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The Orioles mishandled their search for a new general manager and still ended up with a home run hire

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The Orioles mishandled their search for a new general manager and still ended up with a home run hire

The Baltimore Orioles let a lame duck general manager engineer the most important trade deadline in recent franchise history, showed interest in some of the most uninspired executive candidates on the market, attended the GM Meetings without yet having a new GM, and somehow still managed to land the best possible candidate on the market. After spending months, if not years, digging deeper and deeper into a self-imposed hole, they figured out a way to come out smelling like roses.

It’s finally official. The Orioles have hired Mike Elias to as Executive Vice President and General Manager, and he’ll be given full autonomy to oversee all baseball operations. It’s a perfect fit.

For the first time in what feels like years, the Orioles are making a decision that’s been universally lauded.

Elias leaves the Houston Astros having played a key role in their long rebuilding process, a task that at the time seemed similarly daunting to the one in front of him in Baltimore. His experience with a “trust the process”-style rebuild is one of the reasons he is such a perfect hire for a team that lost well over 100 games and holds the top overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft.

Elias is young (35), intelligent (graduated from Yale), experienced (former scout with model organization St. Louis Cardinals and assistant GM for the 2017 World Series-champion Astros), and has a scouting background (oversaw player development and all minor league teams for Houston). If popular narratives are to be believed, Elias’ youth would imply that he is hungry to prove himself in his first GM job, and that he is analytically-inclined, as most young front office executives are in 2018.

That last point is crucial, as the struggles of the Orioles in 2018 have largely been attributed to a consistent lack of interest in modern analytics, research and development, and player development. The Astros have also been quite active in the international markets, and area the Orioles have famously avoided for much of their history, and the hire of Elias could mean the franchise is interested in joining the rest of baseball in mining talent from Latin America.

It’s also interesting to note the Astros’ nearly unprecedented success with starting pitchers, especially as it compares to the Orioles’ equally unprecedented lack of success in the same area. The Orioles, once proud employers of some of the best pitchers in baseball, haven’t properly drafted and developed a homegrown pitcher in decades. Chris Tillman and Erik Bedard have ranged from serviceable to impressive for short stints, but Mike Mussina (in the ‘90s!) is the last true ace to come through the Orioles system.

The Astros, on the other hand, have established themselves as the industry standard for pitching development in recent years, both with young draftees and with acquiring “retreads” from other teams, tweaking something about their repertoire, and enjoying the results.

It helps that the Astros play in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in baseball, but if Elias can bring to Baltimore any improvements for how to handle pitching staffs, that alone would make him worth the investment.

One point to emphasize from the official announcement is the public assurance that Elias will have full decision-making power in his role. Orioles ownership has a tough reputation around the league for being meddlesome and hamstringing their GM’s from operating as best they can.

If the announcement is to be believed (and frankly, it’s hard to imagine a rising star like Elias committing to the organization if he didn’t believe it himself), then this marks a sea change from how Peter Angelos has operated in prior seasons. His sons appear much more interested in letting the baseball people handle baseball things, and that’s cause for optimism for O’s fans.

They could have gone with the “tried and true.” They could have gone with the old-school. They could have gone with a baseball lifer. They could have gone with Ned Colletti.

No shots at Colletti, who by all accounts is a good administrative mind and a good man. But much like Buck Showalter is a terrific manager who was no longer the right fit in Baltimore, a GM of Colletti’s ilk is not what the Orioles franchise needs right now. 

Bringing in Elias, no matter the long and winding road that brought the Orioles to that decision, signals a changing of the guard in Baltimore. It signals a complete revamping of the way the front office operates. Everything from the process by which decisions are made, to how young talent is evaluated, to how modern analytics are applied to everything the franchise touches, is going to change under Elias. And, more likely than not, change for the better.

Make no mistake. This is a home run hire, and yes, pun very much intended. There’s finally cause for celebration in Birdland.

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Peter Angelo's failing health prompts MLB to demand ownership answers from Orioles

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Peter Angelo's failing health prompts MLB to demand ownership answers from Orioles

Major League Baseball has reached out to the Baltimore Orioles ownership requesting a formal answer on who the current leadership consists of by June, according to multiple sources and first reported by The Baltimore Sun.

Though long-time owner Peter Angelo's two sons Louis and John have become more involved in team activities while their father continues to deal with health issues, Major League Baseball and all club owners must pass a formal approval of whoever the Orioles deem to be the new person in control.

The next club owners meeting takes place in June, which is when the league would like an answer, according to multiple unnamed sources. This gives Baltimore around three months to come up with an response to the MLB. 

Angelos has owned the team for over a quarter of a century since purchasing the team in 1993 for $173 million. However, his sons have taken larger roles in years past as Angelos has had to step away from the team to deal with his health issues. 

Still owning majority control, Major League Baseball's request doesn't necesarily mean that the Angelos' time as the family owning the team will come to an end, as one of his sons is more than likely to be appointed. The request does potentially signify the end to Peter Angelo's time at the helm.

As the Orioles continue to work on a rebuild coming off a 47-win season, new faces have already introduced to the franchise. Besides a boat-load of new prospects due to trades, Baltimore also hired former Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde to be their new manager.

Now, it looks like ownership could be the next part of the team to see a change.

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Manny Machado to the Padres is not a problem for one young Yankees fan

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Manny Machado to the Padres is not a problem for one young Yankees fan

On Tuesday, reports broke that prized free agent Manny Machado would be signing a record-breaking contract with the San Diego Padres. With the last few months playing out like a never-ending soap opera between Machado and his potential suitors, it's no surprise the news created a lot of buzz and numerous reactions from all types of baseball fans.

One of the best came from a young New York Yankees fan, who learned of Machado's decision while in Florida to watch his team during Spring Training. SNY was on the scene to catch his live reaction, and from it we received a beautiful viral video.

Dissecting this video, there are two important aspects: the passion and the actual take.

Passion-wise, this kid gets a 10/10. Has he most likely used 27 rings to try and win an argument before? Probably. But, he delivered his monologue with a fire that will most likely earn him a spot on a sports talk show in the years to come. In the heat of the moment, you have to respect his ability to construct an argument in defense of his team.

As for the take, it has its flaws. It's a struggle to really defend the idea that you wouldn't want a once-in-a-generation type player just because he played on a team in your division, especially when that team floated around 50 wins last season.

I can sort of understand not wanting Mookie Betts considering he plays for their biggest rival, but even that sounds crazy when you really think about it. With the likes of Johnny Damon and Babe Ruth coming from Boston to New York, it's hard to fully support this argument.

The kid also concluded by saying it's like Tom Brady going to the Dolphins. At this point, I think Miami would be more than happy to take Brady off the Patriots' hands.

Yet whether you agree or disagree with what was said, we can all appreciate the passion this young man shows. Now we'd like to see his thoughts on Bryce Harper. 

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