After an abysmal 47-115 season, the Orioles will look to continue to rebuild. They traded away all their major trade chips at the trade deadline, but at the very least they may look to clear unnecessary salary.
Current State: Rebuilding
Orioles Hire Mike Elias as GM
The Orioles have hired former Astros assistant general manager Mike Elias to be their new general manager. The 35-year-old has been Houston’s assistant GM for the last three seasons, and was their director of amateur scouting before that. He was responsible for the selection of star shortstop Carlos Correa, a surprising selection at the time. Elias, a life-long Orioles fan, brings energy to a team who has gotten bland in recent years. He has history with a long and grueling rebuild from Houston, and knows just as well as anyone else on how to develop a young core correctly. While Baltimore has very few trade chips for Elias to take advantage of, they do have the #1 pick in next year’s draft. With a long history of draft success, Elias is the best suited to make a franchise changing selection. The Orioles definitely lucked out when it comes to this hire.
Orioles Hire Brandon Hyde as Manager
In Elias’ first ever move, the Orioles have hired former Cubs bench coach Brandon Hyde to be their next manager. Hyde, 45, has been coaching since 2003. He was the manager of the Marlins Double-A affiliate from 2005 to 2009, was the Cubs first base coach in 2015 and 2016, and served as their bench coach in 2014, 2017, and 2018. Unlike in most rebuilds, the rebuilding Orioles are putting their trust in someone with no managerial experience. Yet, I still love this move. Over the next few years, Baltimore’s main goal is to develop the young players on their roster, as they’ll likely be at the bottom of the standings for a while. Therefore, Hyde’s experience in the minor leagues with young players will come handy. He’s also a Joe Maddon disciple, and has been advertised as an amazing communicator. If Hyde is able to get through this rebuilding phase, the Orioles may have found their manager for their next contending team. If not, then they can simply move on. Right now, major league production is nowhere near as important for the Orioles as their minor league production from their prospects, so this is a risk worth taking.
Orioles Sign SP Nate Karns
The bolster their pitching depth, the Orioles have signed starting pitcher Nate Karns to a one year, $800K contract. Karns, 31, missed the entire 2018 season after undergoing surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. In 2017, he posted a 4.17 ERA with a 4.48 FIP in 45.1 innings. In that limited action, Karns’ strikeout rate was at a career best rate (10.13 K/9), and his 3.92 K/BB ratio is intriguing for the rebuilding Orioles, as his relatively high ground ball rates. He also doesn’t allow a lot of hard contact, and was much better in recent seasons in getting hitters to chase outside the zone. However, Karns’ career 4.37 ERA and 4.36 FIP speak to what he is- a below average pitcher. Baltimore should have little expectations for him heading to these season, especially after the surgery. $800K is an extremely small investment, but I’m not even sure if his value will match that salary. Still, any sort of pitching depth is important for a team that lacks any sort of it.
*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Orioles Make
Stats Courtesy of Baseball Reference, Fangraphs, and Baseball Savant