I always enjoy when a previous blog entry leads us to a Connolly’s Tap Room topic.
That happened Tuesday, when I wrote about shortstop Manny Machado, and stressed the Orioles’ need to remain patient until late July when they can get the most for him on the trade market.
Several of the comments I received – on our site and on social media – were about whom the Orioles also should make available at the trade market.
Some fans say everyone. Others suggest that a core of younger players should be considered untouchable.
I get both sides of that argument. But what got your barkeep thinking was about that core.
Who exactly should the Orioles build around?
I’m not counting a Hunter Harvey or an Austin Hays. Those guys are still prospects, and the Orioles aren’t in a position – organizationally or standings-wise – to be siphoning off potential prospects. Besides, we don’t yet know what those guys — and Ryan Mountcastle, DJ Stewart, Cedric Mullins, et cetera — are yet.
I’m asking about the group that is currently on the 25-man roster. Who should be the Orioles’ priority to keep as this club moves forward?
I’d think these three are no-brainers: 26-year-old outfielder Trey Mancini, under team control through 2022; 25-year-old right-hander Dylan Bundy, under team control through 2021; and 23-year-old catcher Chance Sisco, under team control through 2023.
The other two that were mentioned several times by readers this week as part of the build-around core: 27-year-old right-hander Kevin Gausman, signed through 2020, and 28-year-old reliever Mychal Givens, signed through 2021.
I’m a little torn on Gausman and Givens. I don’t think Gausman’s trade value is as high as it needs to be for the Orioles to justify dealing away a starting pitcher under control for two more seasons after this one. The Orioles are seemingly always pursuing starting pitching, and though Gausman may not have as high of a ceiling as the Orioles had hoped, it’d be foolish to give him away unless a trade partner provides a can’t-miss package.
The opposite scenario fits Givens. His trade value is rather high now, given his performance, potential upside, contract controllability and the way some teams salivate over relievers. He may have more current trade value than anyone on this roster besides Machado and Jonathan Schoop.
If that’s true, maybe the Orioles should deal Givens now and worry about a future closer later. Of course, if the team trades pending free agents Zach Britton and Brad Brach, they absolutely would need Givens to provide quality innings from the bullpen unless they fully punt this year. It’s a tough call, because Givens is both good now and potentially could be better as the next core blossoms.
The other name that should be mentioned here is Schoop, the 26-year-old, All-Star second baseman who is a free agent after next season. Obviously, if you’re gonna build around him, it must be through an extension soon, or the Orioles will be dealing with Machado 2.0 this time next year.
I’m not sure if there is anyone left – Adam Jones? Tim Beckham? Richard Bleier? – to throw into that “build-around” core, but maybe there is.
Maybe you don’t think there is anyone to truly build around, and you’d seriously consider offers for everyone including Bundy, Mancini and Sisco.
It’s your call. The barkeep is listening.
Tap-In Question: Who would you build around on this current Orioles’ roster?