clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tuesday Bird Droppings: A familiar face returns to the bullpen

Former O’s closer Mychal Givens has returned on a one-year deal, making him the only link to the last Orioles postseason team.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Raise your hand if you remember what Orioles playoff baseball is like.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The Orioles’ plodding, somewhat mystifying offseason rolls on with another low-cost signing, this time a player whose name should be plenty familiar to O’s fans. Right-hander Mychal Givens, who spent parts of six seasons in the Birds’ bullpen — filling the closer role in 2018 and 2019 — has returned to the club, agreeing to a one-year deal yesterday.’s Mark Feinsand reports that Givens will receive a $3 million salary for 2023 with a $6 million mutual option for 2024.

It’s the first time in Mike Elias’s Orioles tenure that he has re-signed a player he once traded, with the reunion coming two years and four months after the O’s GM dealt Givens to the Rockies for Terrin Vavra, Tyler Nevin, and Mishael Deson. (Ironically, Nevin is a prime candidate to lose his 40-man roster spot to make room for Givens’ return.)

Like the Orioles’ previous major league signings this winter, Kyle Gibson and Adam Frazier, Givens isn’t likely to move the needle for the Orioles’ hopes of contention next year. I guess the signing is fine, though. In his previous O’s tenure, Givens was usually a decent complimentary piece in the bullpen, capably handling seventh or eighth-inning duties, though he struggled more when asked to be a lockdown guy at the end of the game. He should fit well enough into the Orioles’ current bullpen structure, which already has a set closer (Félix Bautista) and quality setup men (Dillon Tate and Cionel Pérez). Nothing wrong with throwing Givens into the middle relief mix with Bryan Baker, Joey Krehbiel, and the like.

Givens, at least, gives the Orioles their only current player who has been part of an O’s postseason club. He pitched 66 games for the 89-win 2016 Orioles and worked a heroic 2.1 scoreless innings in the Wild Card Game in Toronto. I forget how that game ended. So if nothing else, Givens can regale his teammates with tales of O’s playoff baseball. Whether he’ll actually help the Orioles get back to the postseason is a different question.


Myriad Orioles Thoughts: Signing Mychal Givens but not Trey Mancini, Jordan Lyles - The Athletic
Dan Connolly all but confirms that the Orioles won’t be reuniting with Mancini or Lyles in 2023. I expected as much, although I had hoped it was because they’d be signing much better players. That, uh, hasn’t exactly come to fruition.

Discussing player development with the O’s Matt Blood - part two - Steve Melewski
Melewski checks in with Matt Blood about the goings-on in the Orioles’ farm system, including the tidbit that the O’s have been teaching their minor leaguers how to bunt for a hit. Man, just one year with the new left-field dimensions at Camden Yards and suddenly the O’s are all about small ball.

Answers to your Orioles questions, Part 2 -
Rich Dubroff answers questions from O’s fans who seem to be more optimistic than I am, including a guy who says the Orioles don’t need to sign a starting pitcher because they have 11 pitchers who have started an MLB game. I suppose that’ way to look at it.

Rosenthal: Why J.D. Martinez took less from the Dodgers and the latest on the trade market - The Athletic
Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles have received trade interest in Jorge Mateo, which is certainly worth exploring. I’d hate to lose Mateo’s defensive wizardry, but if Joey Ortiz is the prospect he’s cracked up to be, he could capably replace Mateo’s glove and provide a better bat.

Orioles announce three minor league signings - School of Roch
In addition to Givens, the Orioles also signed three minor league players you’ve never heard of. The hot stove is scorching, folks!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 30th birthday to Orioles reliever Joey Krehbiel, who was a solid if unspectacular part of the Birds’ bullpen this season and figures to be a frontrunner for a 2023 relief role. It’s also the 46th birthday of 2008 Most Valuable Oriole Aubrey Huff. As a person, he’s, uh, a good baseball player.

On this day in 1995, the Orioles signed former #1 overall draft pick B.J. Surhoff, who’d spent his first nine seasons with the Brewers, to a three-year contract. The intense Surhoff quickly became a fan favorite in Baltimore, providing solid production at the plate while playing third base and outfield for the playoff-bound 1996-97 O’s clubs and making the AL All-Star team in 1999. Surhoff, who spent parts of eight years with the Birds, was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2007.

And on this date in 2000, the O’s re-signed shortstop Mike Bordick just five months after they’d traded him to the Mets for a package that included Melvin Mora. Bordick was coming off an All-Star 2000 campaign and had been the Birds’ primary shortstop for four years since Cal Ripken Jr.’s switch to third base. Bordick played two more years with the Birds after re-signing and he too is now part of the Orioles Hall of Fame, getting inducted in 2011.