SAN DIEGO—It’s two days before the trade deadline, which comes on Wednesday at 4 p.m. Unlike past years, there isn’t an August 31 deadline when players who pass through waivers could be traded.
The Orioles began the trade season by sending Andrew Cashner to the Boston Red Sox on July 13 for two 17-year-old Venezuelan players who were assigned to Orioles teams in the Dominican Summer League.
Let’s look at some trade candidates and the pros and cons of dealing them.
Pros: Many teams are looking for relievers, and in the past Givens has been successful as a set-up man to Zack Britton, Brad Brach and Darren O’Day. Givens would presumably be more valuable to a team that wouldn’t use him as a closer.
A team acquiring Givens could have him under club control through the 2021 season.
Cons: Even though maximizing wins isn’t in the Orioles’ current blueprint, the team would be left without anyone who has experience in closing.
Givens’ stats aren’t terrific this year — six blown saves, five losses and a 4.54 ERA. Some teams may look past that and find that his WHIP isn’t bad, 1.224. He allows fewer than seven hits per nine innings.
Analysis: The guess here is that the Orioles will deal Givens, but perhaps just ahead of the deadline rather than Monday or Tuesday. Oakland, Minnesota and Cleveland have just acquired Jake Diekman, Sergio Romo and Hunter Wood this weekend, and teams that miss out on other relievers might circle back to the Orioles.
Pros: Villar is making $4.83 million this season, and it’s hard to see the Orioles paying the $6 million or more he’s likely to command in his final season of arbitration eligibility.
Teams are always looking for infielders who can play multiple positions, and Villar play second and shortstop.
He also has speed, and even though the stolen base isn’t valued highly in today’s game, Villar has swiped 22 bases in 28 attempts. He’s not a smart baserunner, but in small doses, he can help. He’s also the only Oriole to play in each of the team’s 105 games.
Cons: The Orioles don’t have many major-league ready infielders at Triple-A Norfolk, though Rio Ruiz, who still must spend six more days in the minors, can be called up.
Christopher Bostick, Jack Reinheimer and Zach Vincej have major league experience, but lack Villar’s skills.
Analysis: Villar is a likely be to be traded, though if he isn’t, it’s hard to see him returning next year.
Pros: A team acquiring Mancini is getting a player with three more seasons of club control after this one.
Not only does he have solid stats (24 homer runs, .869 OPS), but he’s a guy well-liked by his teammates and respected by the media. He’s a mature player who’ll fit in anywhere.
Cons: Mancini is the most popular Oriole among a fan base that saw many of their favorites, Britton, Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, leave in the last 12 months. Moving him might alienate the fan base, which has already shrunk.
Analysis: It’s hard to see another team give the Orioles what they want for a player who can’t be a free agent until after 2022. The guess here is he stays, at least for now.
Pros: A year ago, Mike Elias’ predecessor, Dan Duquette, surprised many when he moved Kevin Gausman to Atlanta just before the deadline. Gausman had two more years before he became a free agent. A team that thinks Bundy is a good long-term project could find him attractive.
Bundy is one of the few players who’s been through winning and losing with the team, and a change of scenery might help him.
Cons: Bundy’s stats are disappointing (5.24 ERA and 64 home runs allowed over the last two seasons).
Without Cashner and Bundy and with John Means on the injured list for the second time this season, the starting rotation would be a bigger mess. The Orioles have 57 games remaining, and they need a presentable starting rotation.
While Bundy isn’t a quote machine, he’s readily available and is a mature player who accepts responsibility and doesn’t make excuses. As the Orioles bring up younger starters, having him around as a role model wouldn’t hurt.
Analysis: Gausman, who was in a similar position contractually a year ago, thrived initially after the deal but he’s reverted back to being an inconsistent pitcher.
Pitching in less hitter-friendly ballparks could help Bundy, but because of his stats, I don’t see a team giving the Orioles enough to satisfy them. The feeling here is that he stays for now.
Pros: Nunez has had a remarkable comeback this season. He went 3-for-47 from May 1-19 and saw his batting average drop from .272 to .211.
Since then, Nunez has hit 19 home runs and his OPS is .830. His 25 home runs make him attractive for a team looking for instant offense.
Cons: Even though Nunez has 25 home runs, he’s only tied for 15th in the majors, and power hitting is relatively easy to find.
He’s a below-average defender at first and third, limiting his trade market.
Analysis: Nunez won’t be eligible for arbitration under after next season, so he’s inexpensive. It seems unlikely that the Orioles would find a trade match for him.
Pros: He plays multiple positions and kills left-handed pitching; Alberto is hitting .404 against lefties.
Alberto doesn’t strike out much, just 33 times. His walks are even rarer, eight times in 337 plate appearances.
Cons: If the Orioles trade Villar, Alberto becomes more valuable, and the Orioles really don’t have anyone to replace him.
He will be eligible for arbitration next season, but Alberto would be much cheaper than Villar would be.
Analysis: The Orioles don’t have a ready replacement and would have to scramble to find such a fine multi-tasker. Without infielders nearly as good at Norfolk and Bowie, Alberto should stay.
Pros: A team acquiring Bleier could have him under their control through 2022.
Bleier seems to be in the right place at the right time. Since joining the Orioles he has a 7-1 record and 1.242 WHIP.
Left-handed relievers are always useful, though the new rule for 2020 that enforces a three-batter minimum could hurt him.
Cons: Bleier hasn’t had an easy time after his June 2018 lat surgery. This year’s ERA of 6.19 has surely depressed his trade value, but in seven games since the All-Star break he’s given up just one run in six innings.
Analysis: If Givens is traded, Bleier will take on a more prominent role. There’s no rush to trade him, and a year from now, he could be a more valuable trade chip.
There was no advance warning on the Cashner deal, and Elias likes to work stealthily. A few days before the 2018 deadline with the team already having traded Machado and Britton, a high-ranking team official said that the team wasn’t going to deal Gausman and Schoop.
Things change quickly, and the next two days should be fascinating.