Elias says Orioles will look for pitching help; GM also discusses free agents, Kjerstad and draft - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Elias says Orioles will look for pitching help; GM also discusses free agents, Kjerstad and draft

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said the team will look outside the organization for pitching help after another season in which their starters and relievers struggled.

“I think it would be very overly optimistic of us to assume that we have enough pitching to compete in our division just by bringing back returning players,” Elias said on Thursday in his annual season-end wrapup.

“We are very interested, still, and very encouraged by a lot of the guys that are on this 40-man roster even though a lot of them had a lot of rough stretches in the middle of the summer. We’ve seen some encouraging finishes for some of these guys in September, whether that’s in the minors or in the majors.

“This group, by and large, is part of our future plans and there’s a lot of talent there. It’s not surprising when guys have struggles pitching in the American League East in their first year or two in the big leagues … We need to get more talented in a lot of areas, and pitching is at the top of the list, and we’re going to be seeking reinforcements, for sure.”

Elias said he wouldn’t be opposed to adding pitchers on major league contracts—unlike the three he signed just before spring training: Wade LeBlanc, Matt Harvey and Felix Hernández — and he would consider multi-year agreements.

“That may be assured of getting something that we like, and I’m not going to artificially force something like that, just to be able to say that we did that,” Elias said. “We do have a lot of internal, talented pitchers that we want to keep pitching. We’re also going to need pitchers from outside the organization to help share the load.”

Elias said that he has the support of Orioles’ ownership in pursuing free agents.

“I think that we will continue to have full financial support for executing our strategy of getting this team back to the playoffs in a realistic, viable, sustainable way and to the degree that comes with kind of fortifying our roster with free-agent investments that we want because they’re strategic, that will be there.”

Elias also said that 2020’s top draft choice, outfielder Heston Kjerstad, who hasn’t played because of myocarditis, an enlargement of the heart, is expected to participate in the Instructional League in Sarasota, Florida next month. Kjerstad recently tweeted a video of himself taking batting practice. Elias said he expected Kjerstad to play for a full-season affiliate next season.

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“I’m not posting any goals given how long this has played out,” Elias said.

With the Orioles currently holding the second-worst record in baseball, one game better than the Arizona Diamondbacks, Elias said he wasn’t aiming to draft No. 1 in 2022.

“I don’t worry about that at all,” Elias said. “You don’t know what’s out there. Crazy stuff happens. I want to finish as strong as we can possibly finish. I think we take a lot of pride in giving a lot of these teams fits down the stretch.

“It’s good for the team and the players and that’s our focus right now. We’re going to have a high pick.”

Elias said he expected any changes to the coaching staff to be made shortly after the season ends.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. jimcarter

    September 30, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    When you have 100 or more losses, finishing strong is not an option. I’d have to say Elias reminds me of a politician as much as Duquette. Just when he seems to offer good news, he gives himself a out.

    • Icterus fan

      October 1, 2021 at 11:43 am

      As we know, politicians are indeed much like high level corporate business employees.

      It’s to be expected that they protect the infrastructure, stay in power, support the company goals, utilize broadly encouraging terms and enforce protocol.

      Elias is forthcoming, and approachable but uses carefully couched language like an expert wordsmith.

      At those levels, it’s often about creating illusions to calm and motivate employees, fans (or citizens).

      Having said that, I’m thankful for Elias and a new direction for the franchise.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 30, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    This man always says EXACTLY what I want to hear.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 30, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Ken, just so you know, I don’t get paid by the word, either.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 30, 2021 at 8:48 pm

        Rich, I’ve always felt you were about quality over quantity. (I on the other hand …)

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        October 1, 2021 at 6:19 pm

        And I do get what you’re saying.

  3. CalsPals

    September 30, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    I’m not sure what continued full financial support looks like, I like what he said, actions will speak louder than words…go O’s…

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      September 30, 2021 at 7:06 pm

      Think Elias might present that payroll needs to X% higher than 2021 next season to be on path to compete for playoffs in 2023 or 2024, then ownership says yeah verily or nah let’s push it back another year. Hoping X% is at least 50% to 100% higher…

  4. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    September 30, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    Garble, garble, mumble, mumble, marbles…we are trying to get better but I can’t provide specifics because it might cost the organization in trade or FA negotiations…plus I apologize to Hmmm for not being upfront and honest about hiring Hyder back in the day. M Elias

  5. CalsPals

    September 30, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Wells starting off the game well….yikes…go O’s…

  6. OriolesNumber1Fan

    September 30, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    Mike Elias “We need to get more talented in a lot of areas, and pitching is at the top of the list, and we’re going to be seeking reinforcements, for sure.” This is awesome news!!! His plan is plain and simple so everyone can understand… well hopefully fans can understand. Some are still having issues understanding a full rebuild.

    • OriolesNumber2Fan

      September 30, 2021 at 10:23 pm

      Not all of us fans are not understanding, and we all know who you’re talking about tthat can’t! There to stuipid to get what your talking about when your saying “Full Rebuild” Give them hell #1!!

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        October 1, 2021 at 8:20 am

        OriolesNumber2Fan – hey dude, I appreciate ALL the backing, believe me I really do, and I know you’re a very understanding Oriole fan like myself and you certainly do get all my points, but please just one small thing, we are ALL trying not to do any more name calling on this site. We are ALL Oriole fans on this site so please lets try and keep this in mind.

        • OriolesNumber2Fan

          October 1, 2021 at 12:07 pm

          Well excuse me guy! If you’re not calling peoples names any more, then why do you end your posts every time with a comment about how “some fans” don’t get it? We all know who your taking about. Isn’t he the guy that called you a liar when you tld me about your divisoin I baseaball experience and being offered a miinor leauge professional contract from the Toledo mud Hens?

          I was just defending you. Hell bells, maybe he was write about you all along!

          • OriolesNumber1Fan

            October 1, 2021 at 4:09 pm

            OriolesNumber2Fan – hey dude, I’m just letting you know that Rich Dubroff reprimanded all of us to not call anyone names anymore. So, I was just letting you know before Rich sees your posts and does the same to you. And as a poster friend/ally and I did say please several times, I was just trying to let you know this so he wouldn’t do the same to you. But you post whatever you want to say. And as I stated I do appreciate you defending me!!! As I stated “hey dude, I appreciate ALL the backing”. And if “some fans” don’t get it. That’s OK, as long as others such as yourself do!!!

    • CalsPals

      October 1, 2021 at 7:10 am

      Hire a proof-reader…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      October 1, 2021 at 1:36 pm

      Wow, 2 people to proof read…go O’s…

  7. OriolesNumber1Fan

    September 30, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Mullins gets called out on strikes on a ball at his neck. Never seen Mullins say anything before which says a lot but he got screwed on that call!!! Seems umps are always short changing the Orioles one way or another. Mountcastle should have had a grand slam!!! Can’t wait until the league installs the robo strike zone!!!

    • CalsPals

      September 30, 2021 at 8:11 pm

      Totally agree, awful call…Mountcastle gets my ROY vote…lol…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 30, 2021 at 9:30 pm

        Me three.

  8. OriolesNumber1Fan

    September 30, 2021 at 8:11 pm

    Wells pitching a lot better recently!!! Tonight – 4 innings 1 run 3 hits, no walks. So far, so good against a playoff team like the Sox. I’m liking 3rd baseman Kelvin Gutierrez more and more. 8 game hitting streak!!! Could be the answer for 3rd base next season!!!

    • CalsPals

      September 30, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      Agree, my post was immediately after his first pitch of the game…go O’s…

    • OriolesNumber2Fan

      September 30, 2021 at 10:25 pm

      Absolutly Guierrez has answerd the call and will definetly be our 3rd baseman of the future.

  9. dlgruber1

    September 30, 2021 at 8:29 pm

    I’m not a stat geek because quite frankly I don’t have the time or the inclination to do it but I’m guessing there haven’t been 10 players in all MLB more productive than RM since about the beginning of June or end of May.

  10. OriolesNumber1Fan

    September 30, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    No problem. Wasn’t directed at no one. I missed the first inning due to dinner with my wife. But I don’t see why Wells couldn’t be in the mix as a starter for next year! 6 solid innings; 1 run; 3 hits; 2 bb; 2 so!!!
    Zimmerman as well!!! Hoping he pitches well @ Toronto with all their good right handed lineup. Would be nice way for him to go into the offseason!!!
    (R)yan M(O)un(T)castle destro(Y)ed another baseball!!! On twitter!

  11. DcOsfan

    September 30, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    Encouraging to see the Os win a series last week of the season against a team fighting for the playoffs. Let’s do the same to Toronto!

  12. Birdman

    October 1, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Although I’m skeptical about the actual willingness of Orioles ownership to invest in free agents, it’s encouraging to read Elias’ comments on the subject … in any event, we will know, one way or the other, over the next several months.

  13. BirdsCaps

    October 2, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Wish washy but leaning towards good news? Assuming Rutschman and Rodriguez are on the roster next year, the team needs to sign 2 players similar to Guthrie in his prime to give the starters a fighting chance. The pen is a mess. A JJ Hardy type of guy could bring stability to the middle infield. While that would be a normal offseason for a lot of teams, I doubt the birds will do anything like that. I hope I’m wrong.

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