The rumor mill continues to swirl around Baltimore Orioles reliever Mychal Givens.
We are now less than ten days away from the 2019 MLB trade deadline, yet the trade market has been largely quiet up until now. As asking prices for impact players remain high and a small handful of teams continue to contemplate whether or not they are buyers or sellers, reports of cheaper options gaining attention have continued to surface. Could this help inflate the value of current Baltimore Orioles on the trade market?
I’m sure Mike Elias and the Orioles front office are content with whatever helps to increase the value of likely trade chips like Jonathan Villar and potential movers like Pedro Severino and Renato Nunez, but the name which continues to make serious noise is Mychal Givens.
Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com initially reported that the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals have interest in Givens, sending representatives to Camden Yards last week. Also in attendance, per ESPN, were the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, and San Diego Padres. The Diamondbacks will likely decide their status after their current three-game set against the Orioles and while I discussed the San Diego Padres as the ideal trade partner for Givens, they may be more focused on moving pieces, rather than acquiring them at this point (who knows with AJ Preller at the helm).
Now, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal is adding two more teams in the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers as clubs interested ($) in acquiring the low-cost reliever with multiple years of control.
Cleveland is currently 58-41, sitting 3.0 games behind the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central and holding the top Wild Card spot. With Tampa Bay and Boston just outside of the Wild Card (one and two games, respectively), Cleveland will need to address multiple holes if they expect to clinch a playoff spot and make a deep run. Minnesota is just 8-8 in July and has had injuries creep in, while Cleveland is 8-2 over their last 10 games.
The Indians bullpen currently has the lowest ERA in the major leagues at 3.34, but can you have enough strong arms out of the pen? At last year’s deadline, they traded away one of their top prospects in catcher Francisco Mejia for LHP Brand Hand and RHP Adam Cimber. Hand has been fantastic since the deal (35 saves, 2.34 ERA in 71 games) while Cimber and his quirky delivery just needed some time to adjust to the American League (5-2, 2.84 ERA this season, 0-3 with a 4.05 ERA last year after the deadline). But will the likes of AJ Cole, Tyler Clippard, and the 37-year-old Oliver Perez hold up?
Los Angeles is sitting in a much different position. Their 67-35 record tops the major leagues and provides a 16 game cushion between them and the Arizona Diamondbacks, who currently sit in second place in the National League West. Despite their unbelievable lineup and dominant starting pitcher, as our friends over at Dodgers’ Way describe, the “Achilles heel” of the Dodgers is their bullpen.
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Both teams could be interesting landing spots for Givens. Both have established closers in Brad Hand and Kenley Jansen and reliable set-options. Los Angeles sent a package of prospects headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz to Baltimore last season for Manny Machado, yet still failed to overtake the Boston Red Sox in last year’s World Series. Could another deal be in the works? As for a potential deal with Cleveland, take this little nugget for what it’s worth- Cleveland has 10 games left against the Twins and Givens has given up just three runs in 13.1 innings against the Twins during his career, striking out 17 and walking none.
If prices remain high, expect teams to switch their focus to those bargain pieces available, possibly meaning more extensive looks at a few different Orioles. Teams don’t have much time left, meaning a short, but likely intense, window of opportunity to cut a deal.