Rookie Orioles GM Mike Elias held a long and interesting chat with Dan Connolly of The Athletic (subscription link), touching upon a host of topics of interest to the broader player market. The full interview transcript is essential reading for fans of the Baltimore organization, in particular, but we’ll cover a few key bits of hot stove relevance here.
Though the Orioles roster isn’t exactly brimming with trade chips, it does have a few of note. Elias says that trade chatter volume is “already very high.” Deadline work is “really the main thing that the front office staff and I are spending our time on now in the month of July.”
While he wasn’t willing and/or able to predict how many moves the O’s will end up swinging this summer, Elias left no doubt that he’s ready for action. He did drop a few clues on some key player assets as well. Elias suggested the Orioles put a high value on reliever Mychal Givens, saying that “he’s striking out more people than ever and is throwing really hard.” While the results haven’t been there for Givens, he figures to be a target of contenders in search of pen upgrades — as we discussed in ranking him the top O’s trade candidate.
The most valuable potential summer trade piece on the roster is surely outfielder Trey Mancini, a player examined not long back by MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk. Elias largely reiterated his previously stated stance on Mancini, calling him “a very big part of the future of this team” while reiterating that the team is “in a position in our competitive cycle where we need to be open to anything that comes our way.”
On paper, the single likeliest player to be moved is starter Andrew Cashner. Prior reporting indicates the organization is unsurprisingly quite willing to do so. The veteran righty threw his trade status into some uncertainty with some ambiguous recent comments (also in a chat with Connolly) in which he suggested he’d need to decide whether to accept a trade despite lacking no-trade protection. Elias wisely skirted the topic, saying: “I don’t read too much into it. It’s not anything that we’ve discussed.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a matter of no moment whatsoever. MLBTR’s Steve Adams has argued that Cashner ought to be shifted into a relief role; some clubs would surely consider him as such, particularly entering the postseason. They’ll want assurances that the hurler will report if they strike a deal, making some added work for Elias to avoid complications. The GM heaped praise upon Cashner, saying that he has enjoyed “a big bounceback” and “looks terrific.” No doubt the O’s will hope they can massage the situation and come away with a decent return.
If interest never develops on Cashner, it could still make sense to hang onto him. After all, the club has an interest in filling innings even in a hopeless season. Elias discussed the difficulty of keeping palatable arms on the roster. To his credit, he didn’t sugarcoat the situation or pull punches, acknowledging that the organization has had to rely on players that may not quite have been prepared for the challenge. “They’re working hard,” he said of the many members of the staff, “but it’s difficult to come up and compete in the major leagues [and] in this division against major-league hitters if you don’t have major-league command or major-league stuff or some combination of the two of those things.” The O’s hope to build out greater depth to further “stabilize” the pitching situation. “I think we’ve made some minor additions recently in the past couple weeks and we’ll continue to do that,” said Elias.
That doesn’t mean the long-term focus will change, of course. Elias cited “three broad goals” and identified progress in each area. “[E]levating the talent level across the organization” was an obvious key. The top Baltimore baseball decisionmaker says he was pleased with recent amateur efforts. He calls 1-1 draft pick Adley Rutschman “a player that, across draft years, is somebody that stands out.” Elias also praised the organization’s international efforts: “it was just important for us to get it going and I think that we even exceeded our own expectations.”
Of equal importance for long-term sustainability, Elias gave a glimpse of some of the less visible work being done:
“We also want to elevate the capabilities of our baseball operations department and we have certainly done that on the international side. But [Vice President & Assistant General Manager, Analytics] Sig Mejdal and staff are doing so much behind the scenes to equip our decision-makers and our player development people and our scouting people with tools that they need to do their jobs well and compete around the league and provide us with an edge, one day, in terms of our decision-making and our capabilities. And we’ve got a lot going on there. And we’ve also got all kinds of projects going on behind the scenes in terms of planning with infrastructure, with facilities and all that’s happening. And happening with the support and involvement of ownership. So, I really think we’re moving things in the right direction this year, in a big way. We’re doing it fast and we’re gonna keep going.”
In one other area of particular contractual interest, Elias again addressed the subject of highly paid former slugging star Chris Davis. The 33-year-old has had some moments this year, but there’s no denying that his problems are far from resolved. Elias reiterated the team’s commitment to Davis:
“He’s a big part of this team and this team’s history and we’ve got him here. So it makes sense for everyone to try to make the most of the situation and get him back to where he needs to be. We think it’s possible. And we’ve seen flashes of it and it’s a big priority for us.”
While one wonders whether the O’s will eventually have a breaking point with Davis, who’s owed $23MM annually through 2022 (a chunk of it deferred), the club obviously isn’t there yet.
Cashner to Rockies? Surprising yr in that not a ton of corner bats are available. The Justin Smoak, Todd Frazier, Pablo Sandoval, Ryon Healy, Lucas Duda, Tyler Austin types don’t excite anybody. Jose Abreu will cost too much prospect wise and in $. White Sox value Abreu more than the league. I could see Brewers getting in on Abreu near July 31st after addressing pitching.
Mancini’s value is high. 1st Base or corner OF option. Rays desperately need a power bat. Mancini on 1st Base? When will the Ji’man Choi yrs end? Rangers should go hard after Mancini too. Fits their timeline and could be packaged with Bundy or Cashner (plus Rangers like Shawn Armstrong).
So many bullpen arms available will depress Givens’ value. Won’t command huge raise Yr 2 of Arbitration and his value could conceivably be higher in 12 months. If O’s were smart they’d dangle Paul Fry & Pedro Severino. John Means at this moment the only untouchable piece. And not because he’s the next Nolan Ryan…But he represents the development system working. When was the last time the O’s developed quality starters? Mike Mussina?
When will either players value be higher?
No one is going to give us fair value for Means because of his lack of pedigree and short window of success. I wouldn’t be completely against a Means trade if it blew the team away. That offer isn’t going to materialize this year anyway. So yeah, I think he’s untouchable because the ask is going to be far too high for anyone to pay. I’d have to ask for a top 50 prospect + a top 100 prospect + a top 10 org guy for him right now. Considering he has 5 years of control after this season. And I’m sure no one would pay that price at this point.
Basically something like the Archer package. If some team was going to give us that I’d wave goodbye to Means tomorrow but I’m pretty certain that’s not going to be the case.
I’m sure sevy and Fry and the like are all available in small deals. I don’t see those types generating much of a return though. Maybe they could improve a return on a guy like Cashner if packaged together.
I like Sevie and Fry has been valuable. While no one is untouchable, gotta make sure the return makes trading them worthwhile. No trades just for trade sake.
Both those guys might be here a while, could see Sevie backing up Adley, and can never have enough lefties in the pen, especially with Bleier largely ineffective this year.
I mean yeah, I would not deal for the sake of a trade. Fry is a reliever we could control for 5 years. I definitely don’t want to just give either one of those guys up. Severino is a fine backup catcher but if someone offers i don’t know let’s say a second round pick from last year who is a ways off but has potential starter upside id send him out. Sisco is at least our stopgap and we can play Wynns or eventually Cumberland as the backup there.
I could see the Red Sox having a lot of interest in Cashner. Solid back end starter and won’t add much money to their payroll. Possibly Cashner for Jay Groome and a lower level prospect.
I mean I don’t think we get Jay Groome even if we eat Cashner’s deal in the trade. We’ve never done something like that in the past so I can’t imagine we start now. But I think that’s the only way we’d have a chance to get a guy like that.
I agree and since it’s only gonna be a few million I could see the O’s attempting to eat most of or maybe all of the salary to get a better return.
Groome has lost a lot of value since being drafted, but that’s still way too much for two months of Andrew Cashner of all people lol.
Our likeliest target is going to be Wheeler
This is my favorite line from the whole thing:
“And happening with the support and involvement of ownership.”
It gives me hope that the boys have eschewed their father’s ownership style.
My favorite was:
“He’s a big part of this team and this team’s history and we’ve got him here.”
It’s an insult to the past greats to consider Davis as a big part of the team history. Even putting aside the fact that Boras probably conned the owner when his executive functioning was faltering, Davis kind of sucked no matter what his salary is. He’s averaged 1.7 WAR per year with the O’s.
As much as I’d like to see Davis go home now. He was a big part of the orioles. Your 1.7/WAR a year is heaviling influenced by the last 2 years where he’s been a – negative 4 WAR player. And the year before when he was a replacement level player. Before he inked his big deal he was a huge part of our success just like Ryan Howard for the Phillies. Same exact thing. Both were useless at the back end.
Poor fella trying to hype his trade chips, unattractive as they may be. Mancîni is their only chance to haul in something attractive. He has been hitting for power, avaerage, and has a few years of control left.
Cashner has never lived up to expectation. His career high of 186 innings pitched in a season and a career average innings pitched per season sitting at about 114 screams for a second half drop in production. He may be a gamble for a team looking for a long reliever for low return. This would just be salary dump for Orioles as I don’t see any team risking much for a long reliever rental like Cashner
Givens? Flirting with a 5.00 era and on pace to allow almost 20 hr out of the pen? The time to trade him was a year or 2 ago. Only thing he has going for him is club control.
If the O’s could find that buyer looking to address 1b or lf, a long reliever/spot starter and a setup guy, a package trade might haul them in a decent prospect, they would be lucky to get any clubs top 5 prospects IMO.
Cashner was a reliever his first 3 seasons and you did not account for any time spent on the DL. That’s a pretty poor statistic telling me “Cashner only averages 114 innings a season.” That’s not even close to his career average as a starting pitcher. I’m not some fool who is going to tell you Cashner will give us a big return but at this point I think we can get a mid range prospect. SP’s are at a premium this year and Cashner is a low end option. A #12-15 org prospect and probably a lotto ticket is certainly possible.
As suspected, a couple kids from Venezuela with little value. I would view Prado as that lotto ticket though. Two future trade chips at age 17.
Sad truth is these players won’t yield exciting returns.
Tough job for Elias. In Houston, no one else was doing a scorched earth rebuild. Now, many teams are doing it. That makes it harder, and adds a couple years to the process.
The one trade deadline might help the orioles slightly. In years past buyers could wait out the sellers if they were willing to pick up huge salary commitments. This year you could have some teams like the reds for instance that still think they’re good but don’t want to sell. I like the fact that there’s only one trade deadline.
Chris Davis might go down as the worst contract in sports history. .Not a single season was worth the annual salary. NOT ONE!!!
Have you forgotten Ubaldo Jiminez? Okay, Davis wins the contest for the worst contract, but Ubaldo should be mentioned in the same breath….then throw up.
I can’t see moving Means at this point. More months at his high performance level turns him into a major chip, not just an add-on guy. He’s cheap, and the kind of guy that with a full season under his belt brings back a pretty significant return.
Boom Boom? Ya, you’re not gonna get what you want. He’s more important to the O’s (about their only player) than he would be to others. Givens? Nah, everybody’s got a Givens in their bullpen. Besides, to me the real interest is Frye; I can’t figure why his stuff doesn’t play better.
Villar? Shoot him. Never saw an arbitration-eligible guy play so lackadaisically. The guy doesn’t want to help himself; how’s he gonna help you? Cashner will get you an 11-20 prospect from a decent system (Brewers?) I would think.
Fry? Fry doesn’t have good stuff at all bob. He’s a groundball specialist with fringe velo. He does an excellent job of getting ground balls but he has two pitches. I’m not sure what he’d possibly play up. Givens is the guy in the pen who you would be asking that question about. I don’t know how you quantify him as a dime a dozen and Fry as some guy who doesn’t play his stuff up. Doesn’t really fit.
Givens has an awful time pitching at Camden Yards. 6.94 ERA 5 hrs allowed in 18.2 innings. VS. the road 2.92 ERA 15.1 innings 27Ks 2 hrs allowed.
I’m willing to bet teams would look at givens. Why you dismissed him as some dime a dozen guy, I’m not real sure. He’s the guy you would ask why doesn’t the stuff play up better like I said. Fry with a 90 mph heater and a slider for sure isn’t the guy id say the stuff doesn’t play up.
Givens has a nice arm if you like giving up HRs, which he does at a rate 4X what Fry does in a similar amount of innings.
But the real reason is the cost (I’m cheap; I don’t pay for “meh”). You’re going to wind up paying about 4M for Givens next year, which is waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much. Fry’s got a couple of years yet before arbitration, and, as you say, can get a ground ball.
We’re not talking Chapman and Kimbrel here; we’re talking 2 very ordinary performers. There just seems to me (granted, mere opinion) to be more upside to Fry. I kinda already know who Givens is.
2 in 15 road innings isn’t very bad. You’re acting as if this is a historical problem for Givens. And it’s not. He’s never had it before. He’s actually been elite In that respect. Especially on the road. Which makes sense given the way the ball flies out at Camden Yards.
He’s given up 9 HRS in 130 major league innings away from Camden Yards. That’s excellent. I’m willing to bet he’s thrown a number of innings in the Bronx and Fenway over that time as well. This year has been the only year HR’s have plagued him and it’s really only been an issue in Camden Yards.
Probably wouldn’t advocate for the Rockies to go out and get him but I could see a number of teams he’d make better.
Bob’s always the smartest guy in the room, Bigz. Cant tell him anything.
The market really isn’t all that strong right now. Only one division has an actual race going on, the other 5 have big leads. There are quite a few wild card possibilities but no one wants to go all in for a wild card spot. Hopefully a couple more races get close before the deadline and then we’ll see a bidding war going on for these players.
The os need to cut davis
If I were the GM of the O’s, I would keep plenty of headache alleviation medications nearby. Don’t
overdose, but have the medicine ready because the team is a terrible mess.