We covered a lot of topics and got the opinions and thoughts of a few national reporters and analysts over four days of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Today, we’ll take a look back at some of the most interesting and pertinent quotes of the week.
ESPN’s Keith Law provided a take on new GM Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal: “I think this is exactly what they needed. The fact that these guys have worked together for a while now and had so much success in Houston points to this being a great hire. I feel like with the hiring of Mike Elias, he’s not taking this job unless he knows that he has the authority that Dan Duquette did not have.
“Mike comes in, gets to pick his own manager, his own amateur director, his own farm director and on down the line. This will be Mike Elias’ organization in philosophy and in practice from Day One.”
Law is impressed with O’s assistant GM Mejdal and wrote about him in his book, “Smart Baseball”: “He is a literal rocket scientist. Extremely bright, extremely intellectually curious. Not just someone that is smart, but someone that enjoys asking questions and the process of finding ways to answer those questions. That is how you advance a club forward and find new philosophies and ideas. Whether it is in the amateur draft, the international market or pro market, he will change - not even change, he will infuse a philosophy throughout the organization. He’s very comfortable working with traditional baseball people, too. He was in uniform one summer as a coach.”
MLB Network’s Brian Kenny on the task that Elias/Mejdal face in Baltimore: “It’s going to be challenging. Because now every team has just gotten smarter. Every team has built a large baseball operations department that is constantly looking for a competitive advantage. And constantly looking into performance maximizing. You just can’t take advantage of other teams by being smart. You have to be smarter for a long period of time.
“They can be enormously successful. I think they will be successful. But now that everybody is kind of hip to where you need to be on the win curve - and you’re either all in or get out - I think it’s much more difficult in the current dynamic.”
MLBPipeline.com’s Jonathan Mayo likes the catcher from Oregon State for the Orioles with the No. 1 pick in the June draft: “I would probably take Adley Rutschman. Only because he’s a little more advanced. And if you have a franchise player behind the plate, that can make a huge difference. Adley Rutschman is a college player, but he’s not like the safe guy that we know will get to the big leagues and at least be OK. He has a chance to be an elite level player as a college guy. That is probably why I would pick him if I were picking 1/1 tomorrow and why we have him No. 1 on our board.”
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper likes Rutschman at No. 1 as well: “Slam dunk for me right now, Adley Rutschman. Now again, there is a lot of baseball to be played. But if Adley Rutschman had some sort of freak injury or something that sidelined him for most of the 2019 college season, I think you could still make a pretty persuasive case that he should be the No. 1 pick. He’s already shown that he can hit. He’s already shown that he can play, at times, exceptional defense. His arm is exceptional and his receiving is solid. He’s worked with a really good staff, a staff that has velocity on it. And he’s been the star of a national championship team. He’s done all those things. You are talking about a guy that has potential to be a middle-of-the-order bat.”
MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds on the free agency of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. Could both top the record $325 million contract?: “If you had asked me this at the end of the summer last year, I’d say yes. The only hesitation now is I don’t know exactly where the market is with the money. We haven’t seen a big number to jump out and surprise us. We know there is money in the game though.
“I pause a bit with Manny Machado. Before the postseason and the antics with stepping on guys and all the things that were exposed on national TV. Before the postseason, I would have said he’s easily past that. We’ve watched him enough. The talent is there and he’s only 26. But I think he’s really hurt his market as far as a big number. It’s going to cost him. Somebody is going to pay him. He’s going to get paid handsomely regardless, but I think it’s going to hurt.”
And now it’s official: The Orioles announced the hiring of Brandon Hyde yesterday to become their 20th manager. He will be introduced during a noon press conference on Monday. You can watch that live on MASN.
Hyde, 45, begins his first major Lleague managerial role following 16 professional seasons in the coaching ranks and four pro seasons as a player. Hyde most recently served as the Chicago Cubs’ bench coach in 2018, his second season in this role (also in 2014). He also spent three seasons as Cubs first base coach from 2015-17 and previously served as Chicago’s director of player development from August 2012 through the 2013 season, after joining the Cubs in December 2011 as minor league field coordinator. The Cubs qualified for the postseason four times during his tenure, including winning the franchise’s first World Series title in 108 years during the 2016 season.
Click here for more on yesterday’s announcement.