Draft, international signings done, Orioles' Elias can turn his attention to trade talks - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Draft, international signings done, Orioles’ Elias can turn his attention to trade talks

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

General manager Mike Elias has methodically attacked each project that’s been before him since taking over the Orioles’ top baseball job last November.

His most exciting time came last month when the Orioles selected Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick in the draft. Elias followed up with several other choices that drew praise, including the selections of Alabama high school infielder Gunnar Henderson and a pair of college outfielders, Stanford’s Kyle Stowers and LSU’s Zach Watson.

Rutschman will soon join Stowers and Watson at Short-Season Aberdeen. Henderson will begin his professional career at Gulf Coast.

The Orioles got their top draft choices signed quickly, and have signed their first 34 choices and 35 of 41. They have until July 12 to sign the handful of draft choices who haven’t agreed to terms.

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This week, Elias followed the amateur draft with the signing of 27 international players when the July 2 signing period got under way. Elias and his international scouting director, Koby Perez, had vowed to be active in the Latin American market.

The Orioles paid a record bonus of over $8 million to Rutschman, but their largest reported bonus for an  international signee was $450,000 to Luis Gonzalez, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Left-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz, another 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic, received $400,000.

Gonzalez’s bonus is equivalent to a fourth-round draft choice, and Ortiz’s is close to a high fifth-round draft choice.

None of the players signed by the Orioles will play on the team’s two Dominican Summer League teams this season, and it may take two or three years before they advance to the Gulf Coast League to begin their professional career in the U.S.

It may take at least five years before the Orioles’ international efforts can be measured. Elias and Perez vow that this is just the beginning of the Orioles’ international signings, and that it takes several years for a team to be recognized as a serious player in that market.

Now that the amateurs and international players are signed, Elias can turn his attention to what could be his most challenging assignment, getting value for some of the Orioles’ veterans in the trade market as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

Elias has said he’d listen to offers on all players, but it would seem unlikely that he’d trade Trey Mancini, the team’s best position player, who is under team control through 2022, unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer.

Andrew Cashner, who’s scheduled to start on Saturday in Toronto, is 8-3 with a 4.03 ERA and could draw interest from teams looking for a right-handed starter for the back end of their rotation.

The Orioles  hold a $10 million option on Cashner for next season, which they will surely decline. If he throws 340 innings in 2018-19, the $10 million option becomes guaranteed.  As of now, Cashner’s thrown 242 1/3 innings over the last two seasons.

Dylan Bundy, who starts Friday night against the Blue Jays, could be attractive because he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2021. Because he’s 3-10 with a 4.91 ERA, the Orioles might best be served by waiting until the offseason or next July before dealing Bundy.

Infielder Jonathan Villar, who was acquired a year ago in the Jonathan Schoop deal, could be attractive for a team needing an extra infielder. The Orioles hold control over Villar for another season, but he could be due a significant raise over his $4.83 million salary for 2019, and Elias would probably be reluctant to pay that.

If the Orioles aren’t going to offer Villar a contract after this season, trading him is probably the better option.

Mychal Givens (4.76 ERA and five blown saves in 11 opportunities) and Richard Bleier (7.40) probably won’t fetch enough for the Orioles to trade them now. Givens has two more seasons of club control, and Bleier has three more seasons.

“I think it might come up,” manager Brandon Hyde said about trade talks. “That’s part of the game now. Every team goes through that.”

For the previous four seasons, Hyde was a coach for the Chicago Cubs who made the postseason in each of those seasons.

“I’ve been on the other end of it the last few years,” Hyde said. “We were hoping for certain people to come our way. This is going to be a little bit different. You never know what’s going to happen.

“I know Mike is going to do everything he can to try to get really good players in here from now on. Anything could happen with the trade deadline. It’s not something I’m looking at and preparing myself for. It’s something I’m aware of and we’ll see what happens.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Bancells Moustache

    July 5, 2019 at 7:20 am

    Personally I think the deadline is going to be pretty boring, certainly nothing compared to the great fire sale of ’18. The only chip that you’ll get anything for is Cashner and, well, it’s Andrew Cashner not Greg Maddux.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 5, 2019 at 8:27 am

      I don’t think there’ll be a lot of interest this year in Greg Maddux, Bancells.

      • Bancells Moustache

        July 5, 2019 at 1:43 pm

        Watching the 2019 Orioles rotation, I’d take a flyer in him Rich

      • Big bird 64

        July 6, 2019 at 4:18 pm

        I think his point was Cashner is no Greg Maddox.

    • CalsPals

      July 7, 2019 at 8:37 am

      I think Bancells comment was tongue in cheek….go O’s

  2. Orial

    July 5, 2019 at 8:07 am

    Elias has done well,everything expected of him. Agree Cashner,Bundy only chips available. Givens,Bleier have performed themselves off of any worthy trade attempt. Mancini will have to go but next winter. There was a time I was in the “build around him” camp but his defensive/speed lackings have deemed him replaceable. LaStella (2B)out for Angels–good spot for Villar?

    • Bancells Moustache

      July 5, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      If the Angels trade any prospects for Jonathan Villar to fill in at second base for 2 months the whole front office should be fired immediately. They have the best player on Earth locked up for the rest of his career, they should be doing everything in their power to insure he gets a ring, not now but 3-4 years from now.

    • Borg

      July 6, 2019 at 6:45 am

      I am curious as to why you think Mancini would have more value over the winter than he does right now.

      A team on the cusp of the playoffs would be far more likely to give up value than teams doing it over the winter. Mancini is a better than average player, but he is light years away from stardom. However, in the heat of trying to make the playoffs RIGHT NOW!!!!!, teams often will overpay for players they believe would put them over the top. I think Mancini is their top trade chip, the one most likely to bring multiple players in return (and this from a guy who said a few weeks ago that if the Os traded him nobody would be in the stadium). Given where the Os are at this moment, and the likely window before they are decent again, it makes no sense at all to hang onto Mancini. By the time the young players in the minors are ready to contribute, Mancini will be on the far side of 30 and while he might still be productive, it would probably help the organization to explore whether or not there is some team out there desperate enough for the postseason to give up three prospects–and those players could actually speed up Orioles relevancy. I wouldn’t just give him away, but they have nothing to lose by shopping him.

      Cashner will go, but I wouldn’t expect anything of real value in return. Villar is the worst Orioles baserunner since Alan Wiggins and not a real great defensive player either–I’d shed no tears over his departure. Bundy, despite the W-L record would undoubtedly draw interest, but he is still young enough that he could anchor the staff in two seasons when they might actually be ready to contend again, so I am not sure you move him. They could conceivably move one of their catchers knowing that Rutchsman should probably be here sometime in 2022, and they could just plug one of their minor league guys in as the backup for either Sisco or Severino (and that would probably be Sisco since if they moved one I’d think it would be Severino) until they become the backup to Rutchsman. I think Alberto might draw interest as well, if they think there are minor league infielders who could produce next season. Even on a team with the Os record, there are chips to be put into the game.

      Really, would trading anybody materially affect the record? They are going to fly past 100 losses again–maybe a good bet would be whether the Os reach 100 losses or the Ravens reach 2 wins first. That’s a dead heat from my perspective….

    • ClayDal

      July 6, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      The one thing that makes Mancini attractive is he has 3 more years of team control. So unlike Cashner or Machado last year he wouldn’t be a rental. In the off-season, teams that are not contenders now but hope to be next year ( White Sox, Mets) might be more inclined to bid for a relatively cost effective first baseman/corner outfielder. Also some teams that are contenders now may find themselves in the market for a first baseman/corner outfielder. Of course if the Orioles are blown away with an offer they should seriously consider it. Looking at the list of free agent 1B one name stood out to me. Ryan Zimmerman. 18 million team option which the Nats most likely wouldn’t pick up. He could re-sign with them for less but if not Mancini would be a good fit for them. Nats have some good prospects. Would the Orioles dare make a trade with Washington? They never have.

  3. deqalt

    July 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

    Let’s be honest the Orioles aren’t getting anything significance in trades this year and quiet frankly you need someone to pitch!!

    My bigger question is what will come of last years fire sale?

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 5, 2019 at 9:16 am

      Yusniel Diaz is likely the best prospect they received from last year’s Fire Sale. He’s just now starting to come-around. This is what happens when you sell-off at least one year too late…

  4. willmiranda

    July 5, 2019 at 10:29 am

    What “really good players” does Hyde expect to get for what we have to offer? Sometimes the man totally baffles me. I don’t expect much from trading, and we have a lot of bodies from trades and drafts and int’l signings already to absorb into the system. If we keep Cashner, it’ll be fun watching Hyde yank him early so that he doesn’t get those hundred innings he still needs.

  5. Bumble bee

    July 5, 2019 at 10:42 am

    The team needs a Cashner , a veteran pitcher to show the youngsters what it means to be a major league pitcher. Keep his salary this year and next and omg get rid of Davis

    • CalsPals

      July 5, 2019 at 11:56 am

      100% totally agree, Cash is worth keeping, he’s already said he loves Baltimore, go O’s….

    • Camden Brooks

      July 5, 2019 at 6:01 pm

      I can’t disagree, but with each quality start his trade value continues to rise. It will be interesting to see what happens!

  6. Birdman

    July 5, 2019 at 11:22 am

    Midway through his first season, I give Elias high marks as he works to rebuild the train wreck of an organization he inherited from PA and DD .

    As for Mancini, I would prefer to see the team sign him to a six year extension. Hopefully, the Orioles would be a competitive team by year 3 or 4 of the contract. But if they aren’t going to extend Mancini, trade him now when he has maximum value at age 27 with 3+ years of team control remaining.

  7. ClayDal

    July 5, 2019 at 11:47 am

    Rich, your summary of the Orioles potential trade chips was spot on. However, I think Givens may have more trade value than we think. With the Orioles, he is miscast as a closer on a team that rarely has a lead. On a contender he would be most likely slotted as a 6th and 7th inning guy. As for Cashner, it might make sense for the Orioles to bring him back next year at a reduced cost. Outside of Akin, they don’t really don’t have anyone at AAA ready to come up next year and even Akin isn’t a sure thing. Somebody is going to have to pitch the innings.

  8. Robinson Robinson Weaver Palmer Murray Ripken

    July 5, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    I would consider trading the Bird for a player to be named later

    • Bancells Moustache

      July 5, 2019 at 1:49 pm

      Hey now, the Bird has been a solid contributer all year and let’s be honest, he’d be a pretty bad fit on any of the contending clubs. His game translates, no doubt, but sticking a six foot tall orange and black bird with no pants in the middle of the Yankee lineup could be detrimental to their October chemistry.

    • Raymo

      July 5, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks BanMo… I needed that.

  9. Bhoffman1

    July 5, 2019 at 12:55 pm

    Mancini defensive liabilities won’t be evident if he were to play 1st base will he belongs. Now that Mountcastle is playing left in Norfolk I think Elias sees Manicini as our next first baseman once Davis is DFA. Sign Mancini long term and keep Cashner . Apparently he has threatened to retire if traded as he loves Baltimore

    • PA Bird Lover

      July 5, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      I agree with Hoffman and I’ll add this. Way to many on this board are still hopeful for a winning season. There is a couple of off seasons coming up. Until then the team needs to at least be competitive and that will take Cashner and the likes of Manicini. If trade talks produce a knock-your-socks-off trade deal, take it. But, it best be a gain for the organization. I think Elias is doing a great job. And, thank you PA for keeping your nose out of it.

      • Borg

        July 6, 2019 at 6:52 am

        Not trying to be a smart guy, but do you think the Os are competitive now, with Cashner and Mancini?

        To me, being competitive doesn’t mean you aren’t getting beat by five runs every night, it means that on any given night there is a 60% chance or better of winning a game. The Os winning percentage right now is .299, which might be a good BA, but it stinks as a winning percentage. IF dealing those players means that NEXT year you could get a team winning 40% of their games, and the year after somewhere north of 50%, then pull the trigger right now.

        • Big bird 64

          July 6, 2019 at 4:24 pm

          Like Branch Rickey told Ralph Kiner, “I finished last with you, I can finish last without you.”

    • Camden Brooks

      July 5, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      I haven’t seen anyone on this board hopeful of a winning season. I do agree Elias has been great, and I like Hyde so far too.

    • PA Bird Lover

      July 5, 2019 at 10:05 pm

      Let me rephrase my thought. Fans expect more wins.

      • willmiranda

        July 6, 2019 at 10:45 am

        I guess I’m a fan then, PA, I do expect more wins than some on this board, who would seem to be happy with none. If you want a number, I don’t want 100 losses. That’s the first step. Then I want a consistent .500 record. I don’t regard these as unreachable goals for the first two years of rebuilding. They are goals, of course, and they may not be reached. But I will be very disappointed if they lose 100 games next year. In sports, wins, not participation, are the measure of success. And learning to win is a skill in itself. Friday’s win was a good one and very satisfying. We should enjoy every one because that is the greatest motivator for improvement.

  10. Bman

    July 5, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    They have to trade away some vets for a few more prospects. I think they could get something possibly for a Villar, Givens, Bleier, Smith. I would trade Cashner if he could be convinced to go. Bundy if they could get something good for him. I would not undersell him at all.

  11. Bhoffman1

    July 5, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    Mike Wright was just DFA by the Mariners. Armstrong looks like a all star compared to him. Good trade Elias. Poor Mike never had the head to pitch in the majors of course Bucky stuck with him longer then he should have.

    • CalsPals

      July 5, 2019 at 7:59 pm

      Buck played the people that Duquette supplied….go O’s…

  12. mlbbirdfan

    July 5, 2019 at 11:40 pm

    The cashner innings clause was news to me, thanks Rich!

  13. mlbbirdfan

    July 5, 2019 at 11:48 pm

    He could make it to 340. He will make his 17th start on July 6 in game 88. Suppose he makes 15 more starts (could happen, he would have to start every 5th game and not miss any). Now suppose he averages 6 IP per start (possible, he’s pitched 89 innings in 16 starts, averaging about 5 2/3 innings per start). He had 153 IP in 2018. He needs 187 IP this season. He needs 88 more innings including his work in game 88.

  14. mlbbirdfan

    July 5, 2019 at 11:53 pm

    Yanks paid Sabathia a $500,000 bonus he hadn’t quite earned. But we’re not the Yankees, and this is $10 MILLION. I’d bet the ranch O’s don’t let Cash reach 187!! It will be interesting to watch Hyde pull Cash early in some starts. LOL, the Orioles can’t even LOSE correctly.

  15. willmiranda

    July 6, 2019 at 10:35 am

    I suggested this earlier in the thread. Glad to know I’m not alone. Hyde’s record on pulling pitchers –even in a no-hitter– will provide cover for him. On the other hand, despite Cashner”s current value to the club, this might be a reason to trade him.

  16. cb

    July 7, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Cashner is a goner, and we are stuck with Cobb for two more years.

    • CalsPals

      July 7, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Agreed, stuck w/Corn Cobb, rather keep Cash & get rid of Cobb, but who’d want him, TB could’ve had him but didn’t want him, they knew what we didn’t…go O’s

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