Baltimore Orioles: Mychal Givens Could Be On His Way Out

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 24: Mychal Givens #60 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with Dwight Smith Jr. #35 after a 4-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 24, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 24: Mychal Givens #60 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with Dwight Smith Jr. #35 after a 4-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 24, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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The Baltimore Orioles are already fielding offers for relief pitcher Mychal Givens.

Going into the 2019 season, Mychal Givens figured to be one of the top trade chips in the Baltimore Orioles organization. With the team years away from competing and in need of a deeper and improved minor league system, Givens is among the more talented pieces on the current roster, capable of bringing in a respectable return on the market.

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, it appears that the Orioles aren’t waiting until the trade deadline to make a move with Mychal Givens and are already listening to offers for the relief pitcher.

With a number of contending teams experiencing early struggles from their bullpen, will this help drive up the price for the former infielder turned dominant reliever?

In Rosenthal’s’ report, seen above, he lists the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox as three logical destinations for Givens. Chicago relievers currently rank 18th in baseball with a 4.66 ERA and sport a 1.53 WHIP, among the league’s worst marks. Boston sits immediately behind Chicago with a 4.70 bullpen ERA, while the Dodgers rank 22nd with a 4.73 team ERA among relievers.

The Braves, Mets, and Twins also rank in the bottom half of the league in bullpen ERA and all figure in the thick of the playoff hunt come late in the season.

However, Rosenthal points out that several teams believe the Orioles will place a significant price tag on the 28-year-old reliever, due to his two-plus years of control and highly affordable salary of just over $2 million. Mike Elias will certainly demand a high price for his most coveted asset, and rightfully so, but I wouldn’t expect this to deter teams from offering respectable deals or prevent Elias from improving this franchise’s talent pool by moving Givens.

Mychal Givens has been much better than the standard stat line shows for the Baltimore Orioles.

Overall, Givens has appeared in nine games for the Orioles, recording a 4.50 ERA and giving up six earned runs on 11 hits (two home runs) in 12 innings. He’s recorded 15 strikeouts to just four walks.

Givens has seen a slight uptick in his slider and changeup usage, possibly leading to a more effective four-seam fastball in 2019. Opponents are hitting .214 against the fastball, right on par with his .212 average against in 2018, however, he’s producing a higher whiff rate (nearly nine percentage points higher). According to Baseball Savant, the expected batting average against Givens’ fastball is just .181. While it’s still very early in the season, both are career-bests for Givens.

Looking at his arsenal as a whole, Givens is producing a 58% groundball rate, a 20% jump from 2018. He’s also getting hitters to chase more often than ever before, while allowing much less contact than ever before on pitches outside of the strike zone. This fact has helped improved his overall whiff rate to 33% on the season, a number which Givens saw drop significantly over the past three seasons (down to 25% last season).

Mychal Givens has been solid, very solid. Unfortunately, the management of Givens has not been. I haven’t had very many qualms about Brandon Hyde and his style of coaching or in-game decisions. This team is out-performing expectations of even the most optimistic Baltimore Orioles fan with a roster full of place holders, Quad-A type players, and regulars who would provide greater value in a more limited role.

But consistently using Givens multiple innings has had a negative effect. When Givens throws one or fewer innings in an outing, he’s allowed one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

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In the 8th inning, Givens has been nearly flawless- 6.0 IP, two hits allowed (both singles), seven strikeouts, zero runs allowed (opponents’ slash line- .100/.217/.100).

The 9th inning is a different story- 6 IP, nine hits allowed, eight strikeouts, four runs allowed (opponents’ slash line- .346/.393/.692).

So, Mychal Givens is still a top-notch reliever who, when used correctly, will provide tremendous value for any organization that decides to pull off a trade for the Baltimore Orioles reliever. His team control and contract are huge bonuses that will surely make him even more attractive to teams. Mike Elias should have no problem getting exactly what he wants for his top trade piece, especially if bullpen issues continue to show themselves for teams expected to be major players in a deep playoff run.

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In his career, Givens is 18-10 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.14 WHIP across 272 innings. He’s fanned 316 hitters and has allowed only 208 hits during this span.