Baltimore Orioles: Friday Deadline Looms For Three Players

The Baltimore Orioles still have three arbitration-eligible players to work with and a noon deadline looming on Friday.

Happy Friday, Baltimore Orioles fans! We made it through another week, baseball is another day closer to beginning, and my alma mater, James Madison University, will try to win their third FCS National Championship on Saturday. Whether they win or lose, there will be plenty of the finest beer one can find in the Shenandoah Vally, so it’s a win-win situation.

But you didn’t come here for FCS football talk, you came here for Orioles talk. Before you head out on your lunch break today, we should have some Orioles news to talk about. Teams have until noon today to exchange salary figures with their arbitration-eligible players, with the Orioles having three players left to do business with.

Infielder Jonathan Villar and starting pitcher Dylan Bundy were already jettisoned from the roster via trades. According to MLBTradeRumors, Villar and Bundy were expected to earn between $15-16 million in 2020, money the Orioles can now use elsewhere.

Richard Bleier agreed to a one-year deal worth $915,000 earlier this offseason, slightly below his expected arbitration figure of $1.1 million. Fellow reliever Miguel Castro also agreed to a new contract before Friday’s deadline, signing a one-year deal worth $1.05 million on Wednesday afternoon (MLBTR had him projected at $1.2 million).

That leaves reliever Mychal Givens ($3.2 million), infielder/outfielder Trey Mancini (estimated $5.7 million), and infielder Hanser Alberto ($1.9 million) without a new contract in hand at the moment.

If the Orioles are unable to come to an agreement with any of these three, the process moves to an arbitration hearing sometime in February where things can get awkward and unnecessarily brutal. While it doesn’t seem as if it will get to this situation, it’s always best to avoid if at all possible.

Despite Baltimore’s attempt to slash payroll as much as possible this offseason, the trio of Givens, Mancini, and Alberto all earned their projected salaries, or at least something close to them.

It may have been an up-and-down year for Givens, but the Orioles reliever struck out a career-high 33% of batters he faced and produced an xFIP nearly a full run lower than his ERA of 4.57 (3.62 xFIP). When used in lower-leverage situations and in shorter stints, Givens was effective, but walks and home runs remained an issue. The biggest question surrounding Givens is how long he remains with the organization?

Alberto made less than $600,000 last season and all he did was record a 1.9 fWAR, a .305 average, a league-best 9% strikeout rate, and 88 total hits against left-handed pitching. Based on newly released Infield Outs Above Average numbers on Baseball Savant, Alberto graded out within the top 15 of both second and third basemen.

As for Mancini, the third-year player improved in just about every metric possible. From his .291/.364/.535 slash line, to his 35 home runs and 132 wRC+, Mancini not only emerged as a leader at the plate, but a leader in the clubhouse for a young organization in need of guidance.

How much will each of these three make in 2020? Hopefully, we find out by noon today.

Next: A Look At The New IF Outs Above Average Numbers

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In other Baltimore Orioles news, reliever Marcos Diplan cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Diplan was designated for assignment to make room for RHP Kohl Stewart a few days ago. Pitching in the Dominican this winter, Diplan did not surrender a run in 9.2 innings of work.

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