The wait is over. To fill the top vacancy in the Orioles’ front office and to reveal his identity and title.
The Orioles have hired former Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias as their executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager, with the announcement made this afternoon. He will be introduced to the media at a Monday morning press conference at Camden Yards that will include John and Louis Angelos and air live on MASN and 105.7 the Fan beginning at 11 a.m.
Elias was at Camden Yards this morning to complete the necessary paperwork and begin meeting people in the warehouse.
Sources confirmed earlier this week that Elias was the choice after a lengthy and methodical interview process. The delay in an announcement was due in part to the Angelos brothers attending the owners meetings in Atlanta.
The press release issued by the club stated 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.”
Elias, who turns 36 next month, joined the Astros organization in December 2011 after working for the Cardinals in various scouting capacities, becoming an assistant GM in August 2016 and leading the domestic and international scouting departments. He fills the needs of an organization seeking an executive with a strong background in scouting and player development who could lead the organization deeper into the analytic age and spearhead a deep dive into the international market.
During his seven years in Houston, Elias helped to craft a roster that produced back-to-back 100-win seasons, a World Series title in 2017, two American League Championship Series appearances and two division titles. As the release pointed out, he also played an integral part in building one of baseball’s top-ranked farm systems.
Elias is a native of Alexandria, Va., where he attended Thomas Jefferson High School and is a 2006 graduate of Yale University.
With one hire done, the Orioles are expected to bring in former Astros sabermetrics analyst Sig Mejdal as an assistant to Elias. And a managerial search can commence, though Elias shared his preferences with ownership as part of his interviews.
Astros bench coach Joe Espada figures to make the list. He’s already interviewed with four teams during the offseason.
Elias replaces executive vice president Dan Duquette, who learned on Oct. 3 that his contract wouldn’t be renewed. Manager Buck Showalter also is being replaced after 8 ½ seasons, the second-longest tenure in club history.
Details of Elias’ contract weren’t immediately available, but USA Today reported last night that he will become the highest paid first-year GM in baseball.
Other candidates who interviewed or conversed over the phone prior to Elias’ hiring included former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, former Orioles executive and current Phillies assistant Ned Rice, Royals assistant Scott Sharp, Major League Baseball senior vice president of baseball operations Peter Woodfork and Tyrone Brooks, former Pirates executive and currently MLB’s senior director of the front office and field staff diversity pipeline program.
Tigers assistant David Chadd interviewed, but later removed himself from consideration while the process dragged along.
The Orioles have decisions pending on vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, director of player development Brian Graham and director of scouting Gary Rajsich. Graham has been serving as Duquette’s replacement on an interim basis and handling a multitude of tasks, including decisions on whether to renew contracts of front office and scouting personnel and clearing space on the 40-man roster.
The next significant deadline arrives on Tuesday, when clubs must protect players eligible to be selected in the Rule 5 draft.