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Saturday, October 24, 2020

Exclusive: Ex-Astros exec Mike Elias eyed for potential MLB pension fraud in his new role as Orioles GM

The Orioles pension scandal centers on Elias’ decision to give Holt benefits for which he was likely ineligible. Under the joint agreement between the MLB owners and the Players Association, only four coaches can be designated by the clubs for the pension plan, as well as the licensing money. Earlier this year, it was learned that Elias had designated Holt as one of the Orioles coaches to be placed on the plan, even though Holt is not listed as a coach for the Orioles, wasn’t with the team all year and was not even given a uniform number. He reportedly spent much of his time working in their minor league complex in Bowie, Md.

When contacted by the Daily News, Steve Rodgers, a special assistant in the Players Association actively involved in all pension matters, confirmed the complaint about Holt and said the matter is presently in the hands of the pension committee lawyers. “All I can tell you,” Rogers said, “is that to my knowledge we’ve never had a case like this.”

In addition to earning a year on the MLB pension plan, which includes lucrative medical benefits and life insurance, Holt would also be entitled to a players’ licensing check from the sale of paraphernalia and merchandise (mostly online this year) and baseball cards. Those checks average annually between $40,000-$60,000, and are normally distributed to the players and coaches in spring training every year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 24, 2020 at 11:01 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mike elias, orioles

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   1. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 24, 2020 at 11:36 PM (#5985075)
I read that as “MLB position” and was surprised.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: October 25, 2020 at 12:06 AM (#5985114)
I like how the headline highlights the fact that he once worked for the Astros as more significant than the fact he did this while working for the O's.
   3. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 25, 2020 at 12:11 AM (#5985118)
According to the Baltimore Sun, MLB is backing the Orioles, saying they can designate anyone they want even if not on the Major League coaching staff. Not sure how far the MLBPA will push this, since the people getting screwed here are the Orioles coaches not getting pension coverage, which isn’t the union’s priority, Always good to be crony of the GM, but this seems less than fair. MLB ought to give all the coaches pension coverage, at its expense, not the players.
   4. McCoy Posted: October 25, 2020 at 07:54 AM (#5985214)
I kind of guess it's a holdover from the days when being a coach was a player's retirement fund, pre-union.
   5. John Northey Posted: October 25, 2020 at 02:43 PM (#5985263)
Checking the O's page for coaches there are 8 listed with numbers. Holt isn't one of them. I could see the players on the team complaining as they probably get close to the coaches and seeing at least one being screwed over by this would annoy them.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: October 25, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5985279)
Following on #4, many would already have several years in the MLBPA pension plan so either (a) keeping them on that pension plan is simpler for everybody OR (b) those with little/no time in the majors (long-time minor-leaguers) can become vested.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: October 25, 2020 at 08:16 PM (#5985290)
It sounds like a messed-up system. Maybe part of MLB's standard contribution to the pension fund is explicitly linked to contributions for coaches, meaning it's not really the MLBPA taking on extra financial burden out of the goodness of its heart? But if that was the case, there'd probably be no concerns about the O's giving it to whoever they wanted. Also the rule clearly hasn't kept up with the expansion of coaching staffs -- possibly because the MLBPA is the one paying and they don't want to pay for the extras. Anyway, it had never occurred to me that half or more of the coaches weren't getting some sort of pension (we're up to bench, pitching, hitting, 1B, 3B, bullpen, strength, "quality control" and possibly infield, OF, catching (although I think these are usually handled by 1B, 3B, bullpen) and possibly "roving instructors" if any of their roving includes MLB. And that's assuming there is a rule in the contract that it has to be a MLB-level coaach.

Note this year without any official minor leagues, the line between majors and minors coach seems blurred. Even if this guy worked only at the offsite (which it seems is the case), that was part of the one-off 60-man "roster" and the status of that is probably nebulous and presumably not considered in the existing contract.
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 26, 2020 at 12:06 PM (#5985460)
He brings along a toadie from Houston, illegally includes him in the pension, while excluding the only black coach.

Only the best people.
   9. BillWallace Posted: October 26, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5985506)
This is such a terrible article from beginning to end, and beyond that mlb put out a statement directly refuting the part about Elias.

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