The Baltimore Orioles have named Mike Elias as their next executive vice president and general manager. He'll be formally introduced by the club on Monday.
Elias, 35, had been the assistant general manager of the Astros, handing player acquisition, and now he'll replace Dan Duquette in Baltimore. Elias is a Yale graduate who started out as a scout in the Cardinals' front office. He then worked under Jeff Luhnow in Houston, where he served for a time as director of amateur scouting. Thanks to his success in that role, he took on more responsibilities in building what's become one of the strongest organizations in baseball.
In Baltimore, Elias will take over a club that lost 115 games this past season and has finally committed itself to a rebuild. As part of that process, the Orioles traded away Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop over the summer, mostly in exchange for young talent and international slot money. The latter focus marks a shift for the Orioles, who have long neglected the international market for talent.
In Elias, they get an experienced exec who's overseen numerous drafts and had a hand in a highly successful rebuild process. He's also part of an organization that's been adept at identifying and procuring talent on the international market. As a member of the Astros' front office, Elias also cultivated a deep familiarity with analytics, which has been another area of relative neglect for the Orioles.
Via Roch Kubatko, here's what former Oriole and former Astros first base coach Rich Dauer had to say about Elias:
Rich Dauer on Mike Elias: "They’re getting a good one. These young guys, I’ll tell you, they’re non-stop and they can’t let the other person ever get ahead. It’s like they’re keeping up with everybody. He has the knowledge of how to build a program from the bottom up." #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) November 14, 2018
As well, Mark Feinsand reports that Sig Mejdal, one of the Astros' key analytical minds, is likely to join Elias in Baltimore, provided the hire is indeed finalized. On that note:
If ex-Astros analytics guru Sig Mejdal is willing to join Mike Elias with Os, as @Feinsand suggested, that alleviates a major hurdle for the Orioles. There simply aren’t many people experienced in building baseball analytic departments — and it’s getting late to raid other orgs— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) November 14, 2018
Elias will be faced with a long road back to contention with the Orioles, but he's deeply familiar with such an arc. The Astros, of course, went from 111 losses in 2013 to a winning season and playoff berth in 2015 to a championship in 2017. Doubtless, Orioles fans would be fine with such a trajectory under Elias.