General manager Mike Elias is confident that the Orioles are ready to be a playoff team, and that the losing seasons are in the past. “I believe that our rebuild is behind us,” Elias said Friday morning at a press briefing during the Birdland Caravan.
“We’ve got an incredible chance now to be a very, very competitive team for years,” he said.
Last season, the Orioles improved their win total from 52 to 83, and Elias thinks they’re ready to take another step.
“We’ve got a real good team, a real good roster and some hopes of making the playoffs this year,” Elias said. “This spring is going to be important for us.”
Oriole pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota on February 15th, and even though the Orioles made moves in the offseason, adding starters Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin, second baseman Adam Frazier, reliever Mychal Givens and catcher James McCann, Elias isn’t ruling out additional moves.
“We’re kind of in the mode of taking advantage of opportunities,” Elias said. “There are quality free agents remaining. We’re staying in touch in them.”
He also said he has been speaking with general managers of other teams about possible trades.
“We’re still pursuing opportunities,” he said. “There are some players on the free-agent market that interest us.”
In Elias’ first two complete seasons, 2019 and 2021, the Orioles lost 218 games, and he hopes to key off last year’s surprising turnaround.
“This is, honestly, the first spring training that I’ve been openly standing here talking about the playoffs,” Elias said. “We had talent going into last year, but the way the team materialized and congealed and just kind of clicked on a clubhouse level, you just never know how that’s going to go. We’ve been very strategic with everything we’ve done, very consistent and deliberate, and now we’re at a point where our focus has turned into getting into the postseason in October.
“[It’s a] very competitive league right now. We’re going to be in a battle with a lot of teams, not only in our division and then in terms in a wild-card race, there’s a lot of good looking teams out there in other divisions.”
He’s pleased with his offseason acquisitions.
“They’ve plugged holes and they’ve boosted and reinforced the internal that we have,” Elias said. “The profiles of the players, the roster spots kind of clicked off our exact wish list. There are still other things we’re working on.”
Elias thinks there are 12 pitchers in the mix for the starting rotation, and he said that left-hander DL Hall was a contender to start the season in the rotation. He said that he hasn’t decided if Hall would return to Triple-A Norfolk or go to the bullpen if he’s not one of the starters to begin the season.
“We want to toss him into the rotation competition in camp. Hopefully he wins one of those spots,” Elias said.
He said he wasn’t sure if a six-man starting rotation was a consideration. “We’re talking more about a five-man rotation right now.”