With MLB set to propose a half-season of 2020 baseball, followed by an expanded postseason, we could be on the verge of a campaign unlike any other. There’ll be one-off rules on a whole host of topics, among them the player transactions that take place before and during the season.
While we don’t yet know when and how players will be shuttled between rosters, we have a pretty clear picture of the competitive picture that awaits. This is going to be a sprint in which every game counts. Limping through the truncated regular season could leave a talented team outside the playoff picture, or in it but in a disadvantaged position. And the broadened postseason tourney will likewise enhance the importance of winning high-leverage situations.
For teams that are built to compete right now, there’s an opportunity to salvage something out of a season that’s already sure to be a promotional and financial disappointment. While everyone will be watching the bottom line and thinking about sustainability and cost-efficiency, now more than ever, it’s also going to be harder than ever to take a wait-and-see at the trade deadline approach to roster management.
There are loads of potential consequences here for every team. We’ll surely be exploring many of them as the situation gains clarity. The one highlighted here is far from the most important, but it’s indicative of the sort of shifts in the trade marketplace we might see.
In many respects, Orioles reliever Mychal Givens is the perfect trade candidate. Let us count the ways.
Most rebuilding teams have already dealt away their most obvious veteran trade pieces. But the Baltimore organization hadn’t received sufficiently enticing offers on Givens and didn’t feel compelled to move him just yet with one more season of arbitration control remaining. The idea, no doubt, was to let him (hopefully) mow down hitters over the first half of 2020 before cashing him in at the trade deadline. Contenders would feel justified in giving up more value since they’d control him for 2021.
Now, that plan has run into some difficulties … but also some added opportunity. We don’t know if there’ll be a typical trade deadline, but even if there is, it won’t involve a slow build-up that Orioles GM Mike Elias can use to develop scenarios surrounding Givens.
On the other hand, the short-season burst will leave contenders hunting for replacements without the luxury of watching a lot of 2020 baseball. The focus will be on physical tools as demonstrated most recently, results be damned. Teams typically have more than 82 games to witness repeat testing of players before making deadline decisions. By that point, the season will be over. Teams that want to improve mid-season will have to simply imagine what is possible.
It’s reasonable to expect Givens to fare well in this analysis, whether he’s discussed in trades before or during the season. He looks the part of a monster on the mound, consistently averaging over 95 mph with his fastball in every season of his career. Ramping up the use of his change-up to equal status with his slider, and pairing it with that heater, enabled Givens to jump to a hefty 15.8% swinging-strike rate and 12.3 K/9 in 2019. True, he also coughed up 1.86 homers per nine innings, but it’s not hard to imagine that number moving back towards his career mean (0.95 per nine), especially once he’s removed from Camden Yards and the AL East. If you’re a team that routinely re-envisions how your pitchers use their arsenals, there’s no better raw material to work with.
And that also brings us back around to the point we started with: the importance of leverage. Locking up winnable games, both during the regular season and through the postseason, is going to be key. The O’s know this better than anyone, having benefited from several campaigns in which they thrived in one-run contests. Even a talented team with good health and generally good performance can experience rather significant swings in actual victories based upon just a few moments in certain close contests. And that’s all the more true in knockout rounds of the playoffs.
Givens becomes quite an appealing weapon under these parameters. He has been a workhorse, averaging over seventy frames annually over his four full seasons in the majors. More than ever, an acquiring team could envision a significant impact on its fortunes from inserting a pitcher with this skillset into its relief corps.
Further greasing the wheels here is a favorable contract situation. As noted, Givens is controlled for 2021. His salary this season is only $3.225MM and can only move northward by so much through the arbitration process. As clubs think ahead to building a winner in lean economic times, this is precisely the sort of asset they’ll wish to have.
It remains all but entirely unknown how the transactional landscape will develop. But so long as some player movement is permitted, I’m guessing that Givens will be one of the most-discussed and most-watched players as MLB’s 2020 season relaunches.
The O’s have some seriously interesting trade chips on their hands for this upcoming season, that is if there is one. Between Givens, Alberto, and if they’re feeling really ambitious by adding Means name to the fray they could create an instant boost to their budding farm system. Not a bad idea to consider cleaning house heading into next offseason
Alberto isn’t interesting. He strikes out at an alarming rate
Right. That’s why they dedicating an entire article about dealing him due to being just that.. nice due diligence
Strikes out at an alarming rate? No he doesn’t lmao.
According to fangraphs he only struck out at a 9.1% rate last year. Walked only at a 2.9% rate.
That’s severely below the league average which is around 25% or so for striking out.
Idk how you got he strikes out too much.
The low talker talking right out of his behind. Alberto would be in the top 10% in the league in contact rate.
The Orioles also don’t have many intriguing trade pieces. Any team in baseball has a couple guys like you mentioned. Givens is a possible set up man and Alberto is a possible utility infielder/platoon bat. That’s far from being real interesting.
The house has already been cleaned out. Buddy and Villar were traded this offseason. Mancini is clearly not going to be available with that unfortunate news.
Enough to get B level prospects. Better than nothing for a rebuilding squad with many years before they’re seriously competitive
Unless you believe Means turns into a pumpkin or some team offers you a kings ransom—there’s really no point in bringing his name up. A pitcher with 5 years of control is exactly what a rebuilding club wants. And I highly doubt there’s a package that is going to blow you away for Means on the table.
The Orioles don’t have much of anything to trade this year. The team has been gutted for the most part. Guys like Givens, Bleier, Cobb(unlikely), Nunez, Alberto, Severino are realistic trade candidates. But none of those guys, except potentially Givens(if he has a big year) is going to bring back anything substantial. The O’s wouldn’t get a whole lot today for any of those names.
This year is more about seeing what we have In guys like Hays, Santander, Harvey, and Mountcastle. Hopefully we see a couple more young arms at some point as well.
jbigz12 says so and so it shall be….
Umm… no. You are patently and provably wrong on that.
He’s not interesting as a trade chip, but not for the truly indefensible incorrect reason you state.
“Alberto concluded last season with an overall line of .305/.329/.422 (96 wRC+) and 12 dingers and 1.9 fWAR in 550 PA. He also led the league in strikeout percentage (9.1) and came in 10th in contact percentage (86.5).”
So I guess the entire league strikes out at an alarming rate since the guy that stuck out the least often struck out at an alarming rate in your opinion. Or perhaps you are alarmed by guys that don’t strike out much.
He struck out 50 times in 550 PA in 2019, yup that’s an alarming rate alright…
Where’s the dang mute button for this guy?
98 OPS+ for Alberto…. very meh, unless you think his BABIP will rise because of his low K rate
147 vs LHP, 62 vs RHP. Way to go the extra with your analysis…
Your posting privileges are now on lockdown, sorry.
Assume, dont hurt his feelings. He already demonstrated lack of knowledge today.
Ah assumes, the boards biggest beta cuck!
What happens if the player objects to being traded? Who would want to either move away from family or move the whole family in the midst of the pandemic. Especially if the new team is in an area where the virus is peaking.
That’s a really good question that I’m guessing will be left out of the negotiations between MLB and MLBPA and become controversial afterwards.
I don’t know if that will be left out. I read one article that put forth a great argument for how cruel it would be to trade someone when relocation would be so difficult under pandemic/shutdown conditions. The owners might even try to use a “no trades in the 2020 season” codicil to get their salary concession from the players.
Being traded from the Orioles is like being pardoned from jail. Without Mancini, they might have worst roster I have ever seen in baseball ( expansion teams included).
Thanks for yet another keen, insightful review NY Yankee. Oh, how does your team rebuild? Oh, they write checks. Any idiot can do that.
As I said before, and obviously you havent learned, get a clue how real baseball works outside the “center of the universe.” You might actually learn something.
I know all about teams struggles. I have seen plenty of bad Yankee baseball ( the Stump Merrill Yankees come to mind). I also root for a hockey team that has won 2 playoff rounds in over 30 years ( NY Islanders).ps. Try being an Arizona State Sun Devil fan, and you know you you are not catching up to USC, Washington, Stanford and Oregon when it comes to PAC-12 football.
Well, again, you prove my point. And the economics of NHL and NCAA are completely different to that of MLB.
Here is a clue: incompetance is a different issue than financial limitations. So, yes, there has been some clear NYY incompetance, they have not ever faced real financial limitations, except those self imposed. Maybe, if you took 3 mins, maybe 4 with your demonstrated aptitude, and tried to figure out how to build a team, that wins, with 60% less budget, you might get a hint of it. Now, do that over several years, and manage pending free agents, extensions, etc.
Or, we can just go out and sign Gerrit Cole…
You know the sad fact? Dollars spent do not always = trophies won. So who are the better GMs now??
Disclaimer: Cashman isnt a bad GM in my view. But he has by far more bullets for the battle than, say, Billy Bean or the incoming GM in Tampa.
Baltimore is rebuilding because they have no choice due to bad decisions… the tanking they are doing right now is purposeful and a disgrace. The Yankees thick payroll has nothing to do with any of it.
Well, hello Einstein, how are you? Let me ask you something.
If the MASN tv issue got resolved, and BALT suddenly had , say, an extra $100M to spend on players in a normal season, would they be ‘disgracefully tanking’?
They must like losing, eh, since budget has nothing to do with it.
“Tanking” is just as legit as an approach to getting to a World Series as signing free agents to albatross contracts
They could have spent well less than 100 million and still improved even if slightly. There is a wide gap between 100 million and nothing. The situation they are in now, 100 million still wouldn’t buy them contention (cuz that’s not how it works) but they could have at least kept Villar and maybe signed a few decent FAs
Tanking is not legit. Trying to lose is not allowed and moving up in the draft due to sucking has a minimal positive effect, anecdotal examples aside.
“Moving up in the draft has a minimal.positive effect”
Um, maybe, just maybe you should look at the Astros, cheating or not, they did just that.
Nationals? Nah, Bryce and Robles and Soto and Strasberg were all free agents.
Please, just stop. You have zero clue.
Anecdotal, as I said. Want another anecdote? Mike Trout was picked same year that Strasburg went first to the 103 loss Nats. Trout went 25th to a team coming off a 100 win season.
You do understand that the idea that draft position means way less in baseball than in other sports is not an idea I just made up. sucking enough to get the number one or two rather than number 8 pick has much less value than in, say, the NBA.
Hmm, you had to go back how many years and pull out a single draft pick exception, which 1)is irrelevant to the point and 2) seems as you say anecdodal.
Funny: my ‘annecdodal’ examples happen to be the last 2 WS winners. “Thats a mystery.”
Now, since beaten, if you want to change topic to drafting well vs drafting early and often, lets do so.
And while #1 draft pick does not mean automatic WS, lower draft picks, over a period of time, if executed, even by someone of your aptitude, infuses talent on the field or becomes trade pieces to a smaller market team on the verge of competing. But, obviously, this is getting too deep for you based on your understanding of anecdodal.
Ok I’ll tackle just one bit of that obnoxiousness: you mention your examples are recent examples and say that I don’t understand anecdotes… well proximity in time and anecdotes have nothing to do with each other. Perhaps it is you who have a flawed understanding. Anyway I was trying to have an adult conversation but you’ve been nasty and insulting from the start. Sorry I offended you by slightly criticizing the Orioles. Have a nice rest of your day.
Proximity and time may not bind something as anecdodal, but fact that you had to search back through many years of drafts to find one example and I just had to name the last 2 WS winners.
Two players on the 17 Astros were drafted high because of tanking. Correa and Bregman. Altuve, Springer, Keuchel and others were already there when Luhnow took over. Verlander was a trade, Morton and Yuli free agent signings… now obviously Correa and Bregman made a huge difference, but the whole tanking was the reason for winning it all thinking is overblown a bit. Hell they screwed up two #1 overall picks and hit on just 1
Cosmodeus, hey buddy….speaking of anecdodal, see what the next story is after this one is.
Let that burn sink in, pal.
Put themselves in the middle of the pack is a terrible idea. Then expect them to nail pick 9 draft every draft
Damn, Clepto, you are obnoxious, remind me never offer a different viewpoint to you ever again. Why you can’t make your point without behaving like a cranky child I don’t know but I’ll stick to discussing baseball with folks who don’t get immediately get combative and rude. Again, so sorry that I saw things from a different perspective than you. Have fun being angry and jerkish in every discussion you have. Oh, and you apparently don’t understand how anecdotes work and apply (or don’t) to logic. (Trout was just the first example I thought of, did you really think I researched 8 years of baseball history in order to pick out the one good example? In the ten minutes between your post and my response? Yeesh.)
Trying to lose is not allowed…huh?
It is done all the time in the MLB…
And the Astros kind of showed how to tank your way to success, but I guess you consider them an anecdotal case eh?
Done in the NBA all the time too
I have seen a lot of Oriole Games, and Givens is horrible in the clutch ( against the Yankees especially). I would not want him on my team in a big situation
A contender would not trade for him to be their closer. He would be used in a 7th/8th inning role, one in which he was truly outstanding over the three previous years. Also, it is easy to speculate that last year’s difficulties were due more to the change in the ball than his lack of success “in the clutch”, Nearly 40% of his career home runs allowed happened in 2019, covering less than 20% of his career IP.
I don’t think that Means would be considered a trade chip for a team struggling to put together a pitching staff. Unlike Bundy, Means is considered to be getting better and to be a part of the future. Bundy was traded because he will never be better than he is now and would not have been resigned when he reached free agency.
This will be Elias first real chance to shine. Other trades were to early or forced. The future of the Orioles can be decided in these moves.
Sign Cashner back. He is the best on the market.
Do you ever skip posting this to an Orioles article on MLBTR? Yawn! Broken record and not smart, save the money…
I don’t think a short season bodes well for a Givens trade bounty. Pitchers will be fresher than ever and clubs will be using their organizations more.
Face it, MLB is going through a belt tightening and I don’t expect clubs will be anxious to empty their purses to win this year’s intramural league championship.
Bold Prediction Dept.: O’s won’t lose 100 games this year!
Seriously, with a shortened schedule, if the O’s get off to a rocking start, and with the expanded number of playoff teams, the O’s might make the playoffs.
Anyway, Camden Yards is still one of the best places to watch a baseball game. I’m from Philly, but go to at least one O’s game a year with some old (Operative word!) fraternity brothers who live in the Baltimore area burbs. Always a fun night.