Baltimore Orioles: Will The New York Yankees Come Calling Again?

The New York Yankees tried to acquired Mychal Givens at last year’s trade deadline. Will they come calling again, this time asking for a duo of Baltimore Orioles players?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the New York Yankees made a strong push to acquire Baltimore Orioles reliever Mychal Givens at the trade deadline and may look to try again this winter.

As Sherman also points out in his Saturday piece, despite general manager Brian Cashman’s desire to field the best lineup without regard for how many left or right-handed hitters are in the lineup, the Yankees could look to Baltimore’s Jonathan Villar to add to their infield depth and production from the left side of the plate.

It shouldn’t matter if a potential trade partner is a rival and within the same division if it makes your team better, but if the Yankees would be interested in acquiring Mychal Givens and infielder Jonathan Villar this offseason, the Orioles better hope the deal is better than the last time these two teams linked up.

The 2018 trade of Zack Britton to New York in exchange for three minor league pitchers is still years away from seeing full results, but the early returns don’t look great for Baltimore.

LHP Josh Rogers has given up 25 runs in 26 innings, including nine home runs and just as many walks (11) as strikeouts. He’s currently recovering from a second Tommy John surgery and was removed from the 40-man roster at the end of the season. It would be a pretty big surprise to ever see the soft-tossing lefty throw another pitch in an Orioles uniform.

RHP Cody Carroll missed the entire 2019 season due to back issues. He did make nine appearances in the Arizona Fall League a few weeks ago, working a 2.08 ERA and striking out 11 in 8.2 innings. After a rough debut in 2018 and no 2019 action, we should get a fresh look at Carroll in spring training. He’s on the 40-man roster and will surely return to the big leagues after some time in Triple-A.

RHP Dillon Tate could salvage some value out of this deal. After transitioning to the bullpen while in Double-A and seeing positive results, Tate made his major league debut in 2019, going 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He struck out 20 across 21 innings and held hitters to a .231 average. He will spend a full offseason preparing to return to the ‘pen in 2020 where the Orioles hope to see improvements.

I’m very interested in any potential trade Mike Elias is able to pull off this winter, especially a trade involving Villar, for a number of reasons. Villar can make noise on the basepaths (40 SB last season, 202 in his career), but he can be a bit careless and run himself into trouble. He’s also set to potentially make around $10 million next season in his final year before free agency.

Joel Sherman puts Villar out there as an option to increase production from the left side of the plate, but Villar had a wRC+ of 95 from the left side and hit just .264. He did, however, record nine home runs, as compared to 15 from the right side in just more than half of the at-bats.

Givens set a career-high in strikeouts at 12.29/9 IP, a massive jump from his 9.27 K/9 IP in 2018, but he still walked 10% of hitters he faced and saw his home run rate skyrocket from 0.47 per game to 1.86 per game. He will turn 30 in May and has the skillset to be a productive piece out of the pen, along with multiple years of control, but he’s coming off the worst season of his five-year career.

The Yankees have three prospects in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, but the odds of having any of these three included in a potential deal for Villar and Givens seem very low and we know Mike Elias isn’t going to move a player just to dump his salary (at least that’s what he hope based on his previous comments). This is why no moves were made last season, minus the shipping of Andrew Cashner up to Boston.

Do I care if the Orioles make a trade with the Yankees? Absolutely not. Do I want a worthwhile return that makes the minor league system better and features players with the potential to make an impact at the major league level? Of course.

From Sherman’s piece, “Perhaps the Yanks could unburden Baltimore of a lot of payroll by taking on Villar/Givens and filling the Orioles up with more low-cost prospects.” I don’t think it’s out of the question to think the Orioles can gather more than a prospect in the backend of the Yankees Top 30 list and a few lottery tickets. The days of dumping major league talent for minimal returns are over.

But with other options on the market who can also fill the same role the Yankees are interested in, I can’t see Yankees paying up for Villar. Givens, however, is certainly an option to watch closely.

Next: Three Veteran Middle Infield Options

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