Elias won't commit to signing any free agents - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias won’t commit to signing any free agents

Photo courtesy of Baltimore Orioles

BALTIMORE—After talking to Orioles season-ticket holders at FanFest on Saturday, general manager Mike Elias still had a lot of questions to answer.

With spring training just over two weeks away, the Orioles have not signed a major league free agent, and Elias won’t say if he’ll sign any free agents.

“We still have a lot of time left,” Elias said. “As you can see, the market in general  is moving kind of slow the last couple of years. It’s just the way things are. I don’t really have an answer for why that is. We’re monitoring everything. We’ve got some ideas in mind for what makes sense for what we’re trying.”

Elias has added four infielders to the 40-man roster: Hanser Alberto, Drew Jackson, Richie Martin and Rio Ruiz and a reliever, Austin Brice, and said that he’ll be looking to add some additional pitchers.

“Pitching is always something that you want to make sure you have enough of,” Elias said.

If he signs a free agent, it most likely will not be for more than one year.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Elias said. “We’ll see what happens. Certainly if the group that we have now or a group close to this group shows up in spring training, we’re going to have what we need to work with in terms of putting together a team and putting together competition for spots that we want. We’re certainly watching and hoping something happens.”

With the season just over two months away, Elias said that he and manager Brandon Hyde don’t want to set specific goals in the rebuilding process.

“Brandon went through this with the Cubs, and I went through this with the Astros, and both of those rebuilding processes went incredibly fast,” Elias said.

“I can’t say that that’s always going to be the case with these things. There’s circumstantial factors that might affect the speed with which a team revisits the playoffs. I’m hopeful that we can do it. I know what we need to do in order to get there. There’s going to be a lot of things happening here. It’s dependent on who we draft, how well they do, how well they progress, how well the players here progress, who’s in the minor league system right now.”

During Elias’ session with the season-ticket holders, he was asked about former Oriole outfielder Adam Jones, who has yet to sign with any team.

“I don’t think anything is a dead issue,” Elias said. “The free-agent market is ongoing. There’s a lot of unsigned players left. We’re just going to have to see how things play out.”

Jones remains popular among the fans. When his name was raised, fans began to applaud and cheer.

“When you hear good things about somebody, it makes you feel better about somebody, it makes you feel better about bringing them back,” Elias said.

“If somebody was not well liked or appreciated by their teammates or the city, it would certainly be a disincentive to bring them back. Our focus is on elevating the capability for this organization and the talent level in this organization. I’ve got to keep sight of that, but we’re looking for ways to be opportunistic and true with the players that are left unsigned right now.”

Hyde’s coaching staff was announced this week. Earlier this month, Elias hired Koby Perez to head international scouting. The minor league staffs should be announced in the next several days. But Elias has not hired replacements for departed minor league director Brian Graham and scouting director Gary Rajsich.

“We’re being very patient and strategic with those hires,” Elias said.

“Some of these are huge hires, and they’re going to dictate and make or break what we do here over the next couple of years. I got my job in November — it’s a difficult part of the hiring cycle in terms of getting permission on people, interviewing a full slate of candidates.

“The last thing I wanted to do is make hires of that magnitude  with one hand tied behind my back. We’re going to be adding piecemeal throughout the year, especially in the analytics department and the scouting department. We’ve got some stuff going on behind the scenes right now. As we get into the hiring season next year, I think there will be a wave of additions. But this is going to be a little more gradual process over the next couple of years.”

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. cedar

    January 26, 2019 at 4:52 pm

    I’ll admit that I never followed either the Astros rebuilding processes. Just am aware that much of their current success has come from their farm system. During their 100 loss seasons do we know how active they were in free agency and what kind of players they did sign?

    • VICTORTEE

      January 27, 2019 at 11:34 am

      They TANKED!!! They did not attempt to sign any really good free agents to try to win during their tanking years.

  2. jkneps63

    January 26, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    You can review the Astros activity for the 2011 off season at

    www dot baseball-reference dot com/teams/HOU/2011-transactions.shtml

    And then review their activity for other off seasons by replacing 2011 with 2012, 2013, 2014, etc. in the URL

  3. VICTORTEE

    January 27, 2019 at 11:37 am

    We know how much they are going to spend on free agents. Not much! But they also don’t have a bench coach or a minor league director or a scouting director. As I have posted before we will see how much the Angelos boys are really willing to spend. Talk is cheap.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 27, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Victor, they have eight coaches, and Tim Cossins will probably have that role. It’s not a matter of money.

      I suspect Elias knows who he wants in the minor league and scouting director positions, but they’re under contract to other teams.

      • OsFanIA

        January 27, 2019 at 10:22 pm

        Maybe, but Hyde doesn’t need a bench coach when all of the pitches and defensive alignment will be called upstairs and relayed down to the field. Hyde will be doing what he’s told to do and nothing more. Catchers calling pitches went the way of QBs calling their own plays, albeit not as quickly. Now managers will be told what to do by the analysts upstairs as well.

        “Hyde, we need a spark. Go out there and get thrown out of the game. Kick some dirt on the ump’s shoes. Lose your mind. Don’t worry, we’ll pay the fine,” a voice from upstairs said.

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