Measuring the trade market for starter John Means; No Orioles on All-MLB Team; Arena update -

Rich Dubroff

Measuring the trade market for starter John Means; No Orioles on All-MLB Team; Arena update

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

In the last two years, Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias has made two major trades leading up to the December deadline for offering contracts.

In December 2019, Elias dealt starting pitcher Dylan Bundy, who was two years away from free agency, to the Los Angeles Angels for four right-handed pitchers — Kyle Bradish, Kyle Brnovich, Isaac Mattson and Zach Peek.

Last year, he traded shortstop José Iglesias, whose 2021 option had been picked up just weeks before, to the Angels for two more right-handers Jean Pinto and Garrett Stallings.

Is it possible that Elias is planning another deal?

The Orioles have no players under major league contracts for 2022, and six eligible for arbitration — right-hander Jorge López, left-handers Paul Fry, John Means and Tanner Scott, first baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini, and outfielder Anthony Santander.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Major League Baseball and the Players’ Association have agreed to move up the deadline for offering contracts from December 2nd to November 30th. If the deadline remained December 2nd, that would have been the same day Major League Baseball could put a freeze on postseason transactions with a lockout if there isn’t a new contract to replace the expiring Collective Bargaining Agreement.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Elias is gauging the market for Means, a starting pitcher who is estimated by to be worth $3.1 million in his first season of arbitration eligibility.

Means and centerfielder Cedric Mullins are the two most attractive players the Orioles have. If the arbitration system remains intact in the new agreement, Mullins would be eligible for arbitration a year from now.

With three years of club control, Means is an attractive commodity — for the Orioles, who desperately need a top-shelf starter, and for other teams who could acquire three years of Means’ services.


Means, who was 6-9 with a 3.62 ERA, had a 4.0 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in 2021, and pitched the Orioles’ first solo no-hitter since 1969 on May 5th at Seattle.

Pitchers of his caliber with that much time before free agency rarely are available, and his possible departure could leave the Orioles painfully thin in the rotation.

While top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez should make his debut during the 2022 season, there isn’t a proven starter other than Means.

None of the other possible rotation candidates — Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells and Bruce Zimmermann — has had significant success in the major leagues, and the Orioles aren’t likely to spend on accomplished starring pitchers.

It would be interesting to see what sort of offers Elias could get for Means. There’s a prevailing theory in baseball that teams no longer trade their best prospects, With the Orioles needing so much help in the rotation, it would seem they’d have to get at least two top-notch starting rotation candidates plus additional prospects in return for Means.

A possible Means deal couldn’t be compared to the July 2018 deal made by Dan Duquette with the Los Angeles Dodgers for Manny Machado. The Orioles were under pressure to make a trade because Machado was an impending free agent.

The five players the Orioles got in return for Machado –Kremer, infielder Rylan Bannon, outfielder Yusniel Diaz, reliever Zach Pop, and infielder Breyvic Valera haven’t produced for the Orioles.

Even with Means, and the debuts of Rodriguez and top catching prospect Adley Rutschman in 2022, the Orioles aren’t expected to compete. If they trade Means, that could mean another season of 100-plus defeats and another No. 1 draft choice—unless the new Collective Bargaining Agreement includes a provision that prevents teams from drafting first in consecutive years.

Mullins, who has four years of club control left, might be even more valuable than Means.

It’s more likely that the Orioles will trade Mancini, who could make $7.9 million in arbitration, or Santander, whose 2022 salary could reach $3.7 million.

Mancini and Santander wouldn’t fetch the haul that Means could. A deal for Mancini so soon after he captured three American League Comeback Player of the Year awards could be politically risky for Elias.

Santander’s 2021 was a rough one. A year after being voted Most Valuable Oriole with an .890 OPS, Santander’s OPS dropped to .720, and injuries limited him to 110 games.

The Orioles would be trading low on Santander, whose defensive WAR dropped from .7 in 2020, a year in which he was a finalist for the Gold Glove in right field, to -.6 in 2021.

No Orioles: Mullins and first baseman Ryan Mountcastle were nominated for the All-MLB Team, but neither won. Mountcastle and Mullins will be introduced to the crowd at Sunday night’s Raven’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Arena follow up: Last December, I wrote about the need for a new arena in Baltimore. On Wednesday, the city’s Board of Estimate is scheduled to vote on a deal to refurbish, but not replace, the Royal Farms Arena, built in 1962.

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant’s venture capital company is partnering with Oak View Group, which built the UBS Arena in Elmont, New York, the new home of the NHL’s New York Islanders, which opened last Saturday.

The joint group will spend an estimated $150 million on the arena and increase seating capacity by about 10-to-15 percent. That could increase seating for basketball to about 14,000 and concerts to about 16,000.

The refurbishment could begin during the winter and be finished in 2023.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. OrangeDNA

    November 24, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Rich, I know we are instantly suppossed to complain about how terrible the “Civic Center” is (yes, I’m that old) But IMO, having attended Bullets games, and expessially being a season ticket holder as an adult for the Wizard’s 4 game package in Baltimore for years, the lower bowl is actually fantastic for Basketball games. I prefered the lower bowl to the Civic Center to that of the Capital Center. That said, all the other complaints are true. Upper deck is a bad sightline, The stage placement is odd. (But who cares, you arent sitting there anyway so why is that a bother), Parking stinks. narrow concourses.

    But mainly, in current Baltimore, it’s the location. IMO, The Blast pulled out for this reason, the CAA tournamant left for this reason. In a perect world the arena moves say south of Ravens stadium on the water, or Canton on the water… then boom, Indoor soccer, Tournaments, and more are all back. I don’t like that this is a reason, but it IS the main reason. I know the cost is prohibitive for this, and I do not think Baltimore would or should, get an NBA or NHL team if we did build a brand new one. Not enough corporate money/Sky boxes to keep those franchises viable.

    My solution unfortunely, is more time needs to pass before pouring money into the civic center and expecting families to come flooding down just because the councourses are wider. We need to see where the city and that specific location are headed. Mayor Schaefer once MADE things happen with HarborPlace… great vision there. I’m not sure this Civic Center situation can be forced into success unfortunately.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 24, 2021 at 8:11 am

      Just like you, I went to Bullets’ games when there was a four-game package, and I even covered some in the final years they played the four games. Here’s what I wrote last year:

      You are correct. The best site would have been where the casino was built. The arena would have been about the same size. Parking isn’t great near the arena, and there aren’t many attractive nearby options for restaurants before and after events. Ed Hale, when he owned the arena, explored a Canton site, but it got nowhere.

      The CAA tournament didn’t do well here because the only school nearby is Towson, and they don’t draw terribly well for basketball, and overall, I don’t think there are enough CAA fans to draw well anywhere. I don’t think they did all that well in Richmond.

      I don’t live very far from the arena, and I realize that downtown is a hard sell for many suburbanites, but for now, it looks like a refurbished arena is about the best that we can hope for.

      Thanks for such an insightful and well-reasoned comment.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        November 24, 2021 at 8:52 am

        “insightful and well reasoned” … waaaaaahhht?

        Quite the departure from the regular rabble you get around here ‘eh Rich!

        Nice post ODNA…you must be really old!

      • OrangeDNA

        November 24, 2021 at 9:12 am

        Rich, My dad and I had 7th row from the floor for the 4 game pack. The funny thing was the ticket prices jumped at an alarming rate. I’m guessing, but over a 4 year period they went something to the effect of $25, $35, $50, $75 a seat. Alot of money in the early 90’s! But there aren’t alot of things to do with your Dad in the middle of the winter, so it was worth it.

        Remember the guy who heckled? He was actually funny. I remember a 76’er like Hersey Hawkins lets say was at the line once, the arena totally quiet because its early in the game… then right as Hersey arches to shoot… “HERSEY HAWKINS…TELEPHONE!!!” 🙂 Entire Arena and Hersey cracked up.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 24, 2021 at 9:20 am

      That was Robin Ficker. Once, perhaps it was the same game, Charles Barkley, Rick
      Mahorn and the late Manute Bol surrounded him after a game the Sixers won to taunt him.

    • ClayDal

      November 24, 2021 at 9:36 am

      As I recall when they built MCI Center ( now Capital One Arena), the Wizards made sure Ficker’s seats were far away from the court. He stopped going.

    • lumberjack

      December 1, 2021 at 11:42 am

      Agreed, the location of the RF Arena is a big reason I won’t attend anything there any longer. I used to park there for Orioles games, but after being harassed every five feet for my change and seeing other people getting almost mugged – I stopped going to Camden Yards two years ago. I’m a big guy 6-05 and 220lbs, but it didn;t matter.

      Coming out of the stadium and getting back to the car was even worse. Before you hit Pratt Street you are accosted by at least a dozen people asking for your money, people who say they are your Uber ride when you never called them. It just wasn’t worth the hassle.

      Add in not being allowed to bring in food anymore, the team sucking for 3 years , Elias trading away any player that the fan base had some affection for makes it hard for me to spend my money at Camden Yards.

      If they trade Mancini and/or Means there will be no reason to even follow the team.

  2. JoeFundo

    November 24, 2021 at 8:15 am

    It breaks my heart to say this, but any investment into that “arena” is a waste of money. Baltimore WAS dying a slow death. NOW the pace of that death has accelerated. Smart money does not come to Baltimore and won’t until it is safe and prudent for families to return. The truth hurts.

  3. Orial

    November 24, 2021 at 8:33 am

    Anything to upgrade the Arena,being that a new one is out of the equation,is good news for entertainment,sports,and the Baltimore downtown in general. Yes I remember those Bullets AND Clippers games. Wondering if Mullins’ quiet Sept(where his BA dropped to .290) cost him a chance on MLB’s All first or second team? Couldn’t have phrased it better Rich but a Mancini move would be bad “politically”. His value means more to Baltimore than it does for hauling in prospects. Could he along with Mountcastle become a logjam blocking the evolution of future prospects?–maybe. Means–tough call. He misses a good third of the season,wears down but when he’s on he’s fantastic. Teams not giving up their top prospects is definitely a factor when dealing players of Means’ quality. Tough call. Santander–don’t trade him,his value is super low. Give him time to regroup,but he shouldn’t be considered beyond 2023(too much young talent coming up). December first and MLB will add another “shot to the foot”. Oh this old game of mine never ceases to disappoint.

  4. Birdman

    November 24, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Rich, as someone who attended many Bullets and Clippers games at the Civic Center in my distant youth, I’m afraid I have to echo the above comments about the current arena … a new arena, in a safer, more desirable location would be nice, but that is not financially, or politically, feasible anytime in the foreseeable future.

    And your observation that trading Means would leave the Orioles starting rotation “painfully thin” is certainly an understatement … trading Means for “prospects” at this point, with three years of club control remaining, would only confirm the suspicion of many that ownership is not really concerned about fielding a winning team, but merely focused on keeping payroll expenses to a bare bones minimum.

    • Bmoreravens3

      November 27, 2021 at 4:13 am

      I agree with birdman. As Rich said we desperately need a top shelf starter. Trading Means to avoid $3.1m arbitration for prospects who may not work out is ridiculous. We need to keep the Quad O’s in tact (Means, Mullins, Mancini & Mountcastle). It’s time for the O’s to fork up some money on the free agent market for a bonafide starting pitcher to prove we at least have a chance at .500 ball this year & are in the direction for winning baseball. Getting another top 5 pick AGAIN is not acceptable!

  5. ClayDal

    November 24, 2021 at 9:26 am

    In regards to the trade market for John Means , something to consider. With Eduardo Rodriguez getting 77 million for 5 years, Matz getting 44 million for 4 years, Andrew Heany getting 8.5 million for 1 year , the price of pitching is quite high. Syndergard got 21 million from the Angels and he pitched 2 innings last year. For a contending team, Mean’s projected 3.1 million is a bargain. Plus he has 2 more years of team control after that. So maybe it’s not so much that Means is too expensive for the Orioles, he might be a less expensive alternative for another team. Perhaps Elias can get other teams in a bidding war for Mean’s services. It worked years ago with Eric Bedard. If they can get a similar package back they should consider it. But frankly at this point, Means probably wouldn’t get that kind of return. Think Means will be in Spring Training-if there is one. As for the indoor arena, always thought they should have built it at Memorial Stadium years ago. Opportunity missed

  6. Phil770

    November 24, 2021 at 9:37 am

    I think it is prudent to assess the value of players. I hope that we retain Means and the others. Hopefully the arbitration process changes under new CBA, as well as resolve a number of well intentioned rules that are no longer useful. We do need to keep in mind that Means and Santander have never completed a season without missing a number of games due to fatigue or similar issues.

  7. jimcarter

    November 24, 2021 at 10:15 am

    Will the Orioles ever extend a player? Will anyone posting here live that long?

    • Birdman

      November 24, 2021 at 12:10 pm

      Unlikely, under current ownership.

  8. Bman

    November 24, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Unfortunately we’ve already swindled some of the best pitching prospects away from the angels. They’ll have to find another team to trade means to. Mancini and Santander get traded by summer trade deadline. We’ll see how many prospects we lose in the Rule 5. Hopefully Elias finds a couple diamonds in the rough to make up for it.

  9. Baltimore Castaway

    November 24, 2021 at 10:33 am

    If Elias can get enough of a return for Means then he should trade him.

    Mullins would have to bring a helluva return in talent–and if he was able to put a big deal together for Cedric, he should definitely trade him.

    These two are indeed the best on this team. Trading them would be very painful. BUT, the Orioles are very far behind the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays. They need big time talent to build a competitive future for them to play these other juggernauts.

    Other possible trade candidates on the 40 Man Roster either have recent injury and/or performance issues. I’m talking to you DJ, Yusniel, Dean, Alexander, Bruce, Tanner, Paul, and Keegan…what a ridiculously long list of underachieving lightweights… This has greatly hampered Elias’s ability to bring in better longer term talent for the team. He has to be frustrated by this..just like the rest of us.

    Wishing all your (mostly) outstanding posters a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

    • OriolesNumber1Fan

      November 24, 2021 at 1:42 pm

      I totally agree with you BC!!! Andy McPhail traded away their best starting pitcher Eric Bedard and best position player Miguel Tejada for the start of the last rebuild for the Orioles. No reason why Mike Elias can’t do the same thing here as well. Kind of ironic with Means and Mullins don’t you agree???
      Your “other trade candidates” per your “long list of underachieving lightweights” were obtained by Dan Duquette by trades or draft picks, again proving that he left this team in total shambles!!! It’s too bad some posers on this site still can’t figure this out!!! And their best argument against this fact is the understanding of the word “shambles” of all things!!! Just soooooo pathetic!
      Anyway, wishing you BC, a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you and your family!!!

      • Baltimore Castaway

        November 24, 2021 at 2:48 pm

        Thank you very much Sir!

        It’s not an easy time to be a fan of this this franchise, but it is interesting..

        The future looks very bright. Stay well..

        • WhyDoIBother

          November 24, 2021 at 9:15 pm

          If the Os don’t follow the Tampa plan I don’t know what I will do mostly or exclusively or dis day or da udderly

          • Baltimore Castaway

            November 24, 2021 at 10:04 pm

            Not sure I fully understand what you are attempting today here.

    • Bmoreravens3

      November 27, 2021 at 4:32 am

      I agree with you OriolesNumber1fan that Duquette left this team for dead. However, the last rebuild we had lasted 14 years (1998-2011). Tejada was traded in 2007 & Bedard in 2008. While that may have been the start of the rebuild when the O’s actually started trying to rebuild, we were below .500 for 10 years prior to that.

  10. willmiranda

    November 24, 2021 at 10:37 am

    The O’s biggest need (aside, of course, from backup catcher) is starting pitching. The only tradable player they have is their top starting pitcher who will not bring a top starting pitcher in return. Thus stands The Plan at this point in time.

  11. Buzz1979

    November 24, 2021 at 11:45 am

    If basketball fell off the face of the earth, I would not miss it!

    • JerseyO

      November 24, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      Hear hear.

    • CalsPals

      November 25, 2021 at 9:56 am

      Fourthed (?)…go O’s…

    • Bmoreravens3

      November 27, 2021 at 4:33 am

      Right? ESPN would be so much better

  12. Ernest

    November 24, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    Any possibility that minor league hockey comes back with reasonable attendance expectations? Otherwise, without some kind of team there, what fills up the place for the amount of dates Durant’s company is responsible for?

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 24, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      The building has actually been profitable for years, and they hope that with a nicer arena, it will be even more profitable. There are concerts, truck shows, wrestling and the hope for some college basketball as well as graduations and trade shows. I think minor league hockey works best in cities without other major league franchises. I think the old joke was that it was the same 2,000 people who showed up at Clippers’ games every night. I think it’s unlikely that there’s hockey here.

  13. Raveonjo

    November 24, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    The Civic Center is well beyond refurbishing. It was out of date the day it opened. As far as Means, I think back to some talk on The Fan in August. The prevailing opinion was we were to see a bit of progress in 2022. My thoughts: not if they trade our only established starting pitcher. If we keep trading these players, the Orioles become a de facto farm team for the rest of the lleague. If Means goes to another team, it will be more of a promotion than a trade.

  14. Bmore

    November 24, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    Maybe someday the Orioles will have ownership that cares about winning baseball

    • Baltimore Castaway

      November 24, 2021 at 5:45 pm

      You raise a very interesting point Bmore.

      I say you have to go all the way back to the Original Owner, Jerry Hoffberger who owned the team for 1952-1979. The rest were all profiteering from their position–some more than others. I’m talking to you Peter.

      The most impressive thing that can be said about the Brothers is that they have chosen a bold plan to restore the integrity of the team and a great Operative in Elias to get it done., Will be interesting to see if they can hold on and withstand the heat and fan dissatisfaction over the next year or two still.

  15. OrioleMaze

    November 24, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    Wait, let me get this straight …

    Our biggest need is pitching so the solution is to get rid of our best pitcher?

    What do we have a glut of? Outfielders. IMHO, if we can get a decent haul for Cedric and/or Santander you pull the trigger.

    We have team control with Means. Keep it.

    Hate to say it but Boom Boom falls into the same category as Cedric.

  16. WorldlyView

    November 24, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    Since I seem to be one of the few people who are primarily concerned about the financial well-being of the Angelos family, I think they should trade Means, Mullins, Mancini, and Santander. Arbitration will put their salaries through the roof. A lot of commenters on this site seem to live out of town and thus contribute nothing to team revenue; they have no right to complain if the team is gutted. We will get many prospects in return, one or two of whom could be productive in the long-term. The only downside I see to trading these four guys is that the O’s would probably lose at least 130 games next season. But how much better would the team be, even if we didn’t trade these players? In sum, trading them now would deal Elias’s magic rebuild only a brief, but cost effective setback.

    • OrioleMaze

      November 25, 2021 at 9:24 am

      You’re right. We all should be concerned about the Angelo’s financial well being.
      With that in mind I think we should consider adding a fourth M to the mix. We’d get quite a haul if we added Mountcastle!

    • Bmoreravens3

      November 27, 2021 at 4:47 am

      The Angelos family is the reason the stadium is empty! Trading these established players for prospects will not guarantee that the prospects work out. Even if they do, we’ll likely end up trading them away before they’re due any type of money & we’ll continue repeating the rebuild cycle over and over again.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top