With new manager Brandon Hyde now in the fold, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias can finally cross the Orioles' most pressing need off his offseason to-do list. But there is still much, much more to do for the O's, who probably consider this holiday break more of
With new manager Brandon Hyde now in the fold, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias can finally cross the Orioles' most pressing need off his offseason to-do list. But there is still much, much more to do for the O's, who probably consider this holiday break more of a hindrance given the sheer number of hires they still need to make.
With just six weeks until Spring Training, their needs are extensive, and splinter through every facet of the organization. Here is a rundown of the club's remaining offseason plan.
1. Hire a coaching staff
As the Orioles were the only club at the Winter Meetings without a manager, they are also now the only team still without a coaching staff. This is where Elias and Hyde will turn their immediate attention. The two plan on targeting people with player development backgrounds to complement Hyde at the big league level, where the O's will likely compete with one of the least experienced rosters in baseball. They still need to round out their Minor League coaching ranks as well.
2. Fill the front office
In the end, the field staff will only amount to a sliver of Baltimore's total hires this offseason. Many more are set for the front office, where several leadership positions remain vacant. The club is without a farm director and a scouting director, meaning there is no one in place to prep for the 2019 MLB Draft, for which the Orioles own the first overall pick. The O's also want to improve their scouting foothold in Latin America.
"This is an area, scouting and player development, where I've been my whole career," Elias said at the Winter Meetings. "We've had a lot of success in that area across two different organizations and the reason we were brought here. ... It's going to be a major focus of this organization for the next few years and beyond. ... We'll get the right people. We'll get them in good time. ... It's an area I'll be very personally involved this year."
3. Beef up analytics
It's in these behind-the-scenes roles where most of the Orioles' offseason hires will come. New assistant GM Sig Mejdal followed Elias from Houston. He's been charged with revamping what was one of the smallest analytics departments in baseball, and that means adding both manpower and machine power in droves.
The programmers and analysts the O's will bring in are only the start; Mejdal and Elias also plan to improve the systems that harvest that data, which will require significant investments in technology and infrastructure. Their goal is to build a data operation that rivals their old one with the Astros, who pour more resources into those areas than any other team.
4. Address the roster
At some point in between all of that, the Orioles will need to turn their attention to their roster, which, to this point, they've only had time to improve on the margins. Expect them to keep adding young, versatile up-the-middle players however they can, and they'll aim to stockpile these types of players with an eye toward the future.
The present, though, also presents several glaring needs. Where to start? The O's need at least one outfielder and two starting pitchers, and they could eye improvements in the bullpen and behind the plate. They're likely to address at least some of these areas via free agency later in the offseason.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.