In his first meeting with media since the Orioles’ season began, first-year general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias said there are positives to pull from a team that has the worst record in the American League.
“There have been good things this year so far with the major league team play; the win-loss record is not one of those good things,” Elias said Wednesday before the 15-33 Orioles took on the New York Yankees at Camden Yards. “It is what it is right now. We’d like to see it get better. We’d like to play at a little better win clip than this, but there are guys that are having good seasons.”
Speaking generally, Elias pointed out that there are players who are young and improving, while others are taking advantage of their first portion of extended playing time in the major leagues. This is a path he witnessed as a member of a Houston Astros front office that underwent a rebuild en route to a World Series title.
He also spoke glowingly of manager Brandon Hyde, who is in his first year leading a club that has dealt with consistent roster change and Tuesday night became the fastest team in major league history to allow 100 home runs.
“I think he’s done an excellent job,” Elias said. “It’s a difficult circumstance with a young team. Lotta players coming in from all different directions, guys coming and going, a lot of guys that weren’t really with us during spring training. And I know the players have received his message very well. He’s done a great job looking out for the best interests of the players, not putting pitchers in uncomfortable positions even though we’re stretched thin at times and our guys have been throwing a lot of pitches, and, in some cases, getting beat up, so he’s done a terrific job. I’m really happy that he’s here.”
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Hyde expressed a similar enjoyment of his time in Baltimore as he approaches the 50-game mark of his first season as a major league manager. The role has had its differences, especially in terms of scheduling, from his previous stop as Joe Maddon’s bench coach with the Chicago Cubs, but Hyde has found the experience to be a positive one.
“I've had a great time,” Hyde said. “I've really, really enjoyed it. I love our players. I couldn't be happier with how our guys prepare and compete, and I think we play hard. That's what I hear around the league — your guys play hard. That feels good. That's the whole point of going through what we're going through right now, giving guys opportunity but also creating the right culture in our clubhouse, creating a great place to play, creating a great environment, which I think we've done, and showing teams that we're going to compete and we're going to play hard. For the majority of the games, I feel like we've done that.”
Development remains a focus for Hyde and his staff, while Elias works to acquire talent, as he did Wednesday in a trade with the New York Mets for outfielder Keon Broxton. A couple of the team’s largest contributors in Dwight Smith Jr., Pedro Severino and Hanser Alberto were acquired late in spring training.
“We’re trying to bring talent in from all the angles that we can, and if we’re able to add a couple of guys and have them stick and be pieces here, I think that would make this year a huge success,” Elias said. “But look, we’ve got a big effort on our hands. This is the beginning of it. We all know what this looks like. Doesn’t mean we’re not gonna push harder to get better, but it’s where we’re at right now.”
Around the horn
» Elias said the Orioles have yet to decide who they will select with the first overall pick in next month’s draft.
» Elias expects the Orioles to be far more active in the international signing period than they have in past years.
» Elias said Triple-A outfielder DJ Stewart and catcher Chance Sisco are performing worthy of call-ups, but finding space on the roster is difficult, while corner infielder Ryan Mountcastle likely needs more seasoning with Norfolk and could see time in the outfield.