Assessing the Orioles' trade chips as deadline nears - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Assessing the Orioles’ trade chips as deadline nears

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The July 30th trade deadline is eight days away, and the Orioles haven’t figured prominently in trade chatter.

Two years ago, in Mike Elias’ first season as Orioles executive vice president/general manager, he made a deal well ahead of the deadline. On July 13, 2019, he dealt right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner, who was having an excellent season — 9-3, 3.83 ERA – to the Boston Red Sox for two young players, outfielder Elio Prado and infielder Noelberth Romero.

Prado is on the 60-day minor league injured list and Romero was hitting .207 through Tuesday,  for the Orioles’ Orange team in the Florida Complex League.

Cashner was just 2-5 with a 6.20 ERA, mostly in relief outings for the Red Sox and hasn’t pitched since he allowed four runs on five hits while recording just two outs against the Orioles on September 28, 2019.

The trade deadline for last year’s 60-game schedule was on August 31st. On August 30th, Elias traded left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone to the Atlanta Braves for two minor league infielders — Greg Cullen and AJ Graffanino, who are at Double-A Bowie and High-A Aberdeen respectively.

Later that day, they also traded relief pitcher Mychal Givens to the Colorado Rockies for infielders Tyler Nevin, who briefly played for the Orioles in May, and is at Triple-A Norfolk, and Terrin Vavra, who was with Bowie but is out because of a back injury. The Rockies also sent outfielder Mishael Deson, who’s hitting .360 for the Orioles’ Black team in the Florida Complex League.

On August 31st, reliever Miguel Castro went to the New York Mets for left-handed pitcher Kevin Smith, now at Norfolk, and shortstop Victor Gonzalez, who’s playing in the Dominican Summer League.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the players whose names might have come up.

Unlikely to be dealt

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Trey Mancini: Trading the popular first baseman/designated hitter would be an unpopular move, especially since Mancini has inspired so many by sharing his story about his fight against colon cancer.

On Sunday, he’s partnering with the Orioles on Blessings in a Backpack, a program designed to help feed children on the weekend.

Mancini, 29, will enter the final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason, and it seems unlikely that there’s a big market for him. They’d be better off keeping him as a productive power hitter and inspiring player.

John Means: The left-hander hasn’t won a game since his May 5th no-hitter. On Tuesday night, he pitched for the first time since straining his left shoulder on June 5th and gave up five runs in five innings.

Means has a 2.72 ERA and has three-plus years of club control, and the Orioles desperately need a No. 1 starter. They probably would consider a deal if they were overwhelmed, but I don’t see that happening.

Cedric Mullins: If the Orioles would have to be overwhelmed to trade Means, they would have to be knocked over to move the American League’s starting centerfielder in the All-Star Game.

The Orioles are trying to develop players like Mullins, and he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after next season.

Anthony Santander: At the beginning of the season, Santander appeared to be a decent trade chip. The Orioles had Mullins, Austin Hays and DJ Stewart in the outfield with Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna clamoring for major league time.

But Santander, who was the team’s Most Valuable Oriole in 2020, missed a month because of a sprained left ankle and hasn’t produced the way he did in 2020. His .231 average along with a .667 OPS are far below the .262 average and .890 OPS of a year ago.

Santander’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is -.3. Last year, in the 37 games before he suffered a season-ending oblique injury, Santander had a 1.6 WAR.

The Orioles placed Santander on the Covid-19 injured list on Wednesday. It’s not known how long Santander will be out.

The Orioles hoped Santander would have another strong season and that Diaz would do well in his first year in Triple-A.

Neither has happened. Diaz has had another injury-marred season. When he plays again, he will be trying to end an 0-for-27 streak that has lowered his average with Norfolk to .167.

Santander has three more years of club control left, so there’s no rush to deal him in a market that’s not there.

They would have liked to, but:

Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis: The Orioles signed both to free-agent contracts and would pay them each $250,000 if they were traded.

Franco, who has underperformed this season with a .221 average and a .641 OPS, is on the 10-day injured list because of a sprained right ankle. There’s no known market for the third baseman, who could be back with the Orioles before the deadline. He’s in Sarasota on a minor league rehab.

Galvis could have been dealt to a team looking for a stopgap shortstop. He has played well this season, but he’s been out since June 27th because of a strained right quadriceps and won’t return until after the deadline.

Matt Harvey was 3-1 with a 4.06 ERA after he beat Oakland on May 1st, but he went 12 starts without a win.

On Sunday, Harvey threw six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits against Kansas City, and improved his record to 4-10. His ERA is still an astronomical 7.13.

It’s possible that if Harvey has another strong start, it creates a market for him, but that seems unlikely.

Pedro Severino: No, the Orioles aren’t trading Severino so they can call up Adley Rutschman from Bowie.

The Orioles are paying Severino $1.825 million, and it’s unlikely that he returns in 2022, especially with Rutschman expected to be the No. 1 catcher.

But even with catchers at a premium, Severino hasn’t created a market for himself, but he does have a positive WAR (.4).

The most likely to go

Paul Fry and Tanner Scott are the only two left-handers in the Orioles’ bullpen. Fry could be attractive to a contender, perhaps Houston or Oakland, that’s looking for a setup man.

Fry has floundered in the ninth inning this year (8.31 ERA) but has sparkled in the seventh (1.42) and eighth (1.80).

Scott, who was the losing pitcher in Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, has a tantalizing arm but continues to struggle with control (28 walks in 38 innings). He has 55 strikeouts but has never been consistent.

Fry and Scott have three seasons of club control remaining beyond this year, but trading both would leave the Orioles without an experienced left-hander.

Elias’ deals for Castro and Givens look solid so far. If he could get a similar return for Fry and Scott, perhaps he’d trade both. The guess here is that Fry could get dealt when the trade deadline comes next week.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Buzz1979

    July 22, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Goodbye to Fry!

  2. Orial

    July 22, 2021 at 8:20 am

    No matter who they trade they’ll be lucky to get equal value. It’s not just the O’s it’s the way baseball is. Motto–“don’t trade just to trade–you’ll more than likely rip yourself off”.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 22, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for reminding us of the Cashner trade Rich. That one trade epitomizes the tank job we’ve been dealt these past few years.

    Hopefully those 2 youngsters didn’t have to quit their day jobs.

    • Eastern Sho Joe

      July 22, 2021 at 12:46 pm

      What team is Cashner playing for now? Oh that’s right, nobody. BOS cut him and nobody else would sign him either. At the least we got out of paying half of his remaining salary.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 22, 2021 at 2:25 pm

        Really …how much $$$ did YOU get back? Did beer or any other concessions get cheaper … is parking now free?

        Cashner was doing very well for us when he was traded. About all WE got out of it was possibly 2 or 3 more losses to watch because WE didn’t have a bona-fide major league starter to take his place.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 22, 2021 at 2:34 pm

        Oh BTW …. the Orioles gave some cash to the Sox in that trade, so they didn’t save ALL of his remaining salary. And Boston didn’t cut him…he became a free agent after the season.

        • Eastern Sho Joe

          July 23, 2021 at 1:29 am

          I’m just messing with you, about a week ago you replied to one of my comments with a ‘bull hockey juice’ or one of your typical jabs that you love so much, & I forgot to jab back. So as soon as I saw Cashner’s name in the article I skipped to the comments to see what you wrote & I replied because I knew it would get you off. I believe you & I had a lengthy, & quite heated, debate back when Cashner was traded. Since then I’ve learned it’s pointless to argue with you because you’ve always got a comeback & neither of us are going to change our minds. However, it is fun to jab with you every once in a while. 😉

  4. Orioles20

    July 22, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Nows the time to trade Mancini. I love Mancini and his story but at the end of the day this is a business there’s no time for heart warming stories. If I’m Elias I’m listening on Means and Mullins. I think you have to just because you never know what’s going to happen from year to year. Look at Santander as an example. Injuries or inconsistencies can happen. Scott and Fry are probably as good as gone. Take them so Hyde can no longer misuse them. Also yesterday was not his fault. All Vialika had to was let mountcastle catch the ball.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 22, 2021 at 11:27 am

      I’d trade Mancini as well, simply because the future of 1B is Mountcastle. BUT … it would depend on the deal offered. I wouldn’t trade him for anything less that proven major league talent. You don’t give up a bat like his for more prospects at this point. The big club can’t give talent away.

      • The Bird1

        July 22, 2021 at 8:48 pm

        I agree, some of our best prospects are getting close to being ready for the majors, so its time to get major league talent back in these trades, like a semi- decent starting pitcher for example or a 3rd baseman. Its about time to start focusing on winning at the major league level.

    • Orial

      July 22, 2021 at 11:46 am

      I too have nothing against trading Mancini but would never get equal value back considering his intangible value to the Orioles and the city. 2 minor leaguers maybe.

    • Birdman

      July 22, 2021 at 3:16 pm

      Yes, baseball is a business, but part of that business involves establishing an emotional connection with its customers (fans) … the Orioles have already burned a lot of goodwill with their fan base, and trading Mancini (especially if it turns out to be a salary dump in exchange for cheap prospects) will only make that situation even worse.

  5. Bman

    July 22, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    Elias will pull off a couple trades I’m sure, probably the relievers. Too bad about galvis. I would think anyone 29+ years old is tradeable.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 22, 2021 at 2:38 pm

      I’m afraid that he’s going to look to trade Santander, which would be a huge mistake IMO.

      • Buzz1979

        July 22, 2021 at 3:57 pm

        Very big mistake, would be selling way low!

  6. WorldlyView

    July 22, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    It would not surprise me if NO trades were made. The other general managers by now must worry that it is more than likely they will be outsmarted by Elias in any trade. They are almost guaranteed to get the short end of the deal if he offers a current Orioles player in return for a couple of unproven DSL teenagers. That’s why some of you refer to him as “Boy Genius.”

    • CalsPals

      July 22, 2021 at 5:32 pm

      LOL…;)….go O’s…

  7. Buzz1979

    July 22, 2021 at 7:39 pm

    Camden Chat says Stewart to get more playing time, yikes! Time to produce or this is it. And, please, no more Jose Canseco school of outfielding!!!

  8. dlgruber1

    July 22, 2021 at 8:55 pm

    I see the Rays, the team people like to say the O’s should emulate, acquired Nelson Cruz in a trade today. Looks like they’re making a serious run for a WS title after coming up short last season.

  9. OsfansinWV

    July 22, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    Santander, Stewart, McKenna and Vailaka all for cash considerations…… AND a player to be named later

  10. jimpalmer65

    July 22, 2021 at 11:05 pm

    Okay, I going to get the bad taste out of mouth first: You can trade a future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson the final piece for the Orioles drive for 4 World Series and 2 World Series wins but they can’t trade Mancini. C’mon! get real! Rich, there would not be a market for Mancini who’s on pace to bat .250+ 30+ HR and 90+ RBIs. Really… In 2017 J.D. Martinez was traded for 3 prospects with 2 of them ranked 4 & 15 in the AZ Top 30. Martinez was limited defensively just like Mancini. Nelson Cruz has just been traded to the Rays. So, wouldn’t Mancini’s trade value (Along with others) just went up for the Orioles with the teams that missed out on Cruz. The asking price should be 3 prospects from the teams Top 30. 1 within the 1-10 and 1 from 11-15 and the last from 16-30. But players the O’s want. They have the LEVERAGE in any potential trade (Team Control yrs) Trade Mancini if you get what you want. His market value is at it’s highest. As far as Fry and Scott the Orioles should aim for and get better trade deals than what Givens and Castro got for the Orioles even though they where solid deals. Fry and Scott should bring in a better return. Both are left-handed pitchers a desired commodity to contending teams, there not rentals, both have 3+ yrs team control, As you said Rich, Fry is one of the best set-up men in baseball and Scott even with the walks is a solid reliever and that potential is there waiting to be tapped. If both or one gets a return like Givens-Castro I would be disappointed. There no rush to trade them. Get what you should get. O’s stop being a thrift store. As far as Mullins don’t trade him. Would have to be a Bedard type deal. Means and Santander I agree unlikely to be traded and so what O’s got 3yrs team control so don’t sell them cheap. Rich, my sleeper to be traded Cole Sulser. He is a guy that might bring in a solid return. No Coke… Mt.Dew

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 23, 2021 at 7:42 am

      JP, I didn’t say that there wasn’t a market. I said there wouldn’t be a big market meaning I doubt the Orioles would get back what they want, but we’ll see in a week.

      As for Sulser, he has pitched in only 59 games. That may not be enough to establish his true value.

      • jimpalmer65

        July 23, 2021 at 9:18 pm

        Rich, Thanks for clarifying what you meant by “wouldn’t be a big market”. If the Orioles would not get back what they want, then I am okay with Orioles not trading him at the deadline or off-season and signing Mancini to a extension, but not a Chris Davis type extension. What I hope happens the Orioles are able to trade Mancini and get the high return they should get and then in 2023 O’s resign him as FA, if they need him. And that goes for all Orioles potential trades – get what you want or don’t make the trade. O’s have the leverage. Still think Sulser might be a sleeper trade made for a solid return and if not that’s okay he’s not a free agent until 2026 season. Love the storylines and reading the other comments and being able to make my own. Live in the MW not a lot Orioles fans out here to talk Orioles baseball.

  11. dlgruber1

    July 23, 2021 at 1:07 am

    Just when you think the O’s have the market cornered on inept play, in Boston tonite in the bottom of the 10th with Yanks up 4-3, Yanks pitcher named Kresge throws 2 WP to score runner who began inning on 2nd, walks the batter, throws 2 more WP to move runner to 3rd then gives up sac fly to lose game. Wow!!!!

  12. willmiranda

    July 23, 2021 at 10:29 am

    We’ve had some good summaries here the last couple weeks about trades over the past few years. Overall, the impression I have is that they’re not so important. The players involved who are still productive have since been signed or re-signed as free agents. That is to say, the O’s could have got them back for nothing and kept the players they were traded for as well. Of the teams directly involved in the trades, including the O’s, I think only the Yankees, with Zach Britton, have benefited for any length of time. It seems that free agency has dampened the effects of trades, and I suspect that a new bargaining agreement will expand or extend free agency as the players’ chief demand.
    Another thought: there’s been much talk about the bad side of a long-term contract with a certain Baltimore first baseman. Wasn’t that really about player control?

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