More on Elias' media session and Davis' Sunday home run

While sorting through Sunday afternoon's 15-minute dugout interview with Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, held before the home finale, there were certain points that stood out more than the others.

It's bound to happen during a conversation of that length. The important and enlightening stuff mixed in with the more obvious parts.

Wins and losses don't matter in the early stages of a rebuild, but Elias still is asked about them. And he still has to remind people that he's trying to increase the level of talent in the organization. There are a lot more hires to be made. There's a lot of ground to make up as he tries to drag the organization into the analytic world. As he tries to create an international presence that was non-existent.

The record in 2020 isn't the least bit important in the grand scheme.

Because rebuilds aren't completed in one season.

The more interesting parts of the Elias media session included how he confirmed the ongoing commitment to Chris Davis, saying the first baseman will be in Sarasota, Fla. for spring training. In other words, forget the speculation that he might be released over the winter with three years left on his contract.

What happens by the end of spring training is another matter. We only know that he's reporting to camp.

Also, Elias complimented the work of the coaching staff without offering any assurances that the group would remain intact next season.

Elias-Watches-Spring-sidebar.jpg"I'm not going to get into a status check on people in the organization," Elias said. "There is still a season ongoing and it's a delicate time of year for a number of reasons on that level. But obviously we are moving through the organization with the best, the quickest timing that we possibly can in all of these areas.

"They were thrown together late. A lot of these guys were hired in November, December, January and it's a difficult circumstance coming into the American League East with a team that's a lot of waiver-wire type guys. And I think they did very well with the circumstances."

One of the more noticeable changes in the organization, at least from the media's viewpoint, is how contract lengths haven't been disclosed. The assumption, and from what I've heard, is that Elias received a five-year deal, but it's never been confirmed. There's also been an assumption that manager Brandon Hyde's deal runs for three years, though someone outside organization thinks it's two years with an option.

Whatever. He's viewed as an important part of the rebuild and is receiving solid reviews for how he's handled the situation. There won't be a manager search this winter. No awkward news-breaking moments at the Winter Meetings.

The level of stress for the beat crew has been reduced.

And really, isn't that what truly matters?

Contract lengths for the coaches also have gone unpublicized, as far as I know. I've heard that pitching coach Doug Brocail, field coordinator/catching instructor Tim Cossins and third base coach José Flores received two-year deals and the others are under contract for one. But that hasn't been confirmed by anyone associated with the team.

Maybe it's none of our business.

My contract runs out in March, if anyone cares.

Elias has done a nice job of crediting the past regime for providing the pitching prospects who are such a major part of the rebuild. But he also made certain on Sunday that the methods implemented in the development process since his arrival received the proper attention.

He brought it stronger than I recall in past interviews.

"The farm system's taken a huge jump this year," he said. "Some of that was the draft with the No. 1 pick. Most of it was what happened with players already in the system, the player development improvements that we made, the changes that ... the step forward we continue to take.

"You see the performance that we're getting out of these guys. Just as an example, Cody Sedlock, who was dead in the water this year, I don't know what the program was in the past, but with us just changing some things in spring training, changing his approach, strikeouts went up three per nine innings, his ERA went down. It's a wonderful story and there were a lot of them."

If you watched the video of Davis' clubhouse interview following Sunday's game, the media descending upon him after his game-winning home run, you might have spotted the LUNGevity sticker on his locker.

Davis wasn't able to attend the annual walk that morning, coming off a 13-inning game the previous night and knowing he'd be in the lineup. It was held at the Maryland Zoo rather than Camden Yards, which provided another complication.

He wanted to make an appearance during the opening ceremonies, but circumstances didn't allow it.

Davis, who homered again last night in the 12th inning to break a 9-9 tie, is the last clubhouse link to former PR director Monica Pence Barlow. She passed away in February 2014 after a courageous and inspiring 4 1/2 year battle with Stage 4 lung cancer.

(Here's a story I wrote on the one-year anniversary of her passing as a reminder of how she impacted so many lives, and how long it's been since she left us.)

The walk honors her. And Davis makes certain that newcomers to the organization know all about her.

Davis couldn't walk for Monica on Sunday. So he hit a home run instead.

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