In another interview with Baltimore reporters yesterday, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias spoke again about the long-range outlook he has to build up the talent level organization-wide.
When asked about a message to fans that are on the fence about attending games in 2019, Elias spoke about trying to put together a “perennial contending organization.” He said he didn’t want a one-year wonder and then have the Orioles later have to dig out of another hole.
“We are going about this the way you need to go about it. But in the meantime, there will be young talent on the field. These guys will be hustling and playing hard. Come appreciate the sport, see some good baseball and watch this team grow,” he said.
Elias was asked again about optioning out to the minors some of the young players that had strong springs.
“Well, there is a lot that goes into it,” he said. “Number one, while we were thrilled that some of those guys had terrific camps statistically, I’ve been around long enough to know how much to weigh spring training stats relative to regular season stats from the previous year.
“These guys are young and we’re in a situation where we are trying to build our talent level. And we’re going to err on the side of their development. In particular, some of those guys, we wanted to see them log some more minor league at-bats and have some success at Triple-A. But also we’re in a situation where we are trying to maximize the amount of talent here from all angles.
“And part of that is bringing players in to our 25-man roster and giving them a shake here. In our situation, we are the No. 1 pick on the waiver wire, and when players are out of options, we get a chance to bring them in here if we can have a spot for them. So we’re going to try and maximize everything. I think the guys you saw played really well and they’re going to be up here really soon and we’re excited to have them up here. But this is the group we have to start the year. And there’s going to be a lot of traffic back and forth between Norfolk and Baltimore this year.”
While on the subject of rookies, Elias has a rookie manager in Brandon Hyde. By now fans have gotten to know Hyde somewhat through his many interviews in Florida. And they learned about the relaxed, but yet intense camp he ran through many player comments from Florida.
“I thought it was great,” Elias said of Hyde’s spring camp. “The leadership and comfort that he had in the role. We’re both rookies in our positions and you never know how someone will take to it, but he was very smooth with everything and I think it speaks to the experience that led us to hire him. He’s been a bench coach for a world champion. He’s done it all on the player development side. He was ready for it and I think that came out very clearly in spring training.”
The early schedule: The Orioles have a tough early schedule that begins tomorrow afternoon at Yankee Stadium. And since they led the sport in losses last year, they’ll play 162 games in 2019 versus teams that exceeded their wins total from last season.
They will play four of their first five series against 2018 playoffs teams. Those teams won 100 games (two series against the Yankees), 97 games (Oakland) and 108 games (Boston). Add in a three-game series then with Tampa Bay and they’ll play five of their first six series versus teams that won 90 or more last year.
Of their first 32 games through May 1, they’ll play 19 on the road. Of their first 20 games, they will play 16 against AL East clubs. It all starts Thursday as the Orioles open the new year with six on the road versus the Yankees and Blue Jays before the April 4 home opener against New York.
If you missed it from yesterday’s workout at Camden Yards, Andrew Cashner talked about starting on opening day. And the Orioles will use an “opener” when Nate Karns starts the second game on Saturday in New York.