BALTIMORE—The Orioles continued the restructuring of their front office and scouting departments by firing 11 members of those departments.
After news of the dismissals became public knowledge, general manager Mike Elias addressed the issue on Friday afternoon, when he confirmed that the team had fired 11 people.
The most prominent was Tripp Norton, the team’s director of baseball operations who’d been with the Orioles since 1998 and in his present position since 2012.
Longtime scout Dean Albany, who specialized in players from the Mid-Atlantic, was also let go. Albany scouted and signed former Orioles Zach Clark, Oliver Drake, L.J. Hoes and Joe Mahoney as well as Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader.
Nathan Showalter, the son of former manager Buck Showalter who assisted Albany in the Mid-Atlantic, was also dismissed.
“We underwent some changes, pretty significant changes to our scouting groups,” Elias said. “This is the time of year for that and, frankly, there has been a lot of it going on around the industry the last few years.
“We’re in a period of change right now with the industry and we’re in a period of change right now with the Orioles. This is sports. Change happens frequently, especially when you’re in a situation where the team has been losing and it’s kind of what we all get into when we get into this business.”
Elias wouldn’t go into specifics about why certain people were fired.
“But we are trying to make changes to the way that the organization conducts business … to adapt to the competitive environment that we’re in, which is very competitive,” he said. “And sometimes … you’ve got to make changes. It’s difficult. It’s the worst part of my job or anyone in my position’s job. These are really good men who had a lot of great contributions to the organization and we’ll help them land on their feet.”
Most baseball contracts expire on October 31, and Elias said that the timing of the moves were made to help those dismissed find new positions.
Elias said that the Orioles are planning to hire people to replace those who are leaving. He said it was possible that the baseball operations department would grow.
“We are going to be hiring quite a bit,” Elias said. “We’re going to be very busy bringing people into this organization. This organization is going to grow over the short, next few months, but also the next year or so. We plan to have a lot of hiring in the scouting space and analysts and front office personnel. We’re going to have a lot of new people coming in. So this is just the organization moving along and adapting to the sport today.”
Brady Anderson, the team’s vice president of baseball operations under Elias’ predecessor, Dan Duquette, remains with the organization as an adviser. Anderson is working on strength and conditioning projects. His name was removed from the masthead on the club’s website after spring training.
Kent Qualls and Brad Ciolek, who have been heading up the minor league and scouting departments since the departure of Brian Graham and Gary Rajsich last fall, remain in their positions.
More changes are expected among minor league personnel after the season concludes next month, but Elias wouldn’t get specific.
“Their seasons are still ongoing,” Elias said. “There’s usually something every year, so we’ll see. We talked all along that we’re here to build a robust, vibrant, modern player development apparatus, and a big part of that is scouting, signing the players, but also the coaches, the strength and conditioning department.
“There is so much that goes into an organization, and we want to excel in these areas. You know, we’re in a league with the Yankees and the Astros and so many great teams, and there’s a lot we need to do and continue to do. But we have a great group of people here. We’re going to continue that.
“This is not to disparage the contributions that have taken place in the past, which is significant. But it’s my position to look to the future and make tough choices sometimes. We wish everybody well and hope things work out.”