New York Mets
The Mets are in win-now mode, they need more starting pitching, and they just so happened to hire a manager familiar to the Orioles. Buck Showalter already knows Means from his first few career outings in 2018, Showalter’s last at the helm in Baltimore. With owner Steve Cohen writing the checks, the Mets are adding payroll and could use Means to solidify a rotation with many injury questions, including superstar Jacob deGrom.
The Mets have a weak farm system, but as it stands no team needs to empty the tank to get Means. The Orioles will not demand a Top 100 prospect, but they should get someone in the next tier. I think they could get a package headlined by J.T. Ginn, a starting pitcher drafted in the second round of the 2020 draft. He has already torn his UCL and got Tommy John surgery, so the Orioles can manage his workload better than the Mets, who screwed up drafting an injured college star this year in Kumar Rocker.
The Orioles still want young, up-the-middle players to boost their own farm system. Ginn pitched to a 3.03 ERA in two levels of A-ball this year. Throw in a pop-up teenager and we have a trade.
San Francisco Giants
The Giants proved this year they know how to turn pitchers’ careers around, and they must be excited about possibly doing the same as John Means. Since they signed Alex Cobb last month, they obviously believe they can improve former-Orioles. Just ask new Blue Jay Kevin Gausman and his hefty contract.
San Fran will not have the best record in 2022, but they should still be competitive. As they did at this year’s deadline to get Kris Bryant, they can afford to trade someone with a similar pedigree to Alexander Canario. The Giants have a lot of high-risk/high-reward types that the Orioles like to take a chance on.
One of them might be Manuel Mercedes, a 19-year-old with a slider and changeup that are very tough to square up. He struggled this year in the complex league to the tune of a 5.11 ERA with lots of walks, but he was nearly three full years younger than the typical player there. If the Orioles want someone a little safer, they could get older draftee Matt Mikulski, who will move quickly through the minors and bring more players with him.
If you want more of a wild card team who could swoop in, the Tigers are an appealing option. After a respectable 2021 season where their promising core showed real improvement, the Tigers are ready to compete and ready to cash in. They already traded a prospect for Tucker Barnhart, and they backed up the truck to sign Javier Baez. Now they could use a veteran presence to guide a young rotation.
The Tigers can afford to part with more high-risk players like the Giants, and they have a few young position players who fit the bill. Parker Meadows, brother of Austin Meadows, has three plus tools but hasn’t put it together at the plate yet. He hit just .208 this year at High-A, but he was over a year younger than the typical player. The other main alternative is Cristian Santana, a 17-year-old tearing up the Dominican Summer League. His OPS this year was .942 in 54 games, and Detroit might think he is a future star or expendable.
All of this is theoretical for now, but it might be more serious in the coming months. What do you think is a fair return for John Means?