Baltimore's Mike Elias confident Orioles won't get swept up in sign-stealing scandal

The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Mike Elias

Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said Saturday that he is confident that he and any other members of Baltimore’s front office with ties to the Houston Astros will avoid being connected to the sign-stealing scandal that has embroiled the 2017 World Series champions.

Elias, assistant general manager of analytics Sig Mejdal, director of pitching Chris Holt and director of baseball development Eve Rosenbaum, all of whom worked for the Astros while the club stole opposing pitchers’ signs and relayed them to batters with a trash can-banging system, were not mentioned when Major League Baseball issued a report on its investigation into Houston last month.

Elias worked as an amateur scouting director and assistant general manager under Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow from 2012 to November 2018, when he took his current position with the Orioles.

Luhnow received a one-year suspension after the league’s investigation and was subsequently fired by the Astros. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Luhnow was potentially aware of a sign-decoding system used by Houston known as “Codebreaker."

“Look, it’s been unfortunate to watch from my standpoint,” Elias said, speaking at Orioles’ Birdland Caravan stop at the Calvert Brewing Company in Upper Marlboro. “It’s been a disturbing series of events. I know Sig Mejdal feels the same way. It’s just been tough for anyone in the sport to watch.

"I think the plus side is I think the actions that league has taken and the light that’s been shined on this issue will serve to make for a better product and clean up the game in that sense.”

Elias said he was “confident that the group that’s here that came from Houston will not be connected or implicated in the sign-stealing situation.” Primarily responsible for the amateur draft and international scouting during his time with Houston, Elias also said he doesn’t believe the scandal detracts from the work he and others did in building the Astros’ farm system into one of the best in baseball, producing players such as Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman and developing prospects that were included in trades for pitchers Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

“For us personally, we stand by the incredible work that was done with the Houston Astros in terms of player development, the draft, the international pipeline, all of the achievements and the advancements that we made as a group over there,” Elias said. “Those are the areas that are going to be the most important for a team like the Orioles that’s rebuilding now, and that type of expertise is why we’re here.

“It’s been tough to watch unfold, but we’re really focused on the work we’re doing here. We’ve got a long of young players in the system, we’re adding more, we’re giving them a first-class player development experience. The future’s looking up here.”