Orioles GM & executive vice president Mike Elias talks about the managerial search. (Jon Meoli, Baltimore Sun video)
LAS VEGAS — A day after Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Eliaslearned of reporting that he’d selected Chicago Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde as his new manager from a television in his suite during a media briefing, requiring an on-the-spot denial, Elias again didn’t confirm the hire but spoke much more hopefully of an imminent conclusion to the managerial search.
“I feel very good about where we’re at with it,” Elias said Wednesday night. “A lot has happened in the last 24 hours since we talked. Like I said yesterday, the reports that were out there were premature and overzealous, but I feel good about where we’re at. In my position, I can’t be out in front of events, or the one who is naming names or specifying timelines in public, obviously. But I think we’re in good shape. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to have a hire — a good hire — in due time.”
Hyde, the reported selection out of a pool of six candidates to replace Buck Showalterin the Orioles dugout, is a longtime major league coach whose previous roles included five years as a minor league manager with the then-Florida Marlins and a year as the Cubs’ director of player development before he came to the major league dugout.
"The way he prepares, the way he sees the game, he seems to be two steps ahead of the next guy across the way in the other dugout," pitching coach Reid Cornelius said of his former boss, reported Orioles manager Brandon Hyde.
But instead of trumpeting those credentials to the local and national media gathered at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for baseball’s winter meetings, Elias has characterized the process as still ongoing.
“This is an unusual situation,” Elias said. “We’re at the winter meetings during this, and rumors have a tendency to snowball into reports at the winter meetings, and also I’m giving daily updates to the media on everything the team is doing. It’s just kind of an unusual situation. We continue to make progress, getting closer to a hire every day, and today was no different.
“The reports — especially as I saw them afterwards — the way that things were phrased or characterized was just not reflective of where we were at at that time,” he said. “But, I’m making progress and we’ll see what happens.”
Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch on Tuesday laid out the type of relationship the new Orioles front office of executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and assistant general manager Sig Mejdal could have with their new manager.
As for when the Orioles could formally announce the new manager and introduce him to Baltimore, Elias said he has to “complete the hire first, frankly.”
“I don’t know,” he said. “But I’m aiming for — we go on a holiday break. I’m trying to do this as fast as possible. We’ve got to hire a lot of coaches. We’ve got a lot of things to do. This is a really important hire for the present, but the future of this franchise. I feel really good about where we’re at in the hiring process right now, but the sooner the better, as far as I’m concerned.”
Elias said the process of hiring a manager, to say nothing of getting up to speed with the Orioles, was making this a different winter meetings than might be typical for someone in his position.
“It’s really busy,” Elias said. “Not only my first winter meetings as a GM, but also really only being three weeks into the job, and as much as we’re trying to do — specifically with the major league coaching staff and the managerial hire.
“It’s been challenging to fully engage in all of — personally engage — in all the conversations and activities that a general manager normally does. It’s been great. It’s been productive for us on a number of fronts, and the staff here has done a great job of helping me out where I’m not able to devote my time. And I’m really looking forward to coming here next year with a manager and a full staff, and really, hopefully, making some moves.”