Two days after the Orioles were swept by the Rangers in the American League Division Series, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias took full credit for how the season ended.

Yes, the club won 101 games and captured the American League East. But they were not good enough when it counted, getting bounced from the playoffs in three games.

“Any shortcomings that anyone perceives with the 2023 campaign should be directed toward me,” he said. “Those guys did absolutely everything asked of them, and that was a lot.”

Now comes the hard part: figuring out how to sustain success long term.

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Here are four takeaways from Elias’ end-of-season press conference.

Next year’s payroll is uncertain

The Orioles had the third-lowest payroll in MLB this season, ahead of only the Pirates and the Athletics. With 16 players entering arbitration, that number is bound to increase regardless of what happens in free agency.

Elias would not comment on whether they expect to increase payroll.

“I’m in day one of our offseason,” he said. “That’s my answer.”

Elias built the 2023 team mainly from players he inherited, his own draft picks, waiver claims and trades. The Orioles signed only two free agents last offseason — Kyle Gibson at $10 million and Adam Frazier at $8 million.

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They have not signed a player to a guaranteed multiyear contract since Alex Cobb in 2018. He was traded in 2021, playing out only three of his four contract years with the Orioles.

“There are players and trade targets that we have pursued in the last 12 months that we didn’t get them,” Elias said. “Those pursuits will be on the menu again.”

There’s a lot of talent still in the minors

Eleven of the Orioles’ top prospects ended the season in Triple-A or the majors. There’s a logjam of talent, and the Orioles have to figure out a way to make space for them.

“It’s all I think about every day of my life,” Elias said.

Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, will be in major league camp again in the spring. In 2023, he was there just to gain experience. This time, he’ll have a chance to make the team.

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Holliday, just 19 years old, jumped from Low-A to Triple-A in his first full professional season. He had a .323 batting average with a .941 OPS and 12 home runs across the four levels.

“I think when you are 19 and then you’re 20, that’s one year but that’s a lot of aging and physical development,” Elias said. “I can’t wait to see what he looks like in spring training.”

Holliday will have a spot when he’s ready. The others don’t have the same guarantee. They could be used as trade chips — the infield, in particular, is getting bogged down — or frequent flyers between Norfolk and Baltimore.

Trade deadline regrets

The Orioles made only two deals at the trade deadline, acquiring Shintaro Fujinami from the Athletics and Jack Flaherty from the Cardinals. Neither made a difference in the playoffs.

“I lament that our outcome at the trade deadline didn’t propel us through the ALDS,” Elias said.

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Fujinami didn’t make the ALDS roster, with the Orioles opting to go with Bryan Baker instead despite the fact he spent most of the second half in Triple-A. They thought his performance in the Triple-A championship, Hyde said, would carry over.

It did not. He gave up three runs in one-third of an inning in Game 2 and sat out the next game.

Although Flaherty did make the ALDS roster, he was brought over to add starter depth. He was valuable in the sense that the Orioles were able to move to a six-man rotation, but his performance did not help the team. He made seven starts before being moved to the bullpen. He pitched once in the ALDS, giving up one run in two innings.

Leadership at the top will be back

The contracts terms for front office members and coaches isn’t known, but Elias did confirm that both he and manager Brandon Hyde will be back next season.

The duo have been together since the 2019 season, turning the Orioles from a 100-loss team to AL East champions.

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“I thought he had an unbelievable season,” Elias said of Hyde. “He’s going to win manager of the year, if he doesn’t, I don’t know what happened.”

The future of the rest of the coaching staff, though, remains unclear.

danielle.allentuck@thebaltimorebanner.com

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

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