Elias on state of Orioles: 'We knew this was going to be tough'; Kjerstad back in Sarasota; Pitcher Chris Ellis added - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias on state of Orioles: ‘We knew this was going to be tough’; Kjerstad back in Sarasota; Pitcher Chris Ellis added

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE–Orioles vice president/general manager Mike Elias talked with the media on Friday about the team’s future amid a 15-game losing streak. He talked big picture, not specifics. He’s convinced, despite the worst record in baseball, that the Orioles are on the right track as an organization and in their development of young talent. He indicated that he would be open to using the free-agent market to help the Orioles field a competitive team during this process.

“My objective and North Star through this whole thing is maximizing playoff odds for the Orioles over a long horizon,” Elias said  “We have based our decisions on that, based our prioritizations of investments with those goals in mind, and when the time comes that those are the best uses of our efforts and our resources, possibly as soon as this offseason, we will ratchet up those investments with those strategic goals in mind when it makes sense to do that.

“We’ll look at things. Things change by the week. We’ll look at things, and when that starts to be the case, we’ll do that, and that’s really the truth of what I can say. I’m looking forward to that day, which is coming closer and closer, to where our odds of reaching the playoffs will be ticking up, and I’m looking forward to that.

“This is a franchise that has historically demonstrated a very big capability to support a major league payroll and, in fact, it was almost done to a fault the last few years, and that’s part of why we’re at where we are now and why we’re doing what we’re doing now. That’s not going to last forever. We’ll do what it takes to get this team in a position to get back to the playoffs and fight for those playoff spots, and I hope that it’s really soon.”

Elias didn’t offer a vote of confidence for manager Brandon Hyde, but he did praise him.

“He and I have a great communication at all times, whether it comes to day-to-day roster management or big picture stuff … We knew this was going to be tough and take a while. He knew that, and we understood that. Now, 2 1/2-plus-three years in, I assess where we’re at in this project. We have a flexible landscape going forward with our major league roster and our major league finances.

“We have a top-of-the-league-type farm system. All of that infrastructure is updated, up and running and performing and allowing us to perform as we’re going to need to operate as the type of franchise that we are in the division that we’re in and the type of market that we’re in going forward.

“We have a number of players on this team that are looking to me and looking to Brandon, young special guys that are going to be part of a good team here. With all of that in mind, we’re very much on track with what we’re trying to do, which is bring this team back to the playoff competitive-caliber, year-in and year-out contention.

“I hoped that we would be able to avoid stretches of play like we’re in right now and seeing some of the things that we’re seeing … but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know it was a possibility at the beginning of this project or the beginning of the season that we’d find ourselves in these type of stretches and this type of play. Whenever it happens, it always causes me to self-reflect about things that I could be doing a little bit better and moves I should have made or things we could do  better on a day-to-day basis, and we strive to do that, and continue to do that.

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“This losing streak is not reflective of our large-picture goals that are very much way on track in my assessment and we’re going to continue to grind through it, and this is what Brandon and I talk about when things get tough like this. We see aspects of hope and progress that are coming and eventually will be at his disposal. That’s where I think where we’re at, but this has been a very trying couple of weeks for everyone in that clubhouse, including me.”

Kjerstad update: Elias said that Heston Kjerstad, the Orioles’ top pick in the 2020 draft and the second overall selection, was back in Sarasota, Florida. Kjerstad hasn’t played because of myocarditis, an enlargement of the heart.

“He’s progressing into a rehab status,” Elias said. “Getting back towards baseball activities, hopefully soon. As I’ve said all along, it’s a very tricky condition and something, being cardiac-related, we’re exceedingly cautious about, and continue to have a cautious mindset towards.

“Good news that he’s in that phase right now, and I think with the offseason being around the corner, we’ll have time on our side and proceed very carefully, and fingers crossed, hopefully have him for spring training. It’s been a very tough situation for him. He’s doing a great job, and the staff has done a great job with him.”

Left-handed pitcher DL Hall continues to rest, and Elias hopes that his elbow injury will heal in time for spring training.

Elias said it hasn’t been determined whether left-hander Bruce Zimmermann, who sprained an ankle working out at Norfolk, will pitch again this season. “It’s going to be close,” Elias said.

Orioles add Ellis: The Orioles claimed right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis on waivers from Tampa Bay. Ellis pitched four scoreless, one-hit innings against the Orioles for the Rays on Tuesday night and was designated for assignment on Wednesday. To make room for Ellis, who will not be here for Friday night’s game, the Orioles designated Cesar Valdez for assignment. Valdez was 2-1 with a 5.76 ERA and eight saves in 38 games.

Notes: Infielder Terrin Vavra is at High-A Aberdeen on a rehab assignment. Elias expects him to be back at Double-A Bowie next week. Vavra has had a back injury. … Hunter Harvey, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a lat strain, will pitch for Triple-A Norfolk in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. … Left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther will pitch Saturday for Aberdeen and on August 26th at Bowie, and should return to Norfolk after that. Lowther has been dealing with a shoulder injury. … Right-handed pitcher Isaac Mattson has joined Lowther on the minor league seven-day injured list because of soreness in his right shoulder. … Outfielder Ryan Higgins, the Orioles’ ninth-round pick, suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in a Florida Complex League game. … The Orioles released outfielder Ricardo Castro, who was playing in the Florida Complex Leauge. … Right-hander Carter Baumler, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, is rehabbing in Sarasota, and the Orioles hope he pitches in a simulated game in the coming weeks. … Anthony Santander is out of the lineup because his left ankle is sore.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Bman

    August 20, 2021 at 6:09 pm

    Looking forward to seein Kjerstad and Baumler in action next spring.

  2. NormOs

    August 20, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    I, for one, am shocked! We were able to get a pitcher off of the Waiver Wire, the resource Elais uses to pick up UNTRADEABLES. WE HAVE NO PITCHING and Elias, that useless POS still thinks he’s fooling people with this crap that the best farm system in MLB is ours. News Flash: The Baseball stadiums of the world are lined with wannabes, maybes, never will bes. The problem is nobody becomes a Major Leaguer by just being on a major league team. We have an entire pitching staff to prove the point.

    • TheGreat8

      August 20, 2021 at 8:36 pm

      My man, you need to rethink your life if you’re getting so worked up about a GAME that you have to call another human a POS.

    • Icterus fan

      August 20, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      I agree. We busted Buzz’s chops for using “garbage”, and rightly so. Let’s not let our frustration and vitriol get the best of us.

  3. CalsPals

    August 20, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    Santander is out of the line up because his….the suspense is killing me, what’s the reason this time?…go O’s…

    • Bhoffman1

      August 20, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      A ankle sprain that has lasted a whole season. What a disappointment but nothing new here in Birdland

    • CalsPals

      August 20, 2021 at 6:43 pm

      Next man up, if he is too sore to play, replace him, not like we’re saving him for the playoffs…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      August 20, 2021 at 6:45 pm

      When I asked what he was out for, I figured that’s what it was, the sentence wasn’t finished, really wouldn’t have been surprised if he didn’t get hurt in the training room as well…lmao…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      August 20, 2021 at 9:03 pm

      He’s looked smug and disinterested all year, even before the ankle issue. Still waiting for that prodigious talent to surface.
      I dont think he wants to play for The Bathyspheres. Go figure.

    • foodman

      August 20, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      CP
      I’m with you. As the old saying in football goes, you can’t help the club, if you’re always in the tub. Anthony Santander can stay in the tub and then move on. From all reports, the O’s may have enough OF strength to not worry about losing him. Just hope Austin Hayes doesn’t catch the bug.

  4. CalsPals

    August 20, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Akins looking fabulous, 3rd inning & only given up 2 hrs, so far, go O’s…

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 20, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    Mr. Loserpants has spoken.

    Ya know, as much as I despise what this young man has done to this point with our team … he has his moments when I read or listen to him.

    If he would only give an honest effort…..

    • CalsPals

      August 20, 2021 at 7:50 pm

      Listened to him, he talked the whole time & said nothing…Boog has been much more entertaining….go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        August 20, 2021 at 8:31 pm

        Not sure if Elias is snowing us or simply playing it close to the vest. He’s no dummy.

        But I agree .. listening to Boog and Palmer was awesome. Listening to Boog remember the names of teammate he had in Bluefield as a 17 rookie is a testament to his character. Both these guys are like gods to me anyway.

  6. BenSch

    August 20, 2021 at 7:45 pm

    Hey Rich, when they say “2nd best farm system in baseball” is that a measure of the talent that’s in the pipeline or the coaching/facilities/player development? Or the combination of everything going on?

  7. Letsgetmikey

    August 20, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Ellis looks promising. 4scoreless and 1 hit and Tampa cuts him loose. If we had a receiver that good he may be voted most valuable Oriole.

  8. Letsgetmikey

    August 20, 2021 at 8:20 pm

    Oops releiver

  9. 420GameWinners

    August 20, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    Orioles’ starting lineup tonight has a combined batting average of .222. Just sayin’.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 20, 2021 at 8:32 pm

      Their team batting average entering tonight was .238, so it’s not really very far off.

  10. RoenStein

    August 20, 2021 at 8:32 pm

    You old-timers will remember this one! Sung to the tune of “Elvira” by the Oak Ridge Boys: 

    Dive that looks like Houston’s, Jekyll and his Hyde
    Did Sig ever find those gems in that data mine?
    I get a funny feelin’ we’ll lose again tonight
    But I’ll know that top draft pick is mine

    So we’re tankin’
    Elias, Elias
    A dumpster fire, Elias
    Givin’ up, don’t wanna, don’t wanna win now
    Givin’ up, don’t wanna, don’t wanna win now
    Snakes and Rangers, give way

    Robbing Paul to pay Peter, like a bad asbestos claim
    I’ve gotta save his sons all the funds I can
    So I troll the waiver wire, bought a rotation for two dollars!
    Gonna find and sue that Marlboro Man

    So we’re tankin’
    Elias, Elias
    A dumpster fire, Elias
    Givin’ up, don’t wanna, don’t wanna win now
    Givin’ up, don’t wanna, don’t wanna win now
    Snakes and Rangers, give way

    • CalsPals

      August 21, 2021 at 7:15 am

      Do you think they can play this during the 7th inning stretch?…;)….go O’s…

  11. Icterus fan

    August 20, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Noticing a lot of warning track power from O’s hitters recently. Whats up with that? Doesnt the ball fly better in the heat? Late season fatigue? Mountcastle, Mancini, Hays, etc all showing this recently.

    • Orial

      August 21, 2021 at 7:59 am

      Good point I’ve noticed that too.

  12. Bhoffman1

    August 20, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    Adley is hitting 441 at Norfolk. I know he’s not a complete player yet boy genius quote. So we go with Severino who is miles from a complete player.

    • CalsPals

      August 21, 2021 at 7:13 am

      But hey, he’s got a lot to learn…it’s a process…go O’s…

  13. dlgruber1

    August 20, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    Of all the things they’re doing now in the minors none will reap better rewards than teaching plate discipline. In tonites game Akin threw 101 pitches in 5 innings plus 2 batters. Fried for Atlanta has thrown 73 thru 7 innings. My guess would be that in all MLB the O’s pitchers would be in the top 3 of most pitches thrown and the O’s hitters would be in top 3 of least pitches seen. I could be wrong of course but it would surprise me.

  14. Buzz1979

    August 20, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    Anthony Reimold, Nolan Santander…..

  15. Buzz1979

    August 20, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    Sedlock very impressive at Norfolk tonight.

  16. OsfansinWV

    August 20, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Surprise Surprise…… ANOTHER dumpster dive acquisition!! SMH…

  17. Orial

    August 21, 2021 at 8:02 am

    Ok Mr. Elias you’ve spoken now let’s hear a thought or two from John Angelos. Owners are allowed to opine too–unless they don’t care.

    • CalsPals

      August 21, 2021 at 8:09 am

      Ask the Mets…lol…go O’s…

    • WorldlyView

      August 21, 2021 at 3:30 pm

      If the rumors are true, the Bros. Angelos are not available for comment–they have quietly moved to Indianapolis.

  18. cedar

    August 21, 2021 at 9:26 am

    I’ve given Elias and “the process” a pass all season, so as tough as these last few weeks have been, I’ll continue to take Elias at his word. He states in this article that things are on track – the minors, the updated infrastructure, technology, and the development of facilities in Central America. If that’s the case, then focus this winter should be on putting a decent (I’m not even asking for a playoff team) on the field, as we begin to see Rutschmann and Rodriguez, and others join the big club. They will need veteran leaders and players who can carry the team while the rookies go through the inevitable slumps that come with adjusting to major league play. Right now, Mancini and Means are the only players on this roster who can speak to that.

  19. cwhammo

    August 21, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Mr.Elias is in over his head. His first goal has been achieved by becoming the cheapest team in Major League Baseball. His next goal to be achieved is to rid this team of any veteran presence. In doing this, he is purposely ridding this team of any leadership. When Adley moves to the majors, the MLB ranking will fall significantly. He has dazzled the few fans with analytics and previous successes. I do not expect the Orioles to be competitive for quite some time.

  20. Benji

    August 22, 2021 at 10:36 am

    I wonder if Elias is secretly working for the Yankees and deliberately sabotaging the O’s? Or destroying the team so the fan base continues to shrink giving the Angelo’s family justification for leaving Baltimore?

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