Baltimore Orioles Rumors: The Most Intriguing Pursuit Of Mychal Givens
By Nick Stevens
A number of National League teams are reportedly showing interest in Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Mychal Givens.
For major league franchises looking to bolster their pitching staff or solidify their lineup in hopes of a World Series run, just two weeks remain before the 2019 MLB trade deadline. With only one trade deadline in place now, the July 31st deadline is it. For fans of the Baltimore Orioles, these two weeks have the potential to be an exciting time as general manager Mike Elias continues to carry out his long-term plans to turn a proud franchise into a winning one, once again.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko recently relayed news of the Philadelphia Phillies and their interest in Andrew Cashner, before he was shipped to Boston, and how their attention has now turned to relief pitcher Mychal Givens and starter Dylan Bundy. Earlier today, via ESPN, it was reported that the Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres all had representatives at Camden Yards this week to get a look at Givens.
As Elias has stated, he isn’t looking for elite prospects in return for his trade pieces. Everyone is clear on what type of value even the best Orioles player has at this point. Instead, the goal of Elias at this deadline is to acquire talent from the lower levels of the minor leagues, including more young, international prospects, similar to the two pieces acquired for Andrew Cashner.
For this reason, I want to focus on just one of the above mentioned NL teams, the San Diego Padres. I spent all of last season heavily involved with the Padres and their minor league system. In my opinion, you will not find a major league squad that is more fun to watch than the Padres. I didn’t say they were a good team, they have been decent in 2019, but the energy that guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. Franmil Reyes, Chris Paddack, and others bring is unmatched. And of course, there’s Manny Machado. Watching him take young players under his wing has been a joy to watch, making his detractors look ridiculous in the process.
The Padres are in a unique position. They don’t quite have the pitching to secure a playoff spot and the lineup does have one or two holes which need to be patched up. They also have the deepest farm system in baseball, oozing with talent up and down the farm. One side effect of general manager AJ Preller stockpiling talent through trades, big drafts, and spending absurd amounts of money in the international market is that the Rule 5 draft looms, with many prospects who would rank in the Top 30 of many other organizations prospect list in danger of walking away.
Preller doesn’t have to offer up a haul for a prized trade deadline target (although he very well could) and in fact, he could be looking to sell off a few pieces like Kirby Yates, his All-Star closer, and at least one outfielder among Reyes, Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, or Manuel Margot, to help clear up roster space, or in Myers case, a hefty contract.
If there’s one team I want to see the Orioles make a deal with, it’s the Padres. Elias targeted athletes up the middle in this year’s draft, a strategy he hopes pays dividends in the near future. Baltimore lacks depth at many positions, but the lack of infield talent on the farm is extreme. The Padres have plenty of athletic players who can help fill this void.
With Eric Hosmer, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado locked in for many years to come, there’s essentially no room at the major league level for many noteworthy prospects of the Padres. They currently employ a tandem of Ian Kinsler and Greg Garcia at second base, but the organization is hoping to replace this duo with top second base prospect Luis Urias.
If you like quick, athletic, speedy, young prospects who play multiple positions, San Diego is your place to shop. Infielders such as Gabriel Arias (19, big arm, impressive defense, beginning to tap into a little power), Eguy Rosario (19, quick on the basepaths, plays 2B, 3B, SS, ), Esteury Ruiz (20, 117 SB in four seasons, power in his swing, can play IF and OF), and Tucupita Marcano (19, high BB/low K ability, career .369 OBP in three seasons) are all higher-risk/high-reward type prospects.
Baltimore could also look to add some depth at third base with the likes of Hudson Potts (20, solid defense, power, finds gaps regularly, needs plate discipline) or even an older name like Ty France (currently hitting .367/.455/.750 with 19 HR, 32/18 K/BB ratio in 51 AAA games).
We haven’t even touched on some of the pitchers who project as major leaguers but may find it extremely difficult to find playing time in San Diego. Reggie Lawson is a strike-thrower with a three-pitch mix (fastball, curveball, changeup) who can sit in the mid-90s. He became one of my favorite prospects in the system last season after starting the year with five consecutive starts of at least five innings and one or fewer earned runs allowed. If you’re interested in quick looks at more than 100 Padres prospects, I suggest this piece from James Clark of East Village Times. James has boots on the ground at every minor league affiliate and does solid work from the Padres clubhouse.
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Few can scout the international market like AJ Preller, meaning a plethora of talent sitting in the Dominican Summer League, players which I will divert to Mike Elias and his expertise. At every level and at every position, there is talent in the Padres system. Many pieces are risky but the days of safe, boring minor leaguers in Birdland are over.
Givens would be a veteran addition to the Padres bullpen, which has struggled this season after a dominant 2018, is someone who brings multiple years of control, and fits into the timeframe of when the Padres expect to compete for a playoff run. For many of the names previously mentioned, Elias would likely have to get a little creative, something he’s pretty good at doing.
Maybe the Padres aren’t that interested in Givens and working on some sort of package for any of their under-the-radar, but more established, prospects. Maybe, if the O’s and Friars do become trade partners, Elias looks deep into Dominican Summer League rosters again. Maybe the two teams don’t make a deal. If that’s the case, it was at least fun diving into the San Diego farm system again.
The moral of the story is that should these two franchises make a deal, keep a close eye on whatever the return is. San Diego may not have a history of much success, but they are a team on the rise who has done a fantastic job of building their talent pipeline into one of the best in baseball.