Back in June, it was reported by Tim Prudente and Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Banner that the Angelos family was battling over the Orioles franchise. Peter Angelos, now 93, was the lead investor of a group that purchased the club in 1993 and has been at the helm since. However, he collapsed in October of 2017 due to the failure of his aortic valve and then established a trust with his wife and two sons as trustees.
The reporting in June provided details of a lawsuit coming from Louis Angelos, one of Peter’s two sons, alleging that John, the other son, had seized control of the team with the intention of selling and perhaps relocating the team to Tennessee. Shortly after those allegations came to light, John released a statement refuting them.
Prudente has released a new piece at the Baltimore Banner this week with further reporting on the matter, looking at court documents from the ongoing legal dispute. According to the attorneys of Georgia Angelos, the wife of Peter and mother of John and Louis, she wanted to create some space between the family and the team. Peter had a reputation as a very hands-on owner, which led to attention that the family wanted to move away from. “After years of bad press that Peter micromanaged baseball operations at the Orioles, Georgia wanted to create distance between her family and the ‘baseball side’ of the organization,” Georgia’s attorneys wrote in court documents. “John similarly abhorred any management structure other than an organizational pyramid with full delegation of authority to a staff of trained professionals and executives, headed by a General Manager responsible for all day-to-day decision making.”
Her attorneys go on to argue that general manager Mike Elias, hired in late 2018, was aggressively pursued by the Giants but instead agreed to come to Baltimore on the condition that he would report to John only because John would give Elias the freedom to handle the baseball decision without interference. “This understanding was crucial to Elias’s decision to come to the Orioles — a club long plagued by anti-organizational culture — so much so that John, with Georgia’s approval, codified these delegated rights in Elias’s employment contract,” Georgia’s attorneys wrote.
The documents go on to allege that Louis was not happy with this turn of events and demanded to be in charge of baseball operations, repeatedly contacting Elias about which baseball players the team might sign. The behaviour of Louis caused him to be excluded from a new board for the team that his mother created in August of 2020, which featured John as chairman and CEO.
The dismissal of Brady Anderson, who had been serving as vice president of baseball operations, also comes up in the court documents. Georgia’s attorneys alleged that Louis was friends with Anderson and unilaterally raised Anderson’s salary from $300K to $900K in 2018. However, when Elias was brought in, he tried to steer the club to a greater analytical approach that didn’t align with Anderson’s style. Louis insisted on keeping Anderson around, with Elias agreeing to a compromise where Anderson was moved to a position as an outside consultant with lower pay. “While Anderson agreed, he felt slighted, a sentiment he could not hide and which eventually led to his termination,” Georgia’s attorneys write. Anderson departed the Orioles organization in 2019.
This is an ongoing legal matter where the allegations haven’t been substantiated in court and an attorney for Louis declined to provide comment for the report. Interested readers are encouraged to read both reports, though more information is likely to be revealed as the legal process plays out.
Regardless of how it came to be in the boardrooms of the front office, the Elias-led Orioles are a reality that is starting to show encouraging signs at the big league level for the first time. After losing at least 108 games in each of the past three full seasons, the O’s are much better here in 2022. Their 73-65 record is the best they’ve had in quite some time and has kept them in the playoff race down the stretch, just four games out of a Wild Card spot with just over three weeks remaining. That big step forward is at least partly due to the club’s 2019 draft, which was Baltimore’s first with Elias at the helm.
Elias recently spoke with Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic about that draft, which saw the club scoop up catcher Adley Rutschman, infielder Gunnar Henderson and outfielder Kyle Stowers, all three of whom are already in the majors. Despite the pressure of having the number one overall selection, it seems Elias and the club didn’t have much doubt about using that pick on Rutschman. “He provided for us the best combination of floor and ceiling,” Elias says. “We thought the leadership component would be a separator, which is looking like it could be the case. And I thought it was rare, a once-in-a-decade kind of thing to get an offensive catcher in a draft.”
Even before that draft selection, Rutschman was mentioned as one of the best prospects in the sport. Since then, he continued rocketing up prospect boards, being considered by many to be the top prospect this year. Since ascending to the big leagues, Rutschman has lived up to the hype in a big way. He’s hitting .255/.363/.449 for a wRC+ of 135, production that’s 35% better than the league average hitter but even further beyond the average catcher. He’s also been great on the other side of the ball, with his 16 Defensive Runs Saved second in the league among catchers despite missing the early part of the season, just barely behind Jose Trevino’s 17. Put together, he’s been worth 4.1 wins above replacement on the season, according to FanGraphs. Among all catchers, that trails only J.T. Realmuto and Sean Murphy, who have each played at least 28 more games than Rutschman.
Based on the strong season for the O’s, Elias said last month that the club expects to “significantly escalate the payroll” this winter. It’s hard to know exactly how the club will approach things, given that we don’t have precedent for how Elias will behave under these new conditions. With the team in rebuild mode for his entire tenure up until now, the front office has avoided significant commitments and hasn’t signed a free agent to a multi-year contract since the four-year deal Alex Cobb got in March of 2018, before Elias was hired. That means they have effectively no future commitments on the books and can theoretically go after any free agent they desire. It will be interesting to see how they play their cards, with Rosenthal reporting that their list of targets includes “a top-of-the-rotation starter,” in addition to a backup catcher and an infielder, with the specific position of the infielder depending upon where the multi-positional Henderson settles.
The club will be looking for “quality rather than quantity” on the pitching front, Rosenthal says, which makes sense given that the club already has some intriguing rotation candidates in the fold. Young pitchers like Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer, Austin Voth, Kyle Bradish and Spenser Watkins have all had some promising starts this year, to varying degrees. The club also has reinforcements coming over the horizon, with Grayson Rodriguez considered by many to be one of the top pitching prospects in the sport. John Means could also return to the mix at some point next year, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April. Given that collection of internal candidates, it would make sense for the O’s to shoot for a single impact starter rather than spreading money around to a handful of less-impactful options. Rosenthal lists Chris Bassitt, Carlos Rodón, Nathan Eovaldi, Jameson Taillon, Corey Kluber and Michael Wacha as some of the available hurlers who would make for logical targets, as the O’s hope to turn the page from perennial basement dwellers to consistent contenders in the AL East.
Didn’t realize there was so much drama. Seems like they are in a good direction though.
Fever Pitch Guy
pwndroia – Yes time will tell if this season is the start of an extended period of success, or just a Brady Anderson type spike in the W column.
Fever Pitch Guy;
As the article notes, what is at issue was building an organization.
The O’s have built and debugged a solid infrastructure of scouting, analytical people, and coaching at both the minor and major league levels. That took time. They’ve done an excellent job in developing and recalibrating players during the season.
MLB today – more so than ever – is all about organizations. The players move around so much it’s the organizations that are the main drivers in an ML teams success….or lack of.
Some of the O’s vaulted young players will wash out in the next few years. Time will tell who they’ll be. But that organization will remain solid and they have a boatload of more youngsters coming up from the minor leagues.
Fever Pitch Guy
Sam – One thing I’ve learned over the many years I’ve been on this planet, nothing is a sure thing. We don’t know how the O’s legal issues will impact the team, we don’t know how injuries will impact the team, we don’t know if the front office will experience major changes, and we don’t know whether careers will fizzle out. Rutschman could be another Wieters for all we know.
I hope they do well, in part so that maybe John Henry will no longer tolerate having the worst team in the division.
“Peter’s two sons, alleging that John, the other son, had seized control of the team with the intention of selling and perhaps relocating the team to Tennessee.”
Family squabbles re the worst.
Yay for me if they move to Nashville.
Fever Pitch Guy
prov – Baltimore is a great baseball town with a ton of baseball history, it would be a sad day for all baseball fans if the O’s pulled an Irsay middle of the night move.
But if the city doesn’t do something to curb the crime and violence in the surrounding area, I could understand them moving into the northern suburbs of Maryland … but not out of state.
Fever Pitch Guy;
The same problem now exists for the Twins as well.
Normally in situations like this a municipality will put out extra Police on game nights. What hurts though is that after the game fans will leave the area. So any businesses hoping to draw people in after games suffer…..although most of those businesses have left the area anyway.
Fever Pitch Guy
Sam – I completely agree about the extra police, but there’s only so much they can do. When I attend games at Oriole Park, the police presence extends only a block away. I would park three blocks away, it’s definitely not a walk most people would want to take.
Samuel: as a Twins fan and season ticket holder, I completely disagree. There’s nothing inherently dangerous about going to a Twins game. That’s an excuse not go for fair weather fans.
That is not going to happen and is frankly a ridiculous suggestion. They’ll be in Baltimore. a different state altogether is always possible but there is jo way in hell they’ll be moving to a suburb. The area by the ravens stadium is being built up now
Fever Pitch Guy
Jb – Moving a sports team within 20 miles away is not uncommon. Patriots moved from Boston to Foxboro, Jets and Giants moved from NYC to NJ, if it means being able to generate a lot more revenue then it’s always a possibility.
Where? That place does not exist. 20 miles south—you’re approaching DC where the nationals are. There’s absolutely not a city 20 miles north with the space/commuter routes or population to support.
If they move—it’ll be to a different state. Baltimore IS the best place in the metro area for a stadium.
OPACY is a great stadium. The Ravens have no issues and they’re literally across the street from each other.
Would bet my life on them not moving out of the city. That sounds great to say move to the suburbs if you have no fundamental understanding of the Baltimore region.
The orioles DO NOT need a new stadium lol
Fever Pitch Guy
Jb – I was thinking along the I-95 corridor north of Baltimore, such as Harford County. Get further away from Nats territory, attract more fans from Delaware.
I do have a fundamental understanding of that region, having spent quite a bit of time in the Edgewood/Bel Air area.
There is absolutely no way you could put a team in bel air. That’s craziness.
Nothing bigger than a minor league affiliate would survive up there. Like the Ironbirds. That’s about all you’d ever see survive in HARco. Not to mention that the citizens up there would never go for it.
Just not viable. Balt/City county bus lines don’t run up there. Baltimore is the central location and the only one that makes any sense. Busses run in & the light rail connects you from BWI up to Hunt Valley.
FPG- Camden is my favorite stadium to watch a game at. I spend a lot of time in the Inner Harbor and I agree Baltimore is a great baseball town. But since I’m in Tennessee, I selfishly would love for them to move here. It would be great to copy the stadium design.
Fever Pitch Guy
prov – Same here, Oriole Park is one of my favorites along with PNC and Globe Life Field. Sure the Inner Harbor is nice, it’s some of the other areas around the park that aren’t. .
FPG – I stay at the Hilton next to the park when I’m in town. I’ve seen the Inner Harbor go down hill over the years too along with the surrounding area. When I’m there, I usually walk to Little Italy or Fells Point for dinner. There are parts of the walk that are sketch. Baltimore PD could do a ton more to curb crime but my understanding is the DA isn’t very cop friendly. Still love the town. Might be back in November.
@FeverPitchGuy, I can agree that the history is there. With the O’s stinking for a while, it allowed loads of fans to switch to the Gnats. The WS win sped up this transition. That said, moving the team to North of OPACY would put the team out of physical reach for Howard County and Montgomery County residents, for which I belong. Add to this the sweetheart stadium leases funded by lottery funds, it would make bad fiscal sense for O’s or Ravens to move. I don’t see our state EVER abandoning OPACY.
In the meantime, I see more Orange clothing this year than the past 5 combined. Elias knows what he’s doing and it’s refreshing to have a baseball team as exciting as the football team.
Where would you even propose a stadium to go north of Baltimore?
Cecil County Orioles!?
It’s not even remotely possible.
Fever Pitch Guy
Joe – It’s 45 minutes from Ellicott City to Edgewood and a little over an hour from Rockville.. You’d also draw a lot more fans from Delaware and Penn.
Fever pitch. Edgewood is an absolute dump BTW.
It’s not the poster city for a “safe” area.
The Phillies are still the team up there. They aren’t going to change their allegiance. It’s much more likely you’ll just lose what’s left of your higher earning fan base in Howard and Montgomery counties.
Fever Pitch Guy
JB – Let’s hope they can clean up Baltimore and make it safer, that would be the ideal option. I used to really enjoy spending time in that area, from the inner harbor to Little Italy to the ESPN Zone (I know it’s gone) to the Poe cemetery to meeting players at Cheesecake Factory to the Babe Ruth Museum to Pickles. I’ve got good memories there, attended Cal’s last three games and Nomo’s no-no and Manny’s 500th and Pedro’s 15K 2-hitter and Manny climbing the wall to high-five a fan.
Fascinating. The fact that the Giants were after Elias is new. Would Elias have wanted to do a complete restructuring of the Giants roster? He didn’t have a choice in Baltimore since Duquette had dumped most of the big contracts.
Every morning when he walks into the office he shouts:
“Who wants to walk with Elias”!!!!
Capitalism = good. Greed = bad.
Hotel = Trivago
The initial report seemed to make John look like the one in the wrong but Louis attempting to turn the Orioles into an old boys club is just dumb. These owners really just need to hire their baseball people and count their money, there’s really no need to have their hands all over baseball decisions.
You can lump the fans into that as well. Just pay your money and cheer when they tell you to cheer and you eventually get a winner. Demanding they sign free agents and crying about the team tanking to win makes it more difficult to actually win.
Agreed. I never understood why Anderson was part of the front office. He never seemed to fit a particular role, but was always around. Now it all makes sense. Louis bought himself a friend.
Seems like Lou Angelos and Dan Snyder would be BFFs.
Real life fantasy sports.
Who needs analytics when you have PEDs
C Yards Jeff;
I saw it coming, but didn’t write anything about it……
The O’s were in a bad spot. On the one hand they were on a roll competing for a playoff spot. On the other they needed to see how some of their youngsters played at the ML level to plan for the offseason.
The pattern with young players coming up is that they often hit or pitch well initially as the other ML players have not seen them. But once teams get analytical info and video to break down on them, they make adjustments quickly. The younger players usually take a while to successfully make adjustments back.
What the O’s did was temporarily kill the chemistry of the team that had played so well. The other contenders – particularly the Jays – did some research, made adjustments and that’s that.
As for 2023 – the O’s called up Vavra , Henderson, and Stowers…all LH hitters. They’ll want to play those guys in 2023. So Odor and his LH bat are gone. The problem there is that he’s provided tremendous veteran leadership. That will need to be replaced. With Vavra and Henderson both able to play 2B – and both seeming to have problems hitting LH pitchers – the O’s will need to bring in a RH bat to play some 2B or 3B (Urias can play some 2B, but he’s an elite 3B), that can also show some leadership – and due to the deep and high LF wall it’s better to find a RH that’s a contact, line drive hitter. Not much out there in FA – Adam Frazier and Brandon Drury are about it if their teams don’t resign them
Sid Bream Speed Demon
Frazier bats lefty, FYI. Otherwise, well written, thoughtful post.
Adam Frazier is a LH hitter
Jean segura will be avail for that role
Jean segura will enter the chat
C Yards Jeff
@Samuel; spot on, wonderful analysis. Thank you.
Yep, quite the catch 22. Continuity disrupted but for best of reasons. And yes, Toronto’s advance scouting dept did their job getting intel together on some of our newbies! Good for them.
RH bat needed indeed, and agreed, a contact not launch angle hitter of the ball. The one guy in the org that comes to mind is Cowser. I know he’s an outfielder which could be problematic with Hays, Santander and Mullins seeming to be Elias favs … and rightfully so.
In regards to the family squabble, my only concern is that Elias becomes disenchanted and moves on. I wish Lou would reconsider his suit.Best to you and family. Regards.
I wonder how much money they would have to give Rutschman to get him to sign long term.
Like Lamar Jackson, it’s getting more expensive by the day
Unlike Lamar, Rutschman is listed as a catcher and plays like a catcher. Lamar is fun to watch but he is not a long term solution worth the amount of cap space he wants.
C Yards Jeff
@CBlancos; me too. I hope both sides can come to an agreement and as soon as this off season. The one other guy I liked to see inked long term and soon is Mullins. Both players for two reason. 1. Defensively speaking, the game is played up the middle. 2. They’re both table setters offensively. Neither one strikes out all that much.
After seeing them again recently when they were playing the Sox, I was even more impressed. Mullins is also a great tone setter because he both has fun and plays hard.
I am rooting for a complete turnaround by the Orioles. Such a franchise with history shouldn’t be a perennial laughingstock. Things are finally looking up. However, as a previous poster noted, Baltimore is a cesspool, one of the filthiest cities I have ever been in. Such a shame.
What chemistry was killed? Did I miss something? Can you show me how and where their W-L record was effected? Henderson is hitting 306 and stowers and vavra barely play. Poor comment
I really don’t think its a coincidence that Baltimore took off when Adley was called up. He’s a very rare talent. He’s so much more then a quality catcher he’s the definition of intangibles. Pitchers love to throw to this guy and he makes them better. The Orioles were very fortunate to draft this guy he’s a winner and while baseball among all other sports requires a team this guy imo is the most valuable young guy in the sport.
Kill what chemistry? They’re 2-3 this week losing a bullpen game and 2 game to Cay Young front runners. The “youngsters” I’m assuming ur referring to are Henderson (306) along with stowers and vavra who rarely play. Poor take
Kill what chemistry? They’re 2-3 this week losing a bullpen game and 2 games to Cy Young front runners. The “youngsters” I’m assuming ur referring to are Henderson (306) along with stowers and vavra who rarely play. Poor take
We’re also 8 games over .500 now. We were .500 at the deadline.
Losing Lopez hurt our pen this year for sure. The SP wasn’t going to hold up for us this year though. Toronto is further along and has put $$$ into major leaguers. The O’s aren’t at that point and that was really independent of our deadline.
Sounds like John and Georgia wanted structure while Louis wanted to keep the status quo going. Unfortunately the overly hands on owner is more of a detriment than a help. O’s are headed in the right direction and Elias seems like the right guy to steer the ship
The Orioles are so much better off with Elias running the baseball side of things. He knows what he’s doing and has hired talented and capable personnel to assist him. This team is on the rise and will only get better.
It seems since Elias’ hiring they’ve had something resembling a foundation as an origination. They literally went decade(s) without that.
Im pulling for them to make the Wild Card. An great history in the aggregate — just not the last 20 years.
Joey Krehbiel is their best reliever. Best deliver in baseball
The O’s have one big thing going for them, the are not the Colorado Rockies.
It shows how any team can get competitive with the right business plan and the right baseball professionals calling the shots on baseball decisions!
If the Orioles want to force out Elias, then teams like the Tigers would welcome Elias with open arms.
The Angels, Tigers Rockies, Red Sox, White Sox (and until recently0 the Pirates)
have been plagued by ownership interference, Front office problems, bad business plans and much more…
The Red Sox really don’t really belong on that list with the rest.
Looks like everything that I said about Louis is being confirmed by Georgia’s testimony. While this is far from over, when all is said and done, Louis will be bought out and the team will move forward without his toxic influence.
John will eventually need to buy out Louis or they’ll need to sell the team. It’ll really get messy when the parents pass.
Georgia and John control the trust now. They will buy Louis out together and eventually the team will be John’s.
And then he’ll sell it and cash out.
Why no mention of the problems with MASN?
Sounds like how one would expect this to go. There are hurt feelings on some sides, but you can’t fire your family.
And some people didn’t believe me awhile back when I told them this.
The O’s play over their heads with lightning in the bottle players and then they hint that they’ll “really honest and truly spend money this time” in free agency and all the kool-aid drinkers think the O’s are serious and will be contenders. Meanwhile they don’t pay attention to what’s going on in front of their eyes.
The O’s don’t even know who is running the team, so who exactly is going to authorize all this big spending? By default the spending has to increase due to raises in contracts/arbitration, etc. So they will do what they always do, make a half-hearted offer to somebody, have them reject it and then state, “We’re not going to bid against ourselves, the market didn’t go as we had thought, now we will have to let it settle,” and you’ll get a Jordan Lyles type-signing.
They’ve been trading away anyone not nailed to the floor if they are due a big pay raise. They were shopping John Means before he got injured. They were shopping Cedric Mullins.