Elias has typically been very methodical when it comes to promotions once a player hits A-ball and he did not show any inclination to "rush" a player up the chain or to the big leagues before putting in some time and success at a previous level.
Michael Baumann has just 13 AA appearances (70 IP) so it's easy to just think Elias would want him to have success at AAA before having him compete for a big league job. One could also think that Elias would prefer an extra year of control for a pitcher with the upside of Baumann.
My argument to that is two fold with Baumann. First, Baumann will pitch at 25 years old next year which means he'll be 31 when he's eligible for free agency. That to me suggests that player control will not be an issue. The second part is that Baumann was considered by several observers as the best pitcher at the alternate camp before coming down with elbow discomfort.
To me, those were like AAA starts with the talent level of the hitters in camp for the most part so in Elias' head, he could be thinking he's gotten that AAA experience.
The rotation this year barring injury should start with Means and Cobb, with Akin and Kremer having the inside track to the next two spots. Saying that, it's not like akin and Kremer can come into camp and just be terrible and get a spot, so I'd say they have spots as long as they don't implode in the spring.
The last spot has these candidates right now:
Baumann is clearly the best pitcher of these options though I think Zimmemann is better than what we saw last year since he had missed some time due to COVID along with the long layoff from the spring where he was throwing the ball well.
One more thing about Elias doing things out of his norm is that AA and A ball will begin about a month late due to COVID concerns at spring training. This means we could see some players, potentially Rutschman, jumped to AAA in order to get them playing time. Rutschman was reportedly one of the best hitters at the alternate camp against the upper level pitching so it might not be a stretch to see him start the year in Norfolk and if he's not doing well, moved back to Bowie when their season starts.
Not Tony, but virtually our entire minor league system is one year older and had no organized baseball last year. For those players, it was a "missed season." Yet they are still a year older than you would have liked at this point in their careers. So, some may be moved along faster than they would have to make up for the lost time.
You might actually be able to if he has a good first half and a team has a need at the deadline.
In no case would we be getting back elite prospects. We'd probably get guys who profile like the Bundy trade, but less of them. Don't get me wrong, I'd like that trade if, as I've said, the next group looks like they'll stick. If not, I think he could be part of a contender here if those guys don't pan out, so I don't just want to dump him.