Elias appears to be Orioles' choice to succeed Duquette - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Elias appears to be Orioles’ choice to succeed Duquette

Photo Credit: Juan DeLeon/Icon Sports Wire

Six weeks after the Orioles dismissed Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette, reports indicate that the team could be naming Houston Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias as his successor.

Elias, who succeeded David Stearns as Astros GM Jeff Luhnow’s chief assistant three years ago when Stearns went to Milwaukee as the Brewers GM, has emerged as the favorite, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweeted that Sig Mejdal, a former NASA engineer who recently left the Astros’ organization after six years as an analytics guru, could be joining Elias with the Orioles.

Houston’s organization is considered the brainiest in baseball, and Elias, a former scouting director for the team, supervised the draft when the Astros selected Carlos Correa, Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers, all key contributors to the team that won the World Series in 2017 and captured the NL West in 2018.

If Elias is named as Duquette’s successor, he’ll have to find a new manager. Buck Showalter was also dismissed on Oct. 3. The Orioles will have no competition in their managerial search since all five teams that were in the market for a new manager have already filled their vacancies.

One name that could surface is Joe Espada, Houston’s bench coach, who interviewed for the job with the Texas Rangers and was also eyed by the Los Angeles Angels.

The Orioles’ search, headed by John and Louis Angelos, was wide-ranging with at least five other candidates interviewed.

Former Boston GM Ben Cherington, who’s an assistant GM in Toronto, Ned Colletti, former Los Angeles Dodgers GM, MLB officials Tyrone Brooks and Peter Woodfork, and Ned Rice, a longtime Orioles front office employee who’s an assistant GM in Philadelphia, were also reportedly interviewed.

Woodfork’s name, which first surfaced in a report last week by The Athletic, was an interesting one because there was some thought that he could help ease tensions between the Orioles and MLB.

The Orioles are engaged in a long-running dispute over television rights fees with the Washington Nationals and the MASN case is nearing arbitration. A panel of three owners will decide the case, and the years long battle has badly soured relations between MLB and the Orioles.

Commissioner Rob Manfred angrily denied at the All-Star Game in Washington that the Orioles were being penalized by MLB for prolonging the case.

However, it seems obvious that Camden Yards, which drew national acclaim as the site of the 1993 All-Star Game, is being intentionally bypassed by MLB.

Four National League stadiums, including Nationals Park, were chosen to host the games from 2015-18, and Cleveland, the site of the 1997 game, was picked for the 2019 game.

With no other team looking for a manager, the new head of baseball operations, if it’s indeed Elias, should have no trouble attracting a qualified manager to Baltimore — even though the job is likely to be a difficult one in 2019 and perhaps beyond.

 

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 14, 2018 at 7:31 am

    To paraphrase General Vernon Pinkiey of the Dirty Dozen … “Pretty. Very pretty. But can he fight”?

  2. deqalt

    November 14, 2018 at 7:47 am

    Would he be the new GM? If so, what happened to the finding a new VP first, then GM?

  3. Orial

    November 14, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Ditto the previous question–will there also be a VP/Pres hiring? Love the Elias hiring. Saw a Rosental article claiming it and now your mentioning it–it would benefit the Orioles to have someone from the MLB offices on board to help smooth the tension. Is that still a possibility?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 14, 2018 at 9:40 am

      No announcement of the hiring has taken place, Orial. No title has been announced nor has the timing of a news conference.

  4. bmorebirds

    November 14, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Will believe it when I see it. Wouldn’t it be too normal — conventional, even — for the Orioles to have their front office sorted out prior to the Winter Meetings? Nooooo, can’t do that. That wouldn’t be the height of dysfunction, which is the new Orioles Way.

  5. bigdaddydk

    November 14, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Word is that the GM title is being used as a place holder, but won’t necessarily be what title he’s given. If Sid Mejdal is coming along with him, which is a pretty sweet package deal, then I’m enthusiastic no matter what title Elias is given.

  6. Rich Dubroff

    November 14, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Big Daddy, Orioles haven’t used the GM title for many years. Since there’s no announcement of the hiring and title, all this is speculative.

  7. Birdman

    November 14, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Elias’ resume is impressive – he appears to be a good choice … but the question remains whether he will be given a free hand on personnel decisions, including the future of Chris Davis, or will he be subject to continued meddling by ownership and Brady Anderson?

    • Lookouts400

      November 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      All assurances have been given that the new hire will have total autonomy. No one would take the job if there weren’t. And I would expect there to be an out clause in the new hire’s contract if there is interference. My guess is that whomever it is will set the boundaries for Anderson. Brady is a good resource and I doubt any new hire would totally exclude him, but there has to be that line in the sand.

  8. bats in the blefary

    November 14, 2018 at 11:14 am

    1. Manfred is a liar. That is obvious. MLB has more interest in enriching the Nationals than they do in saving the Orioles from irrelevance or even moving vans.
    2. Elias would be a great move. Young, bold, intellectual, a track record of success. The sons are creating a new direction. Thank God!

  9. boss61

    November 14, 2018 at 11:31 am

    I’m an Angelos guy on the MASN dispute. A contract is a contract, and both MLB and the Gnats should be required to live by it. Angelos was required to forfeit considerable future earning when the Gnats mistakenly were placed in the Orioles market, and deserves rich compensation for the economic imperilment. That MLB and the Gnats now feel remorseful about elements of that agreement, as my grandmother used to say, “Too pity.”

    • bats in the blefary

      November 14, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Exactly. And the gNats are in a better financial place than the Orioles already. If the Orioles lose this dispute, MLB will be complicit in the potential demise of a storied franchise, that has a scarily small market, with few avenues for increased revenue other than MASN. Charlotte will have baseball someday, I hope it’s not our team.

      • boss61

        November 14, 2018 at 4:16 pm

        Seriously. MLB will be complicit in forciing the O’s to relocate and breaking our collective hearts. We do have experience, you know. Mayflower…

  10. PA Bird Lover

    November 14, 2018 at 11:47 am

    I’ve learned, and everyone on this site should’ve learned, too, that deals aren’t confirmed by a reporters hunch. I’ll believe it is Elias after the news conference. I hope it’s true but…

  11. Bancells Moustache

    November 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    If this is true, I am pleased. Elias was my choice after reading the resumes, not just his Houston work but the fact that he spent many years with the Cardinals. St Louis is the franchise the Orioles should view as their model, not New York or Boston.

    My concern with the Houston connection is this; using recent history as our guide, an Elias-led team is willing to scape through three to four 100 loss seasons. I question whether the Orioles as a franchise can survive being that bad for that long. Will the Angelos clan have the stomach to look out at crowds below 10000 on Friday nights against the Yankees and trust the process?

  12. whiterose

    November 14, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    Is he related to the Elias Sports Bureau?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 14, 2018 at 11:54 pm

      Not to my knowledge.

  13. BirdsCaps

    November 14, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Thank god the birds finally got a gm. On the nats/birds dispute, does anyone know if the agreement between the clubs included an escape clause for the nats. I am only getting bits and pieces from the details (and from Baltimore media) , but isn’t a contract a contract. If it is as simple as that, why is MLB so firmly in the Nats corner? Usually I am anti-Angelos, but I think they are right here.

  14. SpinMaster

    November 15, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    If he Elias hiring is true, it will represent a new chapter in our organization. As long as Elias has total autonomy, who cares what he is called. If he brings Mejdal with him all the better.
    As for the Nats vs O’s contract dispute, I have faith that the Angelos family will take MLB to court if this panel breaks the contract. Contract law is pretty basic and this contract met all 4 of the major parts of a valid contract. I don’t think that the Angelos’ will settle out of court without some sort of compensation package and beside, the Nats would have a hard time proving that the contract has harmed them given their current payroll and what they supposedly offer Harper at the end of August.
    We all need to stay positive and look to the future with this new leadership team.

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