Elias says that Orioles will look to add veteran talent - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias says that Orioles will look to add veteran talent

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

In his first press availability of 2020, the approach of Orioles general manager Mike Elias seemed to change somewhat. Speaking along with newly signed shortstop José Iglesias, Elias emphasized that the one-year contract with an option year was a two-year commitment.

“I look at it like we need a starting shortstop,” Elias said in a Tuesday conference call. “Even if we’re not winning the division this year, I feel that his presence and bringing him into the organization now and into the future will further our rebuilding objectives.”

Elias’ aim isn’t to trade Iglesias at midyear, because he acknowledged the Orioles don’t have major league ready infielders in the minors.

“Not everything is going to come from within,” Elias said. “There are certain jobs that need to be done really well.”

In order to help develop the pitchers that Elias expects to bring up from the minor leagues this season and next, the Orioles need to have  superior defenders at shortstop, catcher and in center field.

There are catchers and prospective centerfielders on the major league roster, but no major league shortstops.

“I think he’s going to help us in a lot of ways,” Elias said of Iglesias. “On the field, he’s going to make everyone better around him.”

Elias made two deals within three days last month, trading infielder Jonathan Villar to the Miami Marlins and starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels for a net of five young pitchers.

The Orioles will continue to accumulate young talent.


“That does not rule us out from trying to bring in veteran talent that makes sense for us,” Elias said. “That helps the team, that fits a need, that will radiate out to the rest of the club, which is exactly what we think that position needs.

“We’re still mindful of development, the core that we’re building internally for the future, but we are cognizant of that we want a stable product on the field. We want a good defense behind our pitching staff.

“… Even though we’re eying the future, [and] we’re doing a lot in the draft and internationally in player development, and that’s where our focus is, building the organization. We’re keeping our eye on the major league talent market as well.”

Elias said that he continues to monitor the trade market. There’s been chatter about reliever Mychal Givens and to some extent outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini.

“I think it’s the same status that it has been,” Elias said. “We’re going to talk on a daily basis with other teams. We’ll hear what’s going on, we’ll hear what’s out there. If something comes along that we feel makes us more talented over the long haul, we’re going to listen to it …

“As the clock winds down in the offseason, the odds obviously lean towards the status quo, but we’re still out there working. We’re having trade discussions, and we’re also talking to free agents and potentially signing more players. There’s still a lot going on. We’re monitoring everything as we always do even as the season’s getting closer.”

NOTE: To make room for Iglesias on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Eric Hanhold was designated for assignment. Hanhold was claimed on waivers from the New York Mets on September 16, but was not activated.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    January 8, 2020 at 7:20 am

    I believe this is actually the 1st move he’s made to make the big club a wee bit better today than it was yesterday. So OK now … if Elias is really trying to put a ‘stable product on the field’ … THIS YEAR … I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt from here on out. I might even consider buying a ticket to a game or two this year.

    • Camden Brooks

      January 8, 2020 at 8:46 am

      As the younger talent in the organization works its way up to Baltimore, I think you can expect to see more legit FA signings to fill in the gaps. We’ll still be pretty/really bad this year, so I’m not sure how his definition of “stable” will apply. Lots of possibilities.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        January 8, 2020 at 9:31 am

        I really don’t care if or how bad we will be this year. I only care that the organization tries to put it’s best foot forward. The fans and the players on the field deserve an honest effort from management.

    • Eastern Sho Joe

      January 8, 2020 at 6:34 pm

      Mr. Boog, I’m sure Elias will do something to tick you off soon enough, lol.

      I saw your comments when Villar was traded, and I think it’s safe to say that you were unhappy, possibly even borderline livid. I liked his bat and his passion, but he did make a lot of errors (tied for 4th with most errors in MLB). One could argue that his flaws in the field outweighed his ability on offense. It certainly makes it harder to decide on a strategy to acquire pitchers or how to promote minor league pitchers.

      I remember that you didn’t approve of the Cashier deal either. I read an article early last summer that statistics predicted that Cashner was due for a downward phase, and sure enough, it happened. It can be argued how much we benefited by trading him, but I think anything to help improve our our Latin American system is a big plus considering our lack of attention that’s been given there in the past.

      So far, the new regime has stuck with the strategy that they said they were going to follow, and trust me, even though I’ve supported hiring Elias from the beginning, I’ve been very apprehensive. I got my hopes up when Buck was hired and sadly it progressively faded beginning with Markakis being let go, and I don’t want that to be let down again.

      Anyway, it’s good to see you express some optimism for Elias. You’re certainly knowledgeable about baseball, and I think you have a hard time supporting a college geek, but in all honesty, l hope that in the not to distant future that we’ll all be praising Elias after winning a World Series.

  2. CalsPals

    January 8, 2020 at 7:37 am

    Agree, maybe he has been reading this site…go O’s…

  3. Orial

    January 8, 2020 at 8:36 am

    Elias is doing exactly what this pitching staff needs-build a defensive Corp. His next obstacle–get Trey out of RF and figure out that Mancini,Davis,Nunez,Mountcastle quagmire. I too now have a rejuvenated energy for the team(after the Iglesias move).

  4. Bman

    January 8, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Iglesias at SS and Hays at CF should help them get back to fundamental baseball and good defense. This team could be not half bad, esp when they finally release Davis and bring up Mountcastle, and solidify the rest of the rotation with young pitching talent. Call me crazy, but I think they could be respectable in 2021.

    • VegasOriole

      January 8, 2020 at 9:29 am

      I’m glad we did something. I’ve been sour since the Villar deal. Did Iglesias pass his physical, lol!

  5. willmiranda

    January 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

    The Iglesias trade certainly made the O’s a better team than they were a day before. The contract, however, does not cry out stability but tradability. Let’s see where Julio –I mean Jose– is on August 1. At least the Richie Martin adventure is over.

    • WorldlyView

      January 8, 2020 at 1:23 pm

      Will, Are you also stuck with a jersey from the newly released Eric Hanhold ?
      In any event, the signing of Iglesias is the first hopeful sign in many months.

      • willmiranda

        January 9, 2020 at 4:47 pm

        Would you, Worldly, like to buy the Hanhold jersey? I’ll trade it for a Mike Epstein bobblehead. You’re right, of course, about it being a hopeful sign, the first move in a while that directly and clearly made the team better. My skepticism comes from other signs, beginning with the sign going into spring training last year that the best performers would be the 25 who started the season. In this case, perhaps a longer contract with a no-trade clause might more clearly indicate a longer term commitment to Iglesias, who seems a great acquisition.

  6. Tyler10

    January 8, 2020 at 10:21 am

    I’ve been a long time Oriole fan since they first came to Baltimore. Loved Brooks, Frank and Boog especially but Triandos, Wilhelm, Woodling, Davey Johnson, Jim Gentile and of course Eddie and Cal are thought of fondly. Many more could be mentioned.
    I’ll always be a fan even in the worst of times. One thing really eats at me now and that’s the Chris Davis situation. He is a liability to the team. He doesn’t seem to make any adjustments and his body language is not good. Does he really care? He should be embarrassed! Paid all that money and what good is he? Yeah, he can play defense but so can a lot of other guys who can hit better than .200! I just wish there was some way to get rid of him. I guess we just have to release him and eat the money. Darn shame. Go O’s!

  7. Birdman

    January 8, 2020 at 11:06 am

    I think Elias’ comments strike the right balance. Yes, the Orioles rebuild will have to be based primarily on minor league player development, but as Elias acknowledged “not everything is going to come from within.” The organization must be prepared to also spend on major league free agent talent. Given the already steep decline in attendance (down 45% since 2014), the Orioles simply cannot afford another 5+ years to field a competitive team.

  8. Nashville Os

    January 8, 2020 at 5:35 pm

    So, to me and my unpolished view, the potential position gap appears to be 3B? I threw it down on paper and its has some fun potential
    OF-Santander-can he repaeat it and hit 30 homers in a full season
    OF-Hays-stay healthy and the rest may follow
    OF-Mountcastle-work hard on the glove
    C-Severino for now. We hear the train coming
    1B-Mancini-team core
    2B-Alberto-leave him here fo a full season
    SS-Iglesias=huge D upgrade

    Not a fan of Ruiz. Would love a 30 HR Gold Glover here and willing to pay. After this its a matter of either trading for pitching or developing it. Years away from winning. Not far off from competing again?

    • Camden Brooks

      January 8, 2020 at 9:45 pm

      Willing to pay, but with whose money?!? Now, if we still lack talent at 3B when we are competitive (hopefully 2021 or 2022), then ownership better pony up some cash for some FA talent.

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