Orioles dismiss 11 members of front office, scouting departments - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles dismiss 11 members of front office, scouting departments

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Hallbe62

    August 23, 2019 at 6:57 pm

    This type of change was inevitable given the direction that Elias started heading when he got here. Frankly, I’m a little surprised it didn’t happen sooner. Player development has not been an Orioles strength in recent years. I’m looking forward to that improving. We have talent at the farm. Let’s develope it to it’s maximum potential with the right coaching and training.

    I criticized an earlier Elias trade because I thought two 17 yr old’s were not an adequate return for what we gave, but short of that, I’m all in with Elias. Let’s give him a chance to implement what he has learned in his baseball life. It’s what we hired him for.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 23, 2019 at 7:20 pm

      Hallbe, the reason change didn’t take place before was that these people were already under contract for 2019 when Elias got here.

      • Hallbe62

        August 23, 2019 at 7:42 pm

        Yes, I tend to forget that players aren’t the only ones operating under a contract.

    • Orial

      August 23, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      That trade for 2 17 year olds is quickly turning into the O’s favor. Assume you’re referring to the Casjner trade.

      • Hallbe62

        August 23, 2019 at 8:30 pm

        Yes

      • Jbigle1

        August 24, 2019 at 12:17 am

        That trade was always in the Orioles favor. Cashner’s only value here was as an innings eater. No doubt he would’ve been better than Ty Blach but who the hell cares at this point? That’s the type of deal we have to make given our current state of the rebuild.

        Anyone who might make a contribution down the line has more value than a rental. Villar is playing his way into getting tendered a contract. It’ll be the same story w him next July assuming he makes it here that long.

        • Jbigle1

          August 24, 2019 at 12:33 am

          And even if you took issue w how far away those guys we got back from Boston were that really doesn’t matter either. A few years down the line they could potentially (not very likely but possible) be used as trade bait for something we need. Of course that’s if we manage to get into contention before they’re ready. Anyway you slice it they’re more valuable than a guy who was walking in a few months.

          And TBH his brutal stretch in Boston has probably made it more likely that the O’s could reunite with Cashner. Had he continued pitching the way he was in Baltimore, the O’s would not have been able to afford him.

          • Hallbe62

            August 24, 2019 at 11:40 am

            All true Jbigle1. But at the time of the trade Cashner was arguably our best starter in the rotation. An innings eater for sure, but he gave us our best chance at winning.

            But I once again fail to realize, “winning” isn’t the focus of Birds right now.

  2. PilarcikTriandos

    August 23, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Change happens. This change is painful but necessary and good.

  3. Orial

    August 23, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Is it a reach that the axe fell the same day that tbe MASN verdict came down? Replenish the organization with young,bright,forward thinkers but let’s also make this a civic thing with the city,revenue ideas,and refurbishing the downtown.

  4. Borg

    August 24, 2019 at 6:50 am

    As I was reading this article, all I could think of was the scene in MONEYBALL when Brad Pitt was informing his team of scouts and advisors that they were going to be replacing Giambi and Damon with players nobody wanted because they could “get on base” and all of the scouts were going on and on about the old-time stats everyone thought were important. I’d be willing to bet that is a big part of this, bringing in people more comfortable with analytics, and if so, then more power to Elias. The old way sure isn’t working and the way the game is approached is different.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 24, 2019 at 7:40 am

    1st off … the Brady Anderson thing … I never understood how/why an apparent muscle-head had such sway with ownership and management regarding the makeup of a team? A man that devotes what had to amount a larger-than-appropriate amount of his time to building the body beautiful, would never have been my pick to influence personnel decision making. Buh Bye Brady.

    2nd … front office change. This is the type of action that will help the Orioles in the long run. Of course that is assuming that the hires/replacements that Mr. Elias puts in place are more capable and competent than the people they are replacing. And frankly, sometimes simply making changes for the sake of change’ sake, is a good thing. New views … fresh takes … younger, faster and more energy. I like it.

    But the tanking? C’mon Mike, let’s cut it out already. Give us the best ya’ got.

  6. boss61

    August 24, 2019 at 7:49 am

    You know Rich, behind the curtain, this seems like a little ageism and a little frugality to me. Many of the discharged guys were in their 50s or older, and probably pulled down a tidy sum. Watch them get replaced by 20-somethings and 30-somethings. Some of the released guys had decent scouting pedigrees too. I do wonder how much this had to do with austerity necessary because of the courtroom loss to the Gnats.

    • ClayDal

      August 24, 2019 at 10:01 am

      The MASN decision was handed down in May. What happened Thursday was a rejection of an appeal. The Orioles were never expected to win the appeal, so I doubt there is any correlation

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 24, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Replacing older workers with younger, more inexpensive ones, is common in many businesses, Mark, as you are well aware.

  7. jimcarter

    August 24, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    Math can be fun. Let’s use Norton as the example. Including his first season of 1998 and this season, that’s 22 with only 4 winning records. Factor in a new GM with zero ties to the organization previously and how can anyone be shocked over a house cleaning? The fact it took so long is the surprise! It would be difficult for the replacements to fail as miserably as those being let go. Who cares about their ages?

    • ClayDal

      August 24, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      Another thing to remember is that when Elias was hired by the Orioles, he was still under contract with the Astros. Teams usually release an executive from a contract if it is a step up, but they sometimes make the departing employee agree not to take anybody from their organization with them. Sig had already resigned so he wasn’t under contract. There are probably several scouts from the Astros and maybe the Cardinals whose contracts expire at the end of the year that Elias is interested in.

  8. Bancells Moustache

    August 25, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Less people on the payroll equals reduced financial obligations, which makes the team more attractive to potential buyers. Since Elias is already paring the on the field club down to the bone, may as well chop up the scouting department as well.

    • ClayDal

      August 25, 2019 at 3:37 pm

      Interesting theory, but if that were the case, why did they spend 6 million or so on international players? Or 13 million on draft choices? Doubt that letting go 11 scouts will save much money. Besides, the Orioles can’t be sold until the MASN dispute is settled. Appeals could take a while.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top