With about two hours to go until the trade deadline, the Orioles haven’t added any more moves to the earlier in July trade of Andrew Cashner. This is probably more about Mike Elias running a tight ship than it is about Elias not being involved in any possible trade activity. One rumor in the wind comes from MASN’s Roch Kubatko, who described a “sense within the industry” that the O’s will end up dealing Mychal Givens before the deadline.
This is one of those baseball rumors where you have to dig in to figure out what it really means. When a reporter talks about “the industry” like that, it probably means that information is coming from teams that have engaged the Orioles in discussions, rather than from the Orioles themselves. Those people know more than you know, but they don’t know more than Elias knows.
Also in Kubatko’s rumor is a note that a “glut of right-handed pitching” is slowing down the market. After all, Givens is not the only guy who could be being shopped around right now. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tabbed some others on the market: Tigers closer Shane Greene, Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez, Reds closer Raisel Iglesias, Mets closer Edwin Diaz, and Padres closer Kirby Yates.
Of those five, only Vazquez pitches left-handed, so teams who want a right-handed reliever specifically have choices and Givens may not be their first choice, or even second. And that’s only naming the relievers who’ve had some real closing experience. There could be others who are dealt because the acquiring teams want a bullpen reinforcement without paying some kind of “this guy’s been a closer” premium.
What does it all add up to? That probably depends on whether Elias views Givens as someone who needs to be traded now, because his value will only decrease, or whether Elias thinks Givens could rebound and have more value later after a period of better performance.
If it’s the latter, then Elias can hold out for a certain return and not do a deal if no team meets his price. If it’s the first one, then over the next couple of hours, getting the best possible deal right now will be the concern.
Givens does have some value as a player with two years of team control remaining after this season. He is only making $2.15 million this season, and without racking up large numbers of saves, probably won’t be getting massive arbitration raises in those final two years. He strikes out a lot of people - 57 batters in 41.2 innings this year - and when he’s got good control, can perform at an elite level.
That control isn’t being shown so far this year, since Givens has walked 19 batters, or just about 11% of the batters he’s faced on the season. Buying teams might not be too interested in betting on sudden improvement from a 29-year-old pitcher who’s in his fifth big league season.