When Mike Elias was first introduced as the Orioles’ executive vice president and general manager in November 2018, he sat between brothers John and Louis Angelos as he promised to bring an “elite talent pipeline” to Baltimore. Now, that process again finds itself in the middle of the sons of principal owner Peter Angelos.
On Saturday, Elias said he didn’t believe the lawsuit Louis Angelos filed last week against John Angelos and their mother, Georgia, partly regarding John’s handling of the club as the Orioles’ chairman and CEO, will have any impact on the team’s baseball operations department as it continues to oversee a rebuild now in its fifth season.
“It’s unfortunate and definitely not something that you like to see,” Elias told reporters gathered in the Orioles’ dugout at Camden Yards. “But, you know, this is a tough business. There’s always kind of crazy stuff going on in this business. We’ve had our challenges the last few years. We’re going to stay focused on the task at hand, work diligently, work smartly and keep doing the right thing for the Orioles. And I don’t think that this is going to have any impact on the play on the field or the team that you see.”
In his suit, Louis F. Angelos, 52, claimed John P. Angelos, 54, went against their 92-year-old father’s wishes in how he’s handled the family’s fortune, including ownership of the Orioles. Louis Angelos’ suit claims Peter Angelos, who has been in declining health for several years, wanted his sons to run the team equally but that John Angelos has seized control of the organization. The suit also claims that Georgia Angelos suggested selling the team, with John Angelos preventing a sale on at least one occasion.
The legal action brought the club’s future in Baltimore into question, though John Angelos has previously said, and reiterated in a statement following the suit, that the Orioles will play in the city “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor.” The team’s lease at Camden Yards, which includes a non-relocation clause, goes through the 2023 season.
Elias is named in the suit, with Louis Angelos claiming that his brother directed Elias to fire then-club executive and former Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson because of Anderson’s loyalty to their father. On Saturday, Elias noted how vital John Angelos was in his decision to join the Orioles almost four years ago, citing the respect he had for the owners he had previously worked under in Bill DeWitt as a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals and Jim Crane as a scouting director and assistant general manager for the Houston Astros.
“When I came here, I had other options, and John was a big part of why I came,” Elias said. “I think that we’ve got things moving in the right direction. Like I said, it’s been a tough couple of years. We’ve had a lot to navigate. There were a lot of unique challenges to the Orioles, and we’ve still got a lot of challenges ahead of us, but I look at the shape that we’re in in terms of being set up for the future and still continue to feel very bullish about that and excited about the way that this team is playing and what’s going on in the farm system and what’s going on in the Warehouse. We’re just gonna power through this, as you do in this industry for a lot of different stuff.”
Under Elias, the Orioles have dramatically reformatted their front office, building out an analytics department and diving into international amateur scouting at a far steeper level than the organization had previously. Those investments have come as the major league team has had diminutive payrolls; Elias’ first three seasons leading the front office have each resulted in a top-five draft pick, based on the standings of the previous year.
Although the Orioles (29-37) again have a losing record more than a third of the way into the 2022 season, they are improved in many areas and have one of the best minor league systems in the sport, the products of which are beginning to reach the majors. Adley Rutschman, baseball’s top prospect, was called up last month, and Grayson Rodriguez, the sport’s top pitching prospect, was excelling in Triple-A before a lat muscle strain shut him down.
“I think I’ve been very consistent about the stuff that I’ve said since being hired in 2018, dating back to that press conference,” Elias said. “The support and relationship that the baseball ops department has had with the ownership group and John, leading the team and leading the ownership group, has been phenomenal. It’s been nothing but constructive, and it will continue to be so. We’re set up with a very talented and stable management team, both in terms of the baseball ops department, but the business side. John’s added a lot of depth to the organization. We’ve had to make a lot of tough changes and necessary changes to the way that the Orioles have done business. And, you know, it’s been a difficult few years, and it’s been a difficult process, but I continue to have nothing but good things to say about the way that he’s been running the company since taking the helm.”