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Orioles GM Mike Elias: Changes In Scouting, Player Development Personnel 'Necessary And Difficult'

September 11, 2019
Orioles general manager Mike Elias wants to establish a long-term winning culture.

That means he's had to make some tough decisions with personnel throughout the last month. 

Earlier this week, Elias informed 14 more Orioles employees they won't be back with the team in 2020. There were 11 members of the organization let go last month as part of the massive restructuring. 

Most of the firings came with minor-league coaches and scouts, in addition to director of baseball operations Tripp Norton. 

"We made several more changes [Sept. 9], most notably in the player development department and international operations department," Elias said Sept. 10 at Camden Yards prior to the Orioles series opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers. "It's tough stuff, but we're trying to reposition our organization for the future to compete in our division and in this game, and decisions like this are often necessary and difficult."

"We've got a long way to go to get better and we need to do things differently to get better," he added.

The personnel released this week consist of: pitching rehabilitation coordinator Scott McGregor, minor-league hitting coordinator Jeff Manto, minor-league catching coordinator Don Werner, special assignment pitching instructor Ramon Martinez and High-A Frederick manager Ryan Minor, according to MASN.

Others let go were Keys pitching coach Justin Lord and hitting coach Bobby Rose, Short-A Aberdeen development coach Jack Graham, rookie-level Gulf Coast League field coach Carlos Tosca and international scout and former Orioles pitcher Calvin Maduro.

Dominican employees released were strength coach Anthony Adames, hitting coach Benny Adames, scout Basilio Alvarado and academy administrator Jorge Perozo, according to MASN.

It's a startling number but one that Elias felt necessary for the organization to move forward.

"The bottom line is we're just trying to get better and whatever the specific decisions that go into any individual personnel decision, I can't really get into in this forum," Elias said. "But the overall goal is to get better, improve our program and this is a part of that and that's the only reason. Nobody likes doing this stuff, but we have a job to do, we're going to be accountable for the results of it and we're doing a lot of new things around here."

The Orioles are on course for a second straight season with 100 or more losses. The Orioles have also lost six straight, but they will tile last season's win total (47) with their next victory.

Overall, the franchise has not seen much improvement at the major-league level, especially with the pitching, which has allowed a major-league-record 279 home runs. However, some players, such as Anthony Santander, Hanser Alberto and John Means, have taken advantage of their extended playing time in Baltimore and put themselves in position for a role with the big-league club.

The minor-league system is much improved as well. The team's farm system was ranked ninth out of 30 teams by Baseball America recently. In addition, Double-A Bowie and Low-A Delmarva qualified for the postseason. The Gulf Coast League team was also headed to the playoffs before its season was cut short because of Hurricane Dorian. 

"It's not the record at the big-league level. I think we all know that and are disappointed by that," Elias said. "But more important than that right now is some of the individual developments that we've seen in some of our young players. I think we could all go down the list, but guys having bounce-back years, guys having breakout years. 

"I think we've had many more successes on that front than failures, and that's good to see. And there are several players that could be a meaningful part of our playoff future. That's here at the major league level, not just at the minors."

While the cuts have been extensive, Elias plans to add to his staff in areas where the Orioles need the most support. It's a new dawn for the franchise, and the change was inevitable. 

"There are going to be positions here that the Orioles have never existed before with the Orioles," Elias said. "There will be others that will be much more familiar and I think when we all open the media guide on Feb. 1, we'll see exactly what it will look like. We've got a lot to navigate between now and then, and these things take time to put together. There will be a lot of hiring around here."

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox