BALTIMORE—Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said on the final day of the 2022 regular season that he’s pleased with the results and that he’ll have flexibility in the offseason to improve the team.
“We’re very pleased with what happened up and down the organization this year,” Elias said in an end-of-season news conference with manager Brandon Hyde on Wednesday. “The way that this team played and competed at the major league level is something that rightfully our players and coaches deserved a lot of credit for. We’re not where we want to be or need to be in our division [American League East]. It’s very daunting looking at these other four, not only teams, but organizations in our division.
“Picturing having to beat them to make it to the playoffs next year, that’s our goal, and we feel that the organization is in a position now to realistically pursue that goal for next year, and that’s going to be my focus this offseason, and the focus of our squad when we meet in Sarasota next year.”
Elias said he expects to be active this offseason.
“I don’t want to announce a budget to the agent community nor the other 29 teams, but I do continue to view this as an offseason where we’re going to have the flexibility to invest in the major league payroll in a different way than I have done since I’ve been here,” Elias said. “The moves are going to have to make sense. We’re not going to force it, but we feel that the time is right from a strategic standpoint.
“In fact, the time is pressing to do that now that we have the foundation of the top farm system in baseball and a major league team that is young and talented and now with a .500-plus record, this is the time to start to make more significant investments in the major league payroll whether that comes in the form of free agents or … trades, I don’t know yet. But I would expect one, if not both of those types of activities from us and also we’re interested in bringing more fans into the park and bringing our revenues back up and making our organization more healthy from a business standpoint so that we can continue to grow in the future. So, that’s all part of it, and I think this is going to be a pretty pivotal next 12 months in that regard.”
Elias said there’s no specific shopping list.
“It’s not something obvious that we’re going to target a certain position,” he said. “We’re going to look at any and all ways … at making the playoffs within the budget we’re going to be working with and that’s going to depend on what the market gives us, and I think there are a number of areas we can supplement this team.
“I don’t have a specific prediction about which position any major league acquisitions are going to come in. One thing that makes this a little tricky is that we have very interesting internal candidates for almost every single job so it’s not necessary that we go target one particular part of the team. I think we’re going to look to supplement and upgrade and how that fits into the whole roster, that’s going to be case-by-case.”
Elias didn’t rule out giving extensions to rookies Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman, who was presented with the Most Valuable Oriole award before the game.
“We look to do everything when it comes to player contracts, player acquisition on a pretty case-by-case level, and there are some things that make sense, and it takes two to tango, and we look at those, we talk about them. In order to best advance the objectives of the Orioles’ franchise and ballclub, which is what I do in my position, I by nature am quiet about our activities in those areas, unless I’m forced not to be.
“If those conversations have happened or will happen, it’s not something I’m going to get out there and telegraph because I want the people I’m doing business with to know that I’m discreet about those activities. We’ll see … If it makes sense for both sides, they tend to happen. Hopefully, we’ll have some of them.”
On other subjects, Elias said that he hasn’t decided on whether the team will pick up the $11 million 2023 option on starting pitcher Jordan Lyles, who won’t start either game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays that ends the season. He wouldn’t comment on whether the coaching staff will return next season, and said the ballpark’s dimensions, which changed before this season when they moved back the left-field wall nearly 30 feet, would stay the same for next season.