In case anyone out there needed another reminder that Mike Elias is going to be a different sort of GM than his predecessor, the Orioles made a new hire on Wednesday, bringing Indians director of Latin American scouting Koby Perez to join the rebuilding effort.
Perez’s official title with the O’s will be Senior Director, International Scouting. The club’s press release announcing the hire described his responsibilities as overseeing “all aspects of the Orioles’ international scouting operations and management of the club’s bonus pool.” He will report directly to Elias. Presumably, the days of Brady Anderson being the point man failing to negotiate successfully with international free agents are over.
The 40-year-old Perez brings almost a decade of experience with scouting in Latin America to the franchise. He served in the Phillies scouting staff in that area from 2009-13, chiefly involved in Dominican Republic signings including future big leaguers Maikel Franco, Hector Neris, and Seranthony Dominguez. He spent the last five years with the Indians, first as an international crosschecker, then as the director for Latin American scouting.
Elias said of his new hire:
In Koby Perez, we have found the right person to spearhead the Orioles’ new international presence. His experience, connections, and reputation built across a fast-rising career in multiple successful organizations will immediately elevate our capabilities in this critical market. Hiring Koby is a major first step in improving our footing in Latin America. We will continue to augment our operation until the Baltimore Orioles are leaders in recruiting and developing international players.
The continuing commitment by Elias to the O’s international efforts is the real exciting thing about this news. Perez’s name probably won’t come up again until six months from now when the next international signing period begins, but in the meantime it’s good to know that the O’s have hired someone to lead this area and that they plan more steps beyond this.
These are not short-term solutions. If the O’s are serious about signing players out of Latin America, that’s the set of kids who are going to be 16 when July rolls around. Even if the O’s find a bunch of players who develop into great prospects down the road, Perez and the players he finds will have little to no impact on the 2019-21 Orioles. If the O’s are lucky, they might have some well-regarded prospects in three years and exciting big leaguers in five or six years.
It may be that the lack of instant gratification with these prospects is why previous GMs had a tough time selling ownership on the international investment. Maybe it took the Angelos sons stepping in and hiring Elias to really recognize the need.
Whatever the reason why it was the way it was before, things do seem to be different now. The Orioles are hiring people, and the principal figures are making specific commitments about what they were doing rather than just offering vague platitudes that were never backed up by reality. Even if all of this new investment is years away from bearing fruit, it’s still nice to feel like things might be headed in the right direction.