Over the years I’ve written three large pieces on the Orioles management or mismanagement of this organization. Although they made decent choices with Andy MacPhail and Dan Duquette, the issue at hand was that the Orioles still were run the same way from the top.
The one constant in all of this was Peter Angelos who always had the final say in major baseball operations moves. Armed with knowledge that the owner could be influenced, factions developed which caused rifs throughout the organization. I’ve been covering the Orioles since 1996 and never have I felt like the entire organization was going in the same direction. Player development never seemed to be on the same sheet of music with other departments and sometimes not even within itself. Sometimes amateur scouting would say something about a draftee and then he would show up and the player development people would be left wondering what they actually saw. More importantly though, international scouting was always done in a vacuum and on a low budget, outside of the first few Duquette years where he was allowed to go out and get Wei-Yin Chen and Wada.
So the announcement today of Mike Elias as the new VP of Baseball Operations (GM) by John and Lou Angelos is a huge indicator that things going forward are going to be different. We’ve heard whispers that their father was no longer involved in baseball decisions due to his health, and today’s press conference clearly showed John and Lou as the new ownership who conducted the hiring process and made the final decision to hire Elias.
Elias is clearly a smart guy who from all indications is a transparent operator who will surround himself with quality baseball people. He talked about the importance of everyone being on the same page and how scouting and development must go hand and hand. He discussed how the money will now go into building this infrastructure first, and that will lead to building “an elite talent pipeline” from the Dominican academies to the major leagues.
Looking around the press conference today, I saw several members from the previous regime including Brain Graham, Dean Albany, Tripp Norton, Calvin Maduro and Kent Qualls. Brady Anderson was not in attendance though it appears by the answer Lou Angelos made during the press conference that he and other executives will be used by Elias “during the transition”.
Make no mistake though, Elias is the new sheriff in town and I’d imagine he will get the opportunity to decide whether Brady provides value to him and the organization.
No matter how you look at this situation, this is a new era in the Baltimore Orioles franchise. A young, extremely smart and confident GM who has been part of two successful organizations including a major rebuild is now here in Baltimore and is in full control over baseball operations.
It’s an exciting time to be an Orioles fan once again! Now the fans need to understand this is a process and it’s not going to be a quick turn around, but as long as Elias is transparent, I think the fans will embrace this change because now they know the losing is part of an overall process to fix an organization that was in need of major change from the ownership on down.
Let’s give some credit here to John and Lou Angelos. They took their time and although they still appear a little reluctant to be more open to the press about ownership thoughts and ideas, the hiring of Elias signals they are all in on this change.