Calling the Pen: Orioles' Elias takes his message on the road -

Calling the Pen: Orioles’ Elias takes his message on the road

The Orioles provided a view of the locker room and the roles manager Brandon Hyde and general manager Mike Elias play just before the All-Star Game.

Hyde was announcing that the team’s only All-Star representative would be relief pitcher Jorge López. Hyde was warm and, at another point, got emotional when talking about López’s relationship with his 9-year-old son Mikael, who has fought autoimmune disorders since birth but was in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game.

Elias was standing in the background. The two men work in concert, but one is usually front and center while the other often maintains a distance.

On Monday, working in the warehouse that is nearly 1,400 miles from Arlington, Texas, Elias traded fan favorite and cancer survivor Trey Mancini. He also intimated that the Orioles’ chance of making the playoffs was more wishful thinking than sound logic. On Tuesday, he traded López , whose story and turnaround from being an ineffective starter also had endeared him to fans.

In return, the Orioles got six minor league pitchers who might be part of the team’s rebuild that Elias has engineered since arriving in 2018. Elias got mostly criticism for trading away two players fans wanted to see remain with the club, and for continuing to put the future ahead of the present.

On Wednesday, Elias did something surprising. He flew to Texas.

According to reporters in Arlington, he met with individual players — Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays among others — to assure them that this is a club on the rise.

He also said that the Orioles will sign players this winter, and that he couldn’t be more excited about where this organization is going. He said he views this as the opening of what could be a 10-year competitive window.

On the day that Hyde told López he was going to the All-Star Game, analyst David Cone said on Sunday Night Baseball that the Orioles might be the biggest story of the first half. Going into Wednesday’s game against the Rangers, the 53-51 Orioles were 1 1/2 games out of a wild-card berth.

When Elias took over the Orioles in 2018, Hyde was an early hire. He would be the one tasked with managing the worst team in baseball — three 100-plus-loss seasons with the exception of the 60-game pandemic year — while Elias began rebuilding the farm system, the analytics department, the international presence … everything, it seemed, but the warehouse.

He needed to get out of that warehouse on Wednesday. It was time to get up-close-and-personal with his players, to share that he has the same belief in them that Hyde has expressed. That the competitive window is now open.

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