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#pounditFriday, September 30, 2022

Orioles GM doing damage control with players over deadline moves

Mike Elias wearing sunglasses

Jun 12, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias prior to the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Not every team’s trade deadline moves resonated with players and fans, with the Baltimore Orioles providing a strong example of that.

Despite winning 26 of their last 40 games and moving within a half game of the second AL Wild Card spot, the Orioles took on the role of trade deadline sellers. Outfielder Trey Mancini was sent to the Houston Astros, while All-Star closer Jorge Lopez was sent to the Minnesota Twins. The Orioles received prospects in both deals, despite having Lopez under team control through 2024.

The moves apparently did not go down well in the clubhouse, at least not based on the actions of general manager Mike Elias. Elias, speaking to the media Wednesday, admitted he had flown all the way to Dallas, where the Orioles are playing a road series against the Texas Rangers, to try to explain the moves to several core players.

One gets the feeling Elias would not have felt the need to do this if players were already understanding of and comfortable with his moves.

On paper, there is justification for Elias making the moves he did. Mancini is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, while Lopez does not necessarily have a track record of extended success to lean upon. Plus, from a realistic point of view, there is no way the Orioles could stack up against the likes of the Astros or Yankees in the postseason.

On the other hand, baseball is not played on paper, and it is very easy to see how these moves could demoralize an Orioles team that has been punching above its weight for a while now. Elias will likely have some smoothing over to do. The same is true of a National League contender that alienated at least one player by taking a similar approach.


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