Elias talks about Orioles' free-agent targets, Mancini's health; Galvis likes Camden Yards - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias talks about Orioles’ free-agent targets, Mancini’s health; Galvis likes Camden Yards

Between now and February 16th, when spring training is scheduled to begin in Sarasota, Florida, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said there’s some areas he’d like to address and some where he thinks the Orioles are adequately equipped.

“I think pitching-wise, we’re going to keep adding,” Elias said in a video conference call on Wednesday. “There will definitely be some minor league signings prior to camp. We may have a major league signing prior to camp. I don’t really know that, yet. We’re going to be adding some more pitchers.”

With the signing of shortstop Freddy Galvis, Elias said he’s happier with the Orioles’ infield.

“The infield picture is now coming into focus with Galvis in the fold,” Elias said. “We may look to supplement there as well and add a little bit more depth and competition with somebody who can back up around the diamond. We want to see what happens there. We’re working on some things.”

Even though he’s pleased with the team’s outfield depth, Elias said the team might add another candidate on a minor league contract.

“I think we’re pretty content with the outfield competition going into the year,” he said.

Deliberately not mentioning the team’s top prospect, Adley Rutschman, the overall top draft pick in 2019, Elias said he’s satisfied with the Orioles’ catching depth.

“We feel very good about our catching situation,” Elias said. “We’ve got [Pedro] Severino and [Chance] Sisco as primaries, Austin Wynns and [Nick] Ciuffo, who we signed. Taylor Davis is back in the organization, so we’ve got a good bit of upper-level depth there.”

Severino and Sisco are the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Ciuffo, Davis and Wynns will be in major league camp on minor league deals.

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As his third season with the Orioles approaches, Elias said the team’s goal remains the same.

“We feel that the competition is there,” he said. “I think we’re very clear and consistent and transparent about the fact that this team is still prioritizing development of our talent infrastructure, our pipeline up and down the system. We’ve done a lot of work to elevate ourselves into having one of the most talented organizations, top to bottom, young talent across the league at the minor league level.

“But we want to have open competition in camp. We want to have interesting players in camp. We’ve got playing time and opportunity to offer, and we want to make sure that those opportunities are going to guys that it makes sense.

“Defense, up-the-middle defense, center field, shortstop in particular, we’ve also been careful every year to try to have guys that are helping our young pitchers get the support that they deserve. That’s a big part of the Galvis signing.”

What’s up with Mancini?: Elias was asked about a report that first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, who missed last season after colon cancer surgery, was drawing interest in the trade market.

Mancini and the Orioles agreed on a $4.75 million contract for 2021, the same figure he signed for in 2020, his first year of arbitration eligibility.

“I think what figures into our evaluation with Trey is that he’s one of the better hitters in baseball,” Elias said. “He missed a year last year. That was obviously a horrible surprise that we all got in spring training, but we got him the best medical care on earth, took it on like Trey Mancini.

“He’s 100 percent. He’s looking great. We’re just super excited to see him in Sarasota, and I think he’s going to go right back to hitting in the middle of our the lineup and being one of the better hitters in baseball this year, and we’re talking to him now about defensive playing time.”

Although Mancini can play the outfield, the Orioles have depth in Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart. Elias said Mancini is likely to play first base most often, and that designated hitter is also an option

“To be sitting here January 27th with where he was in March, and where he’s at right now, we’re at the top outcome we could have had. I’m so proud of him and our medical staff,” Elias said.

He cited that manager Brandon Hyde said that “Chris Davis is going to have to compete for playing time in the sense [that if] his production remains the way it’s been, it’s going to be difficult to play him every day by default, but we’re going to look for matchups.

“Trey is a first baseman from birth,” Elias said. “I expect to see Trey there a lot more there than since he broke [into] the big leagues. A lot of that mix is going to be up to Chris and Trey and Mountcastle and DJ Stewart and Santander to perform, too. There’s just a lot of competition and moving parts, too, but we’ve got options.”

Galvis eager to join Orioles: Freddy Galvis was upbeat in his introductory Zoom call. It didn’t hurt that Galvis was outdoors in Miami with palm trees in the background.

Galvis said that he’s looking forward to being a veteran on the Orioles and mentoring younger players.

“For me, that comes natural,” he said. “I just like to talk about baseball. I like to play the game. I like to talk with my teammates all the time. My teammates are going to be young guys, guys getting to the league.

“It’s like [they’re] brothers to me. After I get to know those, I’ll try to help those guys and get them to the league.”

At 31, Galvis is the fourth-oldest player on the 40-man roster. Reliever César Valdez, who’s 35, Davis (34) and starter Alex Cobb (33) are the only ones older.

In 2017 and 2018, Galvis played 162 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres.

“I think it’s really important,” he said. “That’s the way it should be for every single player. For me, especially, I love to be on the field. Every time I go to the field, I expect to play.”

Galvis has played most of his career in the National League. He’s played only nine games in Baltimore, two in 2015 with the Phillies and seven in 2019 with Toronto.

“I love to play in Camden Yards,” Galvis said. “It’s a good infield. It’s a good place to hit. It’s a really good division. You have to play against the Yankees. You have to play against Boston. That’s really good. It’s a big challenge, and I love those challenges.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. VICTORTEE

    January 28, 2021 at 8:20 am

    O’s free agent targets? Anybody in the bargain bin.

    • WorldlyView

      January 28, 2021 at 6:27 pm

      The validity of the “bargain bin” comment is supported by Elias’s comments: Look at the frequency with which he speaks of signing free agents to MINOR LEAGUE contracts. In other words, not exactly the cream of the crop. I would appreciate Rich or anyone else listing those free agents signed by the O’s in the past 18 months only AFTER we outbid one or more MLB teams. If there are none, that speaks volumes about the Rebuild in the Short-term.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      January 28, 2021 at 8:00 pm

      There is no short term rebuild. It’s a rebuild. It takes time and it is clearly focused on the minors not the major league squad. Boost the minors, develop talent, get them to the majors then go out and supplement with free agents and big contracts.

      • WorldlyView

        January 29, 2021 at 8:30 am

        BS, I might buy into your long-view if you could tell us when you expect the O’s will field a competitive/winning team, presumably one bolstered by “big contracts.” Is there an expiration date for your patience? I get the develop the minor league pipeline thing, but I can’t embrace the apparent preference of ownership to get by with the lowest possible payroll (a strategy that a cynic might equate with tanking).

    • BarstoolSleeper

      January 29, 2021 at 8:56 am

      It’s been 2 seasons. I’ll counter with how fast you expect a rebuild to be? I’m hoping for serious playoff runs in either the ‘23-‘24 seasons or this is a waste of time

  2. Orial

    January 28, 2021 at 8:38 am

    Looking at Toronto building a powerhouse(they have the best young talent in baseball but still insist on buying big-time FAs–go figure),Yankees a super team,Red Sox a player away from being their usual monster,and the Rays being the Rays I’m thinking the best thing that coild happen is for fans to be locked out of games again this season. The lack of support could be embarrassingly putrid with all signs pointing the way they are. Any openings in the NL Central? Thanks I feel better.

    • Bman

      January 28, 2021 at 8:46 am

      AL East will be brutal this year…..

    • CalsPals

      January 28, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      Again…go O’s…

  3. Bman

    January 28, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Cobb, galvis will be traded. Maybe Mancini, a catcher, one of the outfielders. Part ways sometime before trade deadline with the over 30ish maybe. Keep the pipeline going. Await the arrival of Rutschman, Diaz, kjerstad, etc

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      January 28, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Hell why wait? Bring ‘em up now! Rutschman and Diaz anyway.

    • CalsPals

      January 28, 2021 at 11:52 am

      Absolutely, playem if ya gottem…go O’s…

  4. willmiranda

    January 28, 2021 at 10:19 am

    I’m glad that Elias thinks he’s clear and transparent; I wouldn’t want him to be clear and opaque. Someone should tell him that the new administration has banned pipelines, even metaphorical ones. I’ll bet Glavis is happy because he’s already planning on how to spend that $250,000. Great move by his agent.

  5. Tony Paparella

    January 28, 2021 at 11:16 am

    I cannot tell where the stripped are at this time as Elias seems to cover all the areas but doesn’t really give any certainty on anyone (area) in particular. If he is looking for matchups for Davis then it doesn’t seem he will be playing much. Thinking 8-9th inning for defense.Got to believe the end of Davis is near. Also thinking Try going to be DHing to start even though he mentioned working on defense As if he may play the field eventually. Definitely a logjam coming up in the outfield with Diaz expected to get a look as they have 5 outfielders now. Stewart better come out of the gate on fire I’m thinking. As for Galvis he is just filling a hole temporarily and is saying the right things just as Iglesias did. He will be ok there it’s just c’mon let’s get the position filled in on a more permanent basis.Martin can’t seem to get a break( actually could be just the opposite, break?) so who knows what will happen with him. He needs to play and play soon and to be good. One question Rich, if you have time. Can Mountcastle possibly be considered for 3rd base, or do they consider him that inept in the infield at the hotspot? I don’t think Ruiz has it locked, thus the reason for the question. With all those talented guys in the outfield there is going to be a lack of room there do just looking ahead.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 28, 2021 at 12:23 pm

      Tony, Ryan Mountcastle is not considered a major league third baseman. He played there extensively in the minors, and the Orioles thought he could work as a left fielder. Last year, he played an adequate left field. They tried him at third in spring training. If they thought he could have played well enough at third, they would have put him there.

      • Tony Paparella

        January 28, 2021 at 1:43 pm

        You said adequate in left field. Not sure that is what the Orioles are looking for, especially with the talent they have (albeit Stewart) now and coming up.That kind of leaves 1st base and DH as most appropriate for Ryan. I would imagine they will stick with him in left until he proves he can’t play there as a major leaguer. I think he can adjust from an athletic standpoint with time but then what do they do with Diaz, McKenna, Kerstad, etc.? Just an opinion as those guys are coming.

  6. NormOs

    January 28, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I think Galvis said it best when he said “Anywhere else I’d be a bench player, on the O’s I’m the starting SS”. Again, I have to ask the age old question that has been haunting O’s fans since Genius 1 arrived on the scene….”When does the REBUILD start?”

    • CalsPals

      January 28, 2021 at 11:55 am

      LOL, :)….go O’s…

  7. BirdsCaps

    January 28, 2021 at 1:49 pm

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why they have not stocked up on low risk high reward players like Iglesias or maybe a little bit better. If the team were to sign 1yr deals to former semistar/allstar players coming off a bad yr or two, they could flip them for a decent return at the AS break(assuming they had a decent or bounce back yr [e.g. Nelson Cruz]). The birds are going a little too cheap during the rebuild/tank. At least they are starting to sign decent quality international free agents.

    • CalsPals

      January 28, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      TBD on the internal FA…go O’s…

  8. Birdman

    January 28, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    I guess Elias decided to add a bit of levity, when he indicated that the O’s are “going to look for matchups” for Crush.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      January 28, 2021 at 3:36 pm

      If Davis would have learned to go the opposite way with pitches or bunt down the third base line, he could have had a much more successful role on this team over the past 3 seasons. The analytics say hit a homerun or strikeout but I’d take an infield hit over a strikeout 10/10 times personally. Instead he continues to pull the ball and pull his head out when swinging.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        January 30, 2021 at 6:16 pm

        Is this little league? If it were as simple as pulling his head off the ball, this would have been fixed long ago. It’s more like he needs to pull his head out of his ….

    • jimcarter

      January 28, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      Davis is going to be in the box for every ceremonial first pitch of the season. There’s your match up!

  9. NormOs

    January 29, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Now he is “Happy” with the infield and catching. As long as Genius 1 is happy on the way to 100+ losses by not spending any money OR BUILDING A DAMN THING, then I guess the front office is especially “pleased” with the job he’s doing. Two years – 223 Losses heading for possibly 335 for three, not counting 2020. KEEP THE FAITH

    • CalsPals

      January 29, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      LMAO…go O’s…

    • WorldlyView

      January 29, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      IMHO, the overriding (and unanswered) question in allocating blame is this: To what extent has ownership ordered Elias to keep the payroll to an absolute minimum no matter how badly team losses mount up? OMG, I am tacitly coming to Elias’s defense. But as I have said before, the “rebuild” seems to be directed mainly at shoring up the Orioles’ balance sheet while ticket sales are minimal to nonexistent.

      • VICTORTEE

        February 1, 2021 at 9:40 am

        Why do you think cost cutting/tanking is not Elias’s plan? It was Houston’s plan and I am sure he told the Angelos boys that would be his plan in his interview.

        • WorldlyView

          February 1, 2021 at 4:23 pm

          I don’t profess to know what the arrangement is between Elias and the Angelos family. A low-cost rebuild mainly benefits ownership’s bank account. Presumably it doesn’t put money in Elias’s pocket. As I said above, the great unanswered question is how the decision (thus far, at least) to adopt “operation cheapskate” was made and by whom. I cannot believe that what is a totally defensible concentration on rebuilding long-term thru the farm system negates at least a modest effort to sign a few players NOW who are paid above the MLB minimum. It’s not a zero-sum game. Fans deserve a better short-term product than what I see coming this year and next.

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