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Saturday, August 24, 2019

Orioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments

Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments. 

“We’re in a period of change right now with the industry and we’re in a period of change right now with the Orioles,” Elias said. “Sometimes to make changes you’ve got to make changes.”

Among those relieved were baseball operations director Tripp Norton, scouts Dean Albany, Jim Howard, John Gillette, Nathan Showalter, and Buck Showalter.

Elias acknowledged the uphill battle ahead of filling numerous voids but insists it’s just a part of the job

And, if you believe those claims, Mike Elias would like to interest you in buying a bridge…..

 

QLE Posted: August 24, 2019 at 04:07 AM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: firings, orioles, scouts

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   1. shoelesjoe Posted: August 24, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5874040)
And, if you believe those claims, Mike Elias would like to interest you in buying a bridge…..


Don’t quite get the snark here. Given the woeful state of the organization when Elias took over last winter it was inevitable that there’d be a purge of those who’d been part of the old regime, and rightfully so. The only question was when that would happen. So yes, it was Mike Elias’ job to decide who to throw overboard and it’s also his job to hire their replacements. Suggesting those common sense moves and responsibilities are part of some con game has the look of being snide for its own sake, not to mention lazy.

Honest question: if you’d been hired as the Orioles’ new GM last November what would you have done different up to now?
   2. Jose Goes to Absurd Lengths for 50K Posted: August 24, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5874042)
Yeah I’m all for snark but I would think anyone running the Orioles would be interested in cleaning house. The organization is a #### show, I can’t imagine how anyone at any level should be thinking “hey, my job is safe” other than Trey Mancini.
   3. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 24, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5874045)
“Sometimes to make changes you’ve got to make changes.”


This guy is a genius! This could change the way the WHOLE WORLD has worked!
   4. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 24, 2019 at 09:50 AM (#5874046)
Mancini is the first guy they should trade.

Step right up and fleece the O's!
   5. Bote Man Posted: August 24, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5874054)
Can you believe it was 8 years ago already that Mike Flanagan left us? Talk about taking one for the team, yet look at the state of the Orioles today.
   6. donlock Posted: August 24, 2019 at 11:15 AM (#5874065)
Doubt that these guys were responsible for the decline of the Orioles - unless you give them credit for the 5 years the Os had the best record in the AL and a few playoff appearances (2012-16). Probably the team is not doing the traditional type of scouting and they want analysts and computer guys for the future. Maybe not as much personally following players around.

I believer the former head of analytics from Baltimore signed on with Houston. New bosses want their own people in place. Very few of the MLB team coaches are awful but most new managers hire a completely different staff, as did Brandon Hyde.
   7. DFA Posted: August 24, 2019 at 11:42 AM (#5874069)
@4, The fact that Mancini wasn't dealt in July possibly suggests Elias won't be fleeced? At least I hope so.
   8. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: August 24, 2019 at 12:40 PM (#5874080)
I was kidding about the "fleeced" part. But why keep him? They aren't going to be any good until he's past his prime. They may as well get a couple/few lottery tickets for him.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: August 24, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5874132)
Baltimore Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias is dedicated to altering the direction of the organization and that was reciprocated Friday with the firing of 11 members of the scouting and front office departments.

"reciprocated"?

I can’t imagine how anyone at any level should be thinking “hey, my job is safe” other than Trey Mancini.

Well, clearly Elias felt pretty safe. :-)

Nathan Showalter

Baseball runs in families but I'm guessing this might not have been a hiring based purely on merit.


   10. QLE Posted: August 24, 2019 at 05:57 PM (#5874149)
#1- If the timing for this had been different, I wouldn't be saying anything- the issue at hand is that they waited to make this announcement until the day after losing a major court case (and, with it, being obligated to both pay out a lot of money now and to have future revenues be cut). A good hunk of the claims I had in mind are in TFA, where Elias makes claims involving both hiring and denying that this is to save money.

Or, to sum up the point best- if it's just common-sense moves, why wait until now?
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 24, 2019 at 06:19 PM (#5874152)
A bit more context from The Baltimore Sun:
When Elias and assistant general manager Sig Mejdal were in the Houston Astros’ front office, the Astros significantly cut their scouting departments late in the 2017 season, moving most of that work to office jobs that utilized the vast new video databases along with data to evaluate amateur players. This week, the Milwaukee Brewers, also led by an Astros front office product in general manager David Stearns, took steps to cull their scouting ranks. Stearns also made major changes at the end of 2016, his first season in charge there.
. . .
This batch of Orioles moves span the country and removes coverage from large portions of the country, with Elias saying the timing of the firings came so those let go would have ample time to find another organization ahead of and during the next offseason hiring cycle. Many of the scouts and player development staff in place for the 2019 season who remained from former executive vice president Dan Duquette’s front office were tendered contracts last October by interim general manager Brian Graham, though a handful — including Duquette’s son Dana, special assistant Matt Haas and supervisor Kirk Fredrikson — were dismissed at that time.
So this might have been the earliest opportunity to make wholesale changes, although it remains to be seen whether there will be a significant improvement.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: August 24, 2019 at 07:39 PM (#5874165)
1) You want some time to evaluate the staff you've taken over.
2) You don't want to get rid of all your scouts, etc. until after the deadline at the earliest.
3) Under the modern corporate HR belief system, you never let somebody know they are being let go until after they have completed any current piece of important work (i.e. the draft and deadline).

So mid-August seems a good time to do something like this -- you're past the deadline and you've got 2+ months to get new staff/procedures/whatever into place before the offseason starts.

(For completeness, sure if Elias had an entire set-up and personnel in mind on day one, he should have done this immediately. That's usually difficult to impossible to do on a moment's notice -- the right folks aren't available, you can't just port over the Astros' software/systems because it's proprietary, etc.)

As to distracting from the court decision -- really? "Dysfunctional franchise fires a dozen people" is a positive story? And, what, fans care about the scouting staff? They think the scouting staff has been doing a good job? Some reporter who just lost a useful source will write an old school paean to baseball lifers and 2 days from now everybody will have forgotten this. And this seems to have been announced sometime Friday afternoon -- the classic time to announce a story you want to be ignored.

As to money -- really? These dozen people combined probably cost (much?) less than $2 M including on-costs. They're probably gonna be replaced by at least $1 M in payroll. How does that balance out $100 M owed the Nats? It doesn't even make a dent in Chris Davis.

On the bright side, the MASN decision should make it easier for Angelos to sell -- he won't get the price he wanted (he'll get about $100 M less, assuming MASN is part of the deal) but potential buyers don't have that uncertainty hanging over the purchase.
   13. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: August 24, 2019 at 07:46 PM (#5874167)
So mid-August seems a good time to do something like this -- you're past the deadline and you've got 2+ months to get new staff/procedures/whatever into place before the offseason starts.


Yeah, but now who's going to do advance scouting of the Orioles' potential postseason opponents?
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 24, 2019 at 08:22 PM (#5874175)
Surprising that it wasn’t a bigger story, but the Orioles have already been eliminated from postseason play, including the Wildcard. They’re the first, and so far, the only team, to achieve that status, so tanking congratulations are in order, even if the Tigers have a slightly worse record.
   15. ReggieThomasLives Posted: August 24, 2019 at 08:52 PM (#5874182)
Surprising that it wasn’t a bigger story, but the Orioles have already been eliminated from postseason play, including the Wildcard. They’re the first, and so far, the only team, to achieve that status, so tanking congratulations are in order, even if the Tigers have a slightly worse record.


The plan is coming together.
   16. QLE Posted: August 24, 2019 at 11:46 PM (#5874250)
As to distracting from the court decision -- really?


This wasn't my argument- the argument at hand is that the ruling made a need for retrenchment clearer. Obviously it's not a distraction, and, if anything, your last point in that paragraph fits with my logic.

As to money -- really? These dozen people combined probably cost (much?) less than $2 M including on-costs. They're probably gonna be replaced by at least $1 M in payroll. How does that balance out $100 M owed the Nats? It doesn't even make a dent in Chris Davis.


I've been in several situations where I've witnessed retrenchment in action- this sort of trying to save money anywhere one can is something I've seen take place, and it fits with aspects of how the Orioles have operated in the Angelos era.
   17. donlock Posted: August 26, 2019 at 12:22 PM (#5874489)
The Angelos regime has a practice of not eating contracts. On field staff are generally let go when their contract expires (Buck and The Duke). When it comes to players, the team keeps contracted individuals rather than releasing them so fans had 4 full years of Ubaldo Jimenez and are experiencing the last several years of Chris Davis. Mark Trumbo has stayed on the roster(injured) in his last year of a 3-yr option but he has not been on the field yet.

Makes me wonder if these scouts and front office folks had deals that ran out mid-August and so were not released when Elias took over. The team might have had to pay for 6 months salary if they were dismissed then. Brady Anderson is still working for the Orioles but in a reduced role.

Nepotism update: In addition to Nathan Showalter, the Orioles also released scout Dana Duquette.
   18. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 26, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5874507)
Is this implying that Buck Schowalter had an official role with the team this season? Don't think I realized that.
   19. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 26, 2019 at 09:57 PM (#5874637)
Wait a second, the Orioles had a scouting department?
   20. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 26, 2019 at 10:27 PM (#5874641)
Wait a second, the Orioles had a scouting department?
Well, under Showalter it was called the Bureau of Phrenology.
   21. Howie Menckel Posted: August 26, 2019 at 10:29 PM (#5874642)
Swoboda - I just finished Ron's book "Here's The Catch," about the 1969 Miracle Mets.

of course "svoboda means freedom" is mentioned numerous times. interesting and unusual book about a Cinderella baseball season and career amid turbulent times.

if you somehow haven't read this book - I will drive to your house and hand over my copy.
:)
   22. Swoboda is freedom Posted: August 27, 2019 at 07:56 AM (#5874682)
Swoboda - I just finished Ron's book "Here's The Catch," about the 1969 Miracle Mets.

of course "svoboda means freedom" is mentioned numerous times. interesting and unusual book about a Cinderella baseball season and career amid turbulent times.

if you somehow haven't read this book - I will drive to your house and hand over my copy.


Wow, I did not know that. I will have to get a copy. During the 90's I lived in Eastern Europe. I learned Czech and found out what swoboda or svoboda, meant. Thought is was a cool name.
   23. Howie Menckel Posted: August 27, 2019 at 08:53 AM (#5874683)
it's an unusual book. clearly does not have a ghostwriter.

I wish it had one with the very lightest of touches here and there - but that would a a rare touch indeed.

so it works. a mediocre player who had occasional moments of brilliance, especially in such a magical season. his self-awareness is remarkable.
   24. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 27, 2019 at 09:26 AM (#5874690)
Many of the scouts and player development staff in place for the 2019 season who remained from former executive vice president Dan Duquette’s front office were tendered contracts last October by interim general manager Brian Graham


Color me shocked that Brian Graham would offer contracts to a bunch of guys who didn't deserve them on merit.

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