The Baltimore Orioles hired former Houston Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias as the team's next general manager, the club announced Nov. 16.
The Orioles' announcement states that "Elias will oversee all baseball operations for the club and have full autonomy to build his staff and make decisions on all baseball matters that he believes will make the Orioles successful on the field, entertaining to fans, and impactful in the community."
Elias' hiring was
first reported by Bob Nightengale
The hiring of Elias, 35, spells the end of the search for a new head of baseball operations. Former executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was
not brought back following the end of the 2018 season
. Duquette headed the Orioles' baseball operations from 2012-2018, but the club went a franchise-worst 47-115 in 2018, the final year of Duquette's contract.
A graduate of Yale University, Elias began his career in baseball with the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom he was a scout beginning in 2007 and manager of amateur scouting starting in 2010. He joined the Astros in January 2012 and took a leading role in the club's drafts from 2012-2018. Promoted to assistant GM in August 2016, Elias took on the added roles of managing player development and minor league operations.
Elias is tasked with rebuilding the Orioles from top to bottom. Baltimore has the No. 1 overall pick in the MLB Draft next June, a critical pick for the future of the franchise. The club needs to establish a presence internationally, where it's lagged behind the rest of baseball in procuring amateur talent. Elias would also need to build an analytics department, and a
former Astros analyst is available
The Orioles have gone 54-136 since Sept. 1, 2017, and very few stars from the Orioles teams that reached the playoffs in recent years are still with the team. First baseman Chris Davis -- one of the players still around from those playoff teams -- has four years left on a seven-year, $161 million contract.
Under the direction of Duquette, the Orioles traded away infielders Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, right-handers Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day and lefty reliever Zach Britton ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline this summer in order to inject the organization's farm system with talent and trim the big league payroll. Other than Davis, the only long-term financial commitment still on the books is right-hander Alex Cobb, who has three years left on a four-year, $57 million deal.
Elias' track record in Houston -- he was a part of a full-scale rebuild of the organization -- suggests he fits the bill for what's needed in Baltimore. The big payoff for the Astros' rebuild came during the past two years. Houston won 101 games -- and eventually the World Series -- in 2017 and won 103 games this past year. Key players from those teams acquired under Luhnow and Elias include shortstop Carlos Correa, third baseman Alex Bregman, first baseman Yuli Gurriel and right-handers Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers Jr.
Orioles director of player development Brian Graham led the club's baseball operations on an interim basis after the departure of Duquette.
Originally published Nov. 14. This has been updated to reflect the Orioles' announcement Nov. 16.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles