allowed the base runner to steal second, and then surrendered a homer to Howie Kendrick. That gave Washington a 3-2 lead, which they never relinquished, winning their first World Series.

Why leave a Cy Young candidate in the bullpen? Furthermore, with first base open, why pitch to Kendrick? The hitter behind Kendrick was Astrubal Cabrera, who’s a switch hitter. Whether or not that was the most favorable matchup or not, with one out if you can set up a ground ball double-play you can get out of the inning. Why do these things? Then it hit me: computer analytics.

I’m not suggesting that analytics have no place in baseball. Because I don’t feel that way. And for the record, I don’t think that A.J. Hinch should lose his job for this. But allowing a computer program to decide the best course of action based on probability of success might well work in a lot of situations. But again, we’re talking about human beings here. Things don’t always work out the way the computer says they will.

As egregious as pulling Greinke and not going to Cole was, the act of leaving first base open to pitch to Kendrick is the worst decision in my view. You have an avenue by which you can get out of the inning. Use it.

So the hope is that Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde watches that and that it helps to reiterate the fact that you have to keep your feel for the game. Because if you don’t, you might find yourself allowing the computer to think you out of a game. Unfortunately for A.J. Cole, it happened to him at the worst possible time.

Baltimore Orioles looking to end FanFest?

The news came out yesterday that the Baltimore Orioles we’re considering putting an end to their annual FanFest celebration. It’s usually held towards the end of January at the Baltimore Convention Center, and by my account it’s always been a beloved event by fans. Last year the Orioles said that approximately 8K people came through the turnstiles. There have been years where there’ve been more, and years where there’ve been less.

I think this is a very bad idea. I tell people all the time that FanFest is all of the excitement and amenities of an actual Orioles’ game, without the game. It’s always been a great event for families and kids, and I fail to see the logic in ending it.

Word is that GM Mike Elias and the Front Office is considering another way to engage fans during the off season. So I would reserve rendering final judgement on this until the formally announce that FanFest is officially ending, and then announce what replaces it. However in general, I think that playing with fan outreach events like this is playing with fire.

FanFest is a very old event. It dates back a long way, and it’s something that’s very traditional in Baltimore. Lots of other teams do similar events as well. So ending it would be cutting deep in terms of what’s important to this fanbase. But time will tell what happens. I seriously doubt that they’ll just end it and have nothing to replace it.

Baltimore Orioles trade for triple-A pitcher Tom Eshelman

The Baltimore Orioles completed a trade this morning a the triple-A level. They sent international bonus slot money to Philadelphia in exchange for pitcher Tom Eshelman. The Norfolk Tides may be in some need of additional pitching if and when guys start getting promoted to the big leagues.

Over five years in the minors at various levels, Eshelman has a win percentage of .576 and a 3.06 ERA. I suppose my question is whether or not this is a fore shock of sorts for other moves. I might be wrong (and Lord knows I have been before), however Eshelman doesn’t seem to be a candidate to come to the big leagues anytime soon. It seems like more of a move for depth at the minor league level.

Eshelman was actually drafted by the Houston Astros organization, of which GM Mike Elias was also a member as the Asst. GM. So the Front Office is familiar with Eshelman and what he brings to the table. I’m not sure this is a move that will impact the Orioles directly anytime soon, but nevertheless Tom Eshelman is now a member of the Orioles organization.

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