The Orioles have fired farm director Brian Graham, who served as the interim general manager between the dismissal of Dan Duquette and the hiring of Mike Elias, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (on Twitter). The move comes not long after the decision not to retain scouting director Gary Rajsich for the 2019 season, as reported by Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.
The pair of personnel changes marks the latest in a series of moves designed to bring about an organizational overhaul in Baltimore. Graham has been the team’s director of player development since the 2013 season and been with the team since 2007, while Rajsich was hired by Duquette as the team’s director of scouting back in 2011.
With Graham and Rajsich both out the door, two of the three top-ranking executives mentioned in the Orioles’ press release announcing a “transition in baseball operations leadership” are now out of the organization; of that trio, only vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson remains. The departures of Graham and Rajsich give the Orioles another pair of significant vacancies to fill — all while the team continues its search for a replacement for the also-dismissed Buck Showalter.
Adding a manager is the organization’s top priority at present, Elias said last night in an interview on 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore (links via Kubatko and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun). Elias declined to delve into specifics, as one would expect. However, the newly hired Baltimore GM did acknowledge that he, with assistance from new assistant GM Sig Mejdal and others in the front office, has pared the list of initial candidates down “quite a bit.” Elias added that he feels the Orioles are “well past phase one of this search.”
Once a manager is in place, that hire will work alongside Elias and the front office to fill in what will in all likelihood be a significantly revamped coaching staff for the 2019 season. Paired with the need to hire a new farm director and scouting director (and the subsequent new hires that’ll be made to work underneath that pair), Elias, Mejdal and the remnants of the prior regime face a fairly daunting amount of administrative work in the coming weeks. That, of course, is in addition to the obvious roster machinations that need to be made for a team that lost a franchise-record number of games in 2018.
Chief among those decisions is likely determining who will be selected with the top pick in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. By virtue of finishing the 2018 season with the worst record in baseball, Baltimore has the top pick, and Elias confirmed in last night’s interview that the O’s will indeed be making a selection.