The Orioles made the expected announcement today, that Mike Elias will head up their baseball operations, and they made it clear that his leadership and vision will take this team through the rebuilding process. He is the top decision maker.
Elias’ title is executive vice president and general manager. A club announcement states that “Elias will oversee all baseball operations for the club and have full autonomy to build his staff and make decisions on all baseball matters that he believes will make the Orioles successful on the field, entertaining to fans and impactful in the community.”
In Elias, the Orioles get a young up-and-comer in the industry, who will turn 36 next month. He got his start in pro baseball as a scout with the St. Louis Cardinals and worked his way up to scouting director and later assistant GM on his way to today, when he heads up baseball operations for the Orioles.
He no doubt brings a lot to the table for the Orioles, including someone involved in extensive use of analytics in Houston and someone who was part of the rebuilding of a team from the depths to the highest high. When he joined the Houston Astros in early 2012 he saw Astros teams that lost 107 and 111 games in his first two seasons there. The last two years, those teams won 101 and 103 games and won the 2017 World Series.
Been there, done that.
Elias’ hire figures to excite much of Birdland if early reaction to his addition is a barometer. Birdland needed a pick-me-up after a 115-loss season. Some of the great fans of the Orioles have been looking for hope for the future and they got some today.
There is no guarantee that Elias will have success in Baltimore. But he certainly seems to have the full confidence of ownership and that is a great start. He is well versed in domestic and international scouting and that is big. The analytics element is big. Houston and St. Louis are forward-thinking organizations and he should bring some of that to Baltimore. In some respects, it will be overdue and much needed.
Among his first acts will be to begin the process to hire the Orioles’ new manager. But the fact that the new GM is doing the hiring provides the near certainty that the GM and manager will almost always be on the same page. We know that wasn’t always the case as the Orioles fell to the bottom of the sport, starting late in the 2017 season.
We’ve heard some call this a new day in Baltimore. From the top levels of the organization, through Elias and down beyond, it seems the Orioles are ready to embrace some new concepts and methods.
Now the hard work truly begins.