The appeal of bringing in Mike Elias as the head of baseball operations for the Orioles centered on his deep background in scouting and player development. His experience working the international market. His familiarity with analytics and an unwavering belief that they must be incorporated in today’s game in order to be competitive.
The man has been entrusted with a variety of responsibilities over the years in the Cardinals and Astros organizations, and his fingerprints will cover the Orioles from top to bottom and at all sides.
They should be used on an alternate uniform.
John and Louis Angelos were serious about their first hire, given the title of executive vice president and general manager, possessing complete authority and given the freedom to put his stamp on the organization. How many executives in baseball hold more of it than Elias?
He chose Sig Mejdal as his top assistant in charge of the analytics department. He hired manager Brandon Hyde from a field of six candidates and has input on the coaching staff as part of a collaborative effort. He hired Chris Holt as minor league pitching coordinator and Koby Perez as senior director of international scouting. And he’s in no hurry to replace director of player development Brian Graham and director of scouting Gary Rajsich because he’s confident in his abilities to handle those responsibilities at least in the interim, including running the draft.
The first overall pick in June is included on Elias’ heaping plate.
Perez got to know Elias during their time in the Cardinals scouting department and predicted that he would reach much greater professional heights.
“Yeah, I got that feeling immediately once I met Mike,” Perez said. “Just a smart guy. Very good scout. He knows what he’s looking at as far as talent. And on top of that, just all the other attributes that he brings to the table.
“I figured he would be a fast mover, and I’m super glad that he thought of me for this opportunity and I’m very happy to be working for him. I trust that he’ll do a great job and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to this organization, because I wanted to be part of it.”
This has become another payoff from choosing Elias. He’s enhancing the image of the organization as being a desirable place to work. New hires inevitably mention him as a strong drawing card.
Perez came to the Orioles after spending five seasons with the Indians, the last three as director of Latin American scouting. He worked for the Phillies’ Latin American scouting staff and as the Cardinals northeast area scout.
What did he absorb along the way? Plenty that he can implement with the Orioles.
He’s just got to pick and choose.
“I’ve learned so much from guys like (assistant general manager) Matt Foreman and (senior director of international scouting) Paul Gillispie over there in the Cleveland Indians organization and I worked alongside (Phillies international scouting director) Sal Agostinelli, who’s one of the most respected international guys out there,” Perez said. “All three guys do things differently. My goal is to try to do what they did best and wrap it all into one package, and that’s what I’m hoping for.”
Meanwhile, Hyde is getting closer to completing his coaching staff, and it isn’t expected to include anyone from 2018. Third base coach Bobby Dickerson was under consideration, but it appears that the Orioles are going in another direction.
Only two names have been confirmed - Tim Cossins and José Flores - and not by the Orioles, who are keeping a tight lid on the process like most of their business. Former minor league pitching coordinator John Wasdin has been offered the job as bullpen coach, according to sources.
I’ve already beat this drum, but I’m surprised that no one on former manager Buck Showalter’s staff has landed a major league job. There are quality coaches and instructors who have been bypassed, maybe in part because of how late the Orioles hired Elias and Hyde while teams were filling their vacancies.
Scott Coolbaugh is the hitting coach at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Alan Mills and Howie Clark were given minor league contracts with their assignments pending. Einar Díaz is an extra coach at Triple-A Gwinnett.