Elias on latest changes in organization

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias confirmed this afternoon that the Orioles informed 14 more employees that they won’t return in 2020.

Elias said the total includes individuals at the Dominican academy who hadn’t been reported.

There are indications that more changes are coming, though Elias didn’t address them in specific terms. He said the amount of hires could exceed the losses, but there will be title changes and new positions created that will be evident in next spring’s media guide.

According to an industry source, the Dominican employees let go were Anthony Adames (strength coach), Benny Adames (hitting coach), Basilio Alvarado (scout) and Jorge Perozo (academy administrator).

Rookie-level Gulf Coast hitting instructor Milt May, Single-A Delmarva hitting coach Dan Radison and Sarasota operations administrator Len Johnston are retiring.

The Orioles don’t issue press releases on non-renewed contracts and firings. However, multiple sources confirmed yesterday that they aren’t bringing back pitching rehabilitation coordinator Scott McGregor, minor league hitting coordinator Jeff Manto, minor league catching coordinator Don Werner, special assignment pitching instructor Ramón Martinez, Single-A Frederick manager Ryan Minor, Keys pitching coach Justin Lord and hitting coach Bobby Rose, short-season Single-A Aberdeen development coach Jack Graham, Rookie-level Gulf Coast League field coach Carlos Tosca and international scout and former Orioles pitcher Calvin Maduro.

Contracts are expiring on Oct. 31.

I’ve heard that McGregor will remain in the organization in an alumni/community relations/guest instructor capacity.

McGregor is based in Sarasota during the season, but he returned to his Baltimore area home and joined the club over the weekend. He’s at Camden Yards today and could stay through the end of the month to assist pitching coach Doug Brocail and handle the usual tasks as part of the expanded staff.

Yesterday’s moves represented the second round of in-season dismissals and non-renewals. The Orioles cut ties with 11 members of the organization less than three weeks ago, including director of baseball operations Tripp Norton.

Also impacted were scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, Dave Engle, Adrian Dorsey, John Gillette, Dave Machemer, Mark Ralston, Nathan Showalter, Dan Durst and Frankie Thon.

Multiple individuals in the group, including Norton and Albany, already have been contacted by other teams, according to industry sources.

Here’s part of Elias’ 15-minute media session:

Elias-and-Media-sidebar.jpgOn changes: “We made several more changes yesterday, most notably in the player development department and international operations department. It’s tough stuff, but we’re trying to reposition our organization for the future to compete in our division and in this game and decisions like this are often necessary and difficult, but right now we’re 46-97 and we’ve got a long way to go to get better and we need to do things differently to get better.”

On whether more changes coming: “It’s been a lot so far as we know, but it’s contract season in baseball and we’re doing the best we can to move deliberately and in a timely fashion through all the different decisions we have across a very large multi-faceted department.”

On what restructuring looks like: “It’s a little bit of a tricky task because we are operating under the possibility that there may or may not be an international draft in the next CBA. We don’t know if that’s going to occur. But with that possibility out there we’ve got to keep it in mind in terms of structuring the department for the long term. But in the short term we’re going to be building and adding and we already have done that.

“We’ve added scouts in the Dominican. I think we’re going to hire a couple more and try to beef up in Venezuela, as well, though it’s a little trick right now from a political and business operations standpoint. And Koby (Perez) is out looking for people right now. We also want to take our development operation there, improve it, improve the facilities and improve the integration and communication between the Dominican player development and the American player development. So there’s a lot to do there, but we’ll get it done and we’ll keep plugging away.”

On whether restructuring the minor league rehab department: “We have a very specific pitching program that we’re carrying out in the minor leagues and I think the results of that so far this year have been good and we want to make sure that every stop in the minor league ladder, whether it’s the rehab spot in Florida when pitchers are down there rehabbing, whether it’s the Dominican, whether it’s the GCL, whether it’s Triple-A, that they reflect the curriculum and the tenor of that program and that when players move from level to level there’s a smooth handoff. So nothing specific with any one outlet of that, but the whole chain is very important to us.”

On what we should read into dismissals in different departments: “We have a lot to work to improve this organization. It’s reflected right now with where we’re at at the major league level, in the standings. I think we’ve done a lot of good work already in the farm system in a very quick amount of time. Just kind of changing the philosophies and the leadership.

“The outlook there has injected a new energy in a positive direction in the farm system and we’re starting to see some results. And meanwhile while we’re trying to change this organization there is a very large wave of change going on around baseball and even teams that are highly successful right now are very active in turning over staff. And top of all that, this is something that’s always been the case in baseball, too, so there are a lot of reasons for it.

“The bottom line is we’re just trying to get better and whatever the specific decisions that go into any individual personnel decision, I can’t really get into in this forum. But the overall goal is to get better, improve our program and this is a part of that and that’s the only reason. Nobody likes doing this stuff, but we have a job to do, we’re going to be accountable for the results of it and we’re doing a lot of new things around here.”

On whether some decisions were more difficult based on Orioles ties: “Yeah, it does. There are positives to that certainly, and that is something we that we will continue to value going forward. But there are other aspects of the job that are important, if not more important, so we have to take all that into account when choosing people. Certainly, when anyone has had a long history in a company and then on top of that somebody who has played successfully in a baseball town like this, it adds another layer of difficulty to the decision. But we’re going to do what we have to do, as I’ve said over and over.

“We are in a highly competitive environment any way you look at it. This is the most competitive environment in baseball and we have no choice but to try to keep up.”

On some positive developments so far: “It’s not the record at the big league level. I think we all know that and are disappointed by that. But more important than that right now is some of the individual developments that we’ve seen in some of our young players. I think we could all go down the list, but guys having bounce-back years, guys having breakout years. I think we’ve had many more successes on that front than failures, and that’s good to see. And there are several players that could be a meaningful part of our playoff future. That’s here at the major league level, not just at the minors.”

On whether concerned about morale from holdovers: “I don’t think so. People expect change in this business. I think that they expect change in the circumstance. I think that the people that are here going forward with us. They take that as a vote of confidence, I think they are excited about the direction, especially the emphasis we’re going to have on scouting and player development going forward. They know that changes happen in this business. They know there is a lot of change going on in the industry generally. They’re looking forward to seeing this through. So, not a concern of mine.

“In fact I think that the clarity of our direction, the unity that we’re going to have in our message and the way we do things across departments and across levels is going to improve morale quite a bit beyond what the recent past has been.”

On whether everyone will be replaced: “Without getting into specifics right now, I do expect us to backfill all those numbers, if not more. It might not be the same title, location, whatever. We’re going to be growing as a department and in player development, specifically. I expect an increased head count relative to what was here, for sure, but we’ll be doing a lot of different stuff across all levels.

“There are going to be positions here that the Orioles have never existed before with the Orioles. There will be others that will be much more familiar and I think when we all open the media guide on Feb. 1, we’ll see what exactly it will look like. We’ve got a lot to navigate between now and then, and these things take time to put together. There will be a lot of hiring around here.”

On whether more moves coming: “Like I said, it’s contract time in baseball and there are a lot of people in the baseball operations department and we’re moving through things quickly, but also as deliberately and carefully as possible. There’s still time in the major league season and there are still matters unresolved in one direction or another, but we’re doing the best that we can ... anyone who’s not coming back to inform them as quickly as possible so that they have the best possible chances of getting with another club.”

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