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Friday Bird Droppings: Where more trades could be on the way

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Mike Elias has already traded two big-name Orioles, and the winter meetings haven’t even started yet. Next week could be interesting.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles
Could Trey Mancini be the next Oriole on the way out of Baltimore?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Who said this was going to be a boring offseason for the Orioles? (Full disclosure: I did. Numerous times.)

Mike Elias has been wheeling and dealing since the calendar turned to December, trading Orioles 2019 WAR leader Jonathan Villar and former first round pick-turned-rotation mainstay Dylan Bundy to the Marlins and Angels, respectively, and netting five pitching prospects in return.

One thing Villar and Bundy had in common — aside from being two of the few players that casual O’s fans have actually heard of — is that both were arbitration eligible and set to see a salary increase that the Orioles weren’t really comfortable paying. The Birds have shaved an estimated $15-16 million off their 2020 payroll by parting ways with the duo, and while the Villar trade in particular really stuck in my craw, there’s no denying Elias’ commitment to rebuilding the franchise from the ground up.

In three days, Elias and every other major league GM will gather in San Diego for baseball’s annual winter meetings, where there’s usually plenty of trade and free agent activity. The O’s have two prominent (and, yes, arbitration-eligible) trade chips remaining: Trey Mancini and Mychal Givens. Mancini, who’s projected by mlbtraderumors.com to earn $5.7 million in 2020, has three seasons of team control remaining; Givens (proj. $3.2 million) has two. Dealing one or both would further deplete the Orioles of recognizable names, not that that’ll stand in Elias’ way if he finds a trade offer he likes.

If I had to guess, I think Givens will be the next Oriole dealt this offseason, while Mancini will stay put, at least for this winter. But who knows what Elias has in store? No player is off the table right now, nor should they be.

Links

Baltimore Gets Quantity for Bundy | FanGraphs Baseball
Eric Longenhagen offers his assessment of the four prospects the O’s picked up in the Bundy trade. If you’re into pitchers with vertical arm slots, hoo boy, you hit the jackpot with these guys.

Trading Dylan Bundy is Mike Elias’ gutsiest call so far — and might prove to be his signature deal for better or worse – The Athletic
Dan Connolly suggests that the Bundy trade could either reap huge dividends or blow up spectacularly like the Jake Arrieta deal. Eh, I don’t see either of those extremes being very likely. I predict Bundy will be perfectly fine but not great for the Angels, while one or more of the prospects will be perfectly fine but not great for the Orioles.

Appreciating Dylan Bundy, and some quotes from the other side - Steve Melewski
Melewski commends Bundy on being a class act and a pro throughout his Orioles tenure, which I’ll wholeheartedly agree with. It’s kind of amazing that he endured three straight years of injuries that sapped him of his best stuff and has still put together a decent career. Kudos, Dylan.

Orioles sign Dilson Herrera to minor league deal - School of Roch
Jonathan Villar’s replacement, everyone!

Orioles adding former Marlins, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez to Brandon Hyde’s staff as major league coach - Baltimore Sun
The O’s have filled another hole in their coaching staff, this time with a prominent name. I don’t recall having a positive opinion of Gonzalez’s managerial skills, but as a coach, I’m sure he’s OK.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your three O’s birthday buddies are 1984-89 outfielder Larry Sheets (60), 1981 lefty Jeff Schneider (67), and former first-round draft pick Mike Parrott (65), who pitched just three games with the Birds in 1977.

I don’t know what it is about December 6, but the Orioles have made a boatload of trades on this date in team history — eight of them, in fact. The first one was in their inaugural season, 1954, when they swung a seven-player deal with the White Sox. In 1965, they traded away All-Star outfielder Jackie Brandt to acquire Dick Baldschun, who was one of the three pieces they dealt for Frank Robinson three days later. And their most recent Dec. 6 trade came in 2011, when they brought in Mark Reynolds from the Diamondbacks. Reynolds was a big contributor on that magical 2012 wild card team, though the O’s had to give up David Hernandez, who was still kicking around the majors as a reliever as of this year.

Do the O’s have another Dec. 6 trade in store today? With Elias pulling off two swaps in the past four days, you might want to stay on your toes.