Elias on trade interest, timetable; Preparing for Rule 5 draft - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Winter Meetings Coverage

Elias on trade interest, timetable; Preparing for Rule 5 draft

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

SAN DIEGO—Mike Elias says that he doesn’t have any other trades near completion. Last week, the Orioles’ general manager traded infielder Jonathan Villar to Miami and starting pitcher Dylan Bundy to the Los Angeles Angels. His net was five pitching prospects.

On Monday, Elias began talking with teams about his veteran players, presumably reliever Mychal Givens and first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini.

“We have ongoing conversations on trade and free agent fronts,” Elias said. “I would characterize all of those as pretty basic and preliminary at this point.”

Givens, who has two years of club control remaining, could be the next to be moved. In 2019, he was used as the primary closer, a role in which he didn’t thrive. He had a 2-6 record, a 4.57 ERA and eight blown saves in 19 chances.

Manager Brandon Hyde also used Givens in roles other than closer, and he pitched better in those situations. If he’s traded, it’s assumed an acquiring team would use him in a setup role rather than a closer.

In his career, Givens has a 4.40 ERA in save situations and a 2.85 ERA in non-save situations.

“He’s our best relief pitcher,” Elias said. “So, however, Brandon or we wanted to play that on a given night, I think it depends on your philosophies and where you are in the lineup and leverage index and all of that fancy stuff.

“But he’s our best, most trusted relief arm and whether that lands him in the closer’s role for us or if he’s somebody that comes in and gets (Giancarlo) Stanton or (Aaron) Judge in the seventh or eighth inning, as he has done before, that’s a nightly decision.”

Because Givens isn’t strictly viewed as a closer, could it affect his value?


“I don’t know the answer to that,” Elias said. “People are very aware of his strikeout rates and the quality of his stuff and his body of work over years with the Orioles teams both good and bad of the last four or five years.

“I do think that other teams, if I were in their shoes, you look at the amount that he has to shoulder in our bullpen relative to one where there are a lot of other helping hands it’s something to consider. But I think mostly people when they’re evaluating Mike, it’s the same thing that we all see, the punchout stuff, the electric arm, the athleticism, and regardless of the role that he’s in, you know that he’s a plus reliever.”

Elias said that most of the talk has been from other clubs interested in Orioles.

“Most of the trade discussions are centered around people seeking our veterans,” Elias said. “And us talking about prospects or young players in return. That said, we have inquired on middle infield options and pitching options that can help us stabilized the roster for 2020. It’s difficult to line up on that when you’re a rebuilding team and you’re not really in the mood to expend prospect capital. It just takes a lot of dialogue.”

Elias isn’t guaranteeing a deal or signing by time the meetings end.

“I think we’ll make progress toward that,” Elias said. “But it’s such a tight timeline and even when an agreement’s reached there’s a physical exam involved and it’s hard to cram all that into a Monday-to-Thursday schedule. But I do think we’re going to make a lot of progress toward our pursuits in those areas.”

Looking ahead to Rule 5: The Winter Meetings conclude on Thursday with the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles have made a choice in each Rule 5 draft since 2006, the longest streak in baseball. In each of the last three years, they’ve chosen multiple players.

Two of the seven players they’ve chosen, outfielder Anthony Santander and shortstop Richie Martin, are still with the organization.

The Orioles have the second pick in the draft and, with the waiver claim of pitcher Marcos Diplan, have 38 players on the 40-man roster. It’s possible they again choose two players.

Not Elias’ first rodeo: At last year’s Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Elias, who had been the GM for less than a month, was busy hiring a manager. This year, it’s been a smoother process.

“The one thing that’s nice for me this year versus a year ago,” Elias said, “is I have not just an academic understanding of [his players] … not just their trade value, but their value to us and their skill levels.

“I’ve kind of lived it for a year and know what types of conversations have taken place surrounding these players last year at this time, trade deadline and this winter. I have a lot more comfort for what that is.

“Sometimes, all of a sudden, somebody jumps up and gets super interested in a player … you never know when that’s going to happen. That could happen this week. It could be later on.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. Orial

    December 10, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I understand the Rule 5 process and the O’s interest in it but is it me or doesn’t it just plop 1 or2 players on the roster that block others and contribute very little? Rich help me here–these Rule 5s are allowed because the O’s have 2 openings on their 40 man roster yet have to stay on the 26? So which is it–the 40 or the 26?

    • Camden Brooks

      December 10, 2019 at 8:27 am

      Teams can only draft a Rule 5 if there is a space on the 40-man roster, but once picked they have to stay on the 26.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 10, 2019 at 9:01 am

      Orial and Camden Brooks, just because the Orioles draft players in the Rule 5 draft doesn’t mean they’ll keep them. If they want to keep them, they must stay with the club all season, or have a minimum of 90 days on the active roster.

      Last year, Drew Jackson was returned to the Dodgers after a week of the regular season because there wasn’t room for him.

  2. Hallbe62

    December 10, 2019 at 10:37 am

    GJust like the Camden Chat article I read yesterday said, the O’s are still in Phase I (Take stock of all rosters (Milb included) and PURGE as necessary) of the rebuild. Phase I in Houston lasted 2 years. You should count on that or more in this Baltimore rebuild.

    2021-23 will be phase II (Developing all the prospects you’ve garnered and guys you’ve decided to keep). This Phase becomes continuous.

    2023-2025 will be phase III (Supplementing the roster with key FA’s to plug holes and contend)

    My point ??? Orioles fans better gain some patience because we’re 5 YEARS OR MORE away from being a contending ball club.

    • 33d St

      December 11, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      Please don’t tell me anybody actually believes this is some kind of real plan. The San Diego padres were terrible for 16 years before once winning the NL West. Then they went back to being bad.

      If the first phase is you get rid of all your good players and guarantee yourself to be bad. That part is pretty hard to mess up. If the short term goal is to put a terrible baseball team on the field, Elias is succeeding at that.

      For the “phases” beyond that, all that’s happening is you’re drafting guys and hoping you develop them and they turn out good some day, just like all the other teams in baseball are doing all the time.

      This is not a plan. There are no phases. Fielding consistently terrible major-league teams is not a proven formula for success in the future.

      • Hallbe62

        December 11, 2019 at 2:58 pm

        Not my plan or my words. I basically paraphrased and stole a Camden Chat article from a few days ago.

        I have no frigging idea what Elias is doing.

        But I do think we are 5 or more years away from competing for a playoff spot.

        • Hallbe62

          December 11, 2019 at 3:00 pm

          That’s If we’re lucky and everything goes right.

    • 33d St

      December 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm

      Agreed. I don’t understand how it’s better to start with no talent than some. Just seems to me the process takes longer that way. Everybody scouts and everybody drafts. And all the stuff I read that gave “Astroball” it’s leg up, like spin rate or taking more pitches etc; well everybody knows that now. So unless Elias invented a

    • 33d St

      December 11, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Invented a new algorithm with Megdal in the time since they left Houston, how are we to believe they’re doing anything different than anybody else is?

      Ugh ….. patience might not be the right word. It may be time to just forget about the Os and let a new generation of fans take over if they can figure out a way to interest anybody.

      This what they are doing now is dead to me

  3. J Guy

    December 10, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Do not trade Trey

  4. Bman

    December 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    We will be contending in two years, not five. Interested to see who they snag in the Rule 5, hopefully a good starting pitcher prospect. Looks like there is some talent available, and not Lise Sedlock at the same time.

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