The Orioles are listening to offers for reliever Mychal Givens, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link). On a rebuilding, talent-deprived club that doesn’t have many enticing trade chips, the right-handed Givens stands out as someone who would draw plenty of interest on the market. Givens hasn’t been elite at preventing runs since last season, having posted a 4.06 ERA in 88 2/3 innings, but he has generally done well in that department (3.18 lifetime ERA) while logging appealing strikeout and walk rates (10.46 K/9, 3.34 BB/9) in 272 frames since his 2015 debut. The soon-to-be 29-year-old is also affordable ($2.15MM salary) and controllable through the 2021 season.
We’ll keep track of Friday’s minor moves throughout the league here…
- The Orioles announced that right-hander Josh Lucas, who was designated for assignment earlier this week, has cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll remain in the organization without occupying a spot on the 40-man roster. The 28-year-old Lucas made three appearances for the O’s prior to his DFA, tallying 4 1/3 innings of work and allowing a pair of runs. He’s spent time in the Majors in each of the past three seasons now, working to a combined 5.19 ERA in a small sample of 26 innings. In 108 2/3 career innings of Triple-A ball, Lucas has a 3.32 ERA with just under a strikeout per inning and 2.6 BB/9.
Wright was designated for assignment recently by the O’s. The out-of-options hurler will head onto the active roster for the M’s. He’ll need to remain there or be exposed to waivers.
The results haven’t been there for Wright, who carries a 5.95 ERA through 242 career frames in the majors. He has been hurt by the long ball this year, surrendering five in just 13 1/3 innings of work en route to a ghastly 9.45 ERA.
It’s not entirely clear what the Mariners hope to accomplish with the move beyond adding another arm to the stable. Perhaps their analytics department has an idea for how to squeeze improved results from his raw stuff, which includes a four-seam fastball that sits at around 94 mph.
As for Ogren, the 22-year-old was a 12th-round draft pick in 2018. He has been stationed at the Class A level to open the 2019 season, where he carries a .229/.319/.343 slash in 48 plate appearances.
The Orioles announced a series of roster moves Monday afternoon: Opening Day center fielder Cedric Mullins has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, while infielder Stevie Wilkerson has had his contract selected from Norfolk to take Mullins’ place. In order to clear a spot on the 40-roster for Wilkerson, Baltimore has designated right-hander Josh Lucas for assignment.
Mullins, 24, stumbled to a slow start to open the year but excited Orioles fans with a two-triple game against the visiting A’s back on April 8. The organization hoped that day might’ve served as a turning point for the talented young center fielder, but he’s instead collected just two hits (both singles) in 44 plate appearances since that time. Mullins hasn’t been striking out at a lofty rate, with just nine punchouts in that time, but he’s already popped up to the infield on five occasions this year.
A 13th-round pick back in 2015, Mullins moved fairly quickly through the Orioles’ farm system; he only logged 125 games in Double-A and another 60 in the Majors before making his big league debut last year. It’s certainly feasible that he needs a bit more development time in Triple-A, where he held his own last year but didn’t exactly excel (.269/.333/.438 in 269 PAs). The Orioles likely still view Mullins as a potential long-term piece in the outfield, but he’ll be asked to earn his way back to the big leagues for the time being. In his place, it seems likely that Joey Rickard will step up and assume more playing time in center field.
The 27-year-old Wilkerson was outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this year but will return for a second stint on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. He made his MLB debut with the club last year but didn’t fare well in a minuscule sample of 49 plate appearances (.174/.224/.239). Wilkerson, however, is a .290/.338/.481 hitter through 35 games at the Triple-A level and a career .268/.342/.371 hitter in parts of six minor league seasons. He’s played second base, third base, shortstop and corner outfield in the minors and should give manager Brandon Hyde some versatility off the bench.
As for Lucas, the 28-year-old made a trio of appearances for the O’s after being selected to the big leagues earlier this month. In 4 1/3 innings, he yielded a pair of earned runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lucas has spent a bit of time in the Majors in each of the past three seasons now, and in 108 2/3 career innings of Triple-A ball, he has a 3.32 ERA with just under a strikeout per inning and 2.6 BB/9 while working primarily as a reliever.
- The Orioles, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in this June’s draft, currently are considering high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman but haven’t made any firm decisions as to who they’ll take, per MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubtako. It’s of course worth noting that with more than a month to go until the draft, a different player could soar up the pre-draft rankings and thrust himself into the mix for the top selection. Similarly, a currently projected top pick could still give teams cause for concern and/or incur an injury. Both Rutschman and Witt were pegged as top-three overall picks in the first of what will be several mock drafts over at Baseball America, where Rutschman was projected to go to Baltimore.
Ynoa tossed 53 innings for the Mets and Orioles in 2016-17 before being limited to just seven Double-A innings in 2018 due to both rotator cuff inflammation and shin splits. Ynoa has a 3.60 ERA, 3.59 K/BB rate, and 5.7 K/9 rate over 926 career minor league innings, relying on strong control and grounder rates rather than a lot of missed bats. The 25-year-old could simply replace Wright in the bullpen, though Ynoa has started all three of his Triple-A appearances this season and could potentially step into Baltimore’s rotation on at least a temporary basis. The Orioles don’t have a scheduled starter for their game against the White Sox on Wednesday.
A third-round pick for the Orioles in the 2011 draft, Wright was seen for years as a future rotation piece for the O’s, but he has simply not been able to get on track at the Major League level, either as a starter or as a reliever. The right-hander has a 5.95 ERA, 2.04 K/BB rate, and 7.1 K/9 over 242 Major League innings, and has long had issues (career 1.6 HR/9) keeping the ball in the park. At age 29, it remains to be seen if Wright has a post-hype breakout in him, though such an opportunity could come with another organization since he is out of options.
- The Orioles brought righty Alex Cobb off the IL on Saturday to make his first start since a right lumbar strain sent him to the shelf on April 6. In hindsight, the Orioles probably wish they’d have started someone else. Cobb endured one of the worst outings in his career in a loss to the Twins, who thrashed him for nine earned runs on 10 hits and three homers in 2 2/3 frames. It continued a subpar Orioles tenure for Cobb, now in the second season of a four-year, $57MM contract. The rebuilding Orioles would likely jump at the chance to deal him, but Cobb’s ongoing woes won’t make it easy to find a taker.
- Second baseman Jonathan Schoop has spent nearly his entire career as a member of the Orioles, though they cut ties with him last July when they traded him to the Brewers. Schoop then became a Twin in free agency this past offseason, but he tells Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com that he was open to a reunion with Baltimore. “Honestly, there were a lot of teams that were talking to me,” Schoop said of his trip to the open market. “I was thinking about it if I had the chance to come back. This was the team that gave me a chance. So I was thinking about it. But they never reached out. So I go forward and the Minnesota Twins was the one coming out more. So right away I signed with them.” On the heels of a down 2018, Schoop joined the Twins on a one-year, $7.5MM deal in December. Even though we’re just a few weeks into the season, Schoop has bounced back to a degree in the early going, having hit .241/.317/.407 (97 wRC+) in 60 plate appearances.
Angels megastar Mike Trout, who has been unavailable for several days due to a groin injury, has shown improvement and will rejoin the Angels for their series in Texas, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group. He remains day-to-day and it is yet unclear when he will be ready to return to the lineup, but the update is certainly welcome news for the Angels. Trout exited the Angels’ April 9 contest with the Brewers after suffering a right groin strain and remained in Los Angeles while the rest of the team traveled to Chicago. The club has managed well in Trout’s absence, finishing a three-game sweep of the Brewers and winning one of two games against the Cubs, with Sunday’s rubber match postponed. The news should certainly inspire some optimism for Angels fans, who have collectively been holding their breath since Trout’s injury. Considering the circumstances, it would feel like the best-case scenario for the Halos to get their franchise cornerstone back after just a handful of games, a stretch in which the team has maintained its winning form.
Here are the latest updates on other injuries from around Major League Baseball…
- Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress has completed his rehab assignment and will rejoin the Brewers on Monday, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jeffress, a stalwart of the Brewers’ dynamic bullpen in 2018, has been on the shelf for the beginning of the season with a shoulder issue, which has since been resolved, says Haudricourt. He will join Josh Hader in a Milwaukee bullpen that will be without Corey Knebel, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this season.
- In Sunday’s victory over the Orioles, Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi fouled a ball sharply off his right foot and had to exit the game. In some good news for the Sox, though, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com reports that x-rays on Benintendi’s foot returned negative results, though Benintendi will be day-to-day with a foot contusion. He was replaced in left field by Blake Swihart on Sunday, who could continue to serve as Benintendi’s substitute if he misses any time.
- Orioles righty Alex Cobb, out since April 6 with a lumbar strain, won’t come off the IL when first eligible, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com was among those to report. It doesn’t appear Cobb will miss much more time, however. Manager Brandon Hyde indicated he could start during the Orioles’ upcoming series against the Twins, which runs from April 19-21. Cobb pitched well in his lone start of the season, an April 4 loss to the Yankees in which he threw 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
- Seattle Mariners southpaw Wade LeBlanc will miss 4-6 weeks with a grade 2 oblique strain, skipper Scott Servais told reporters, including The Athletic’s Corey Brock (Twitter link). With LeBlanc headed to the 10-day IL, the team has called up right-hander Erik Swanson from Triple-A. Swanson will take LeBlanc’s place in the starting rotation and is slated to make his first Major League start on Wednesday.
Beleaguered Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered Saturday without a hit in his previous 54 at-bats, the longest streak in major league history. But the former star’s nightmarish skid ended with a first-inning, two-run single off Boston’s Rick Porcello, giving Davis his first hit since Sept. 14, 2018. Davis later went on to collect two more hits and another pair of runs batted in during what wound up as a 9-5 victory for the Orioles. While Davis was one of Baltimore’s best players Saturday, he has delivered startlingly few valuable performances since 2016, the first season of a seven-year, $161MM contract that now looks like one of the worst investments in baseball history. Once a premier slugger, the 33-year-old Davis has slashed a hideous .198/.294/.388 (83 wRC+) with minus-0.8 fWAR since signing his current deal.
Davis appears to be a sunk cost for the rebuilding Orioles, who owe him roughly $108MM more and will pay him through 2037 because of deferrals, yet there’s no urgency on their part to get rid of him. Rookie general manager Mike Elias told Dan Connolly of The Athletic (subscription required) on Friday that the Orioles are “absolutely” planning to keeping Davis, adding that “he’s on this team and it’s no secret the fact that we have a large and long commitment to him, so our focus is going to be on getting the best performance out of him that we possibly can.” Elias went on to explain to Connolly that the Orioles, with the help of analytics guru Sig Mejdal and hitting coach Don Long, are “just going to do as much as we can incrementally to get him into a better place.”
More from the American League…
- The Indians have played this season without their top performer, shortstop Francisco Lindor, who’s on the mend from a calf sprain and a high left ankle sprain. Fortunately for the Tribe, it appears Lindor’s progressing toward a return. After running the bases the past two days, the 25-year-old will work out with the team Sunday, and he could embark on a Triple-A rehab assignment Monday, Mandy Bell of MLB.com reports. When Lindor went down in early February, the Indians surely knew finding a capable fill-in for the three-time All-Star would be a difficult task; however, they likely didn’t expect their shortstop situation to be this dire in his absence. Replacements Eric Stamets (minus-35 wRC+ in 40 plate appearances) and Max Moroff (minus-58 wRC+ in 23 PA) have stumbled to a league-worst minus-0.8 fWAR thus far.
- Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is slated to begin modified spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., during the middle of the upcoming week, Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Beyond that, the Twins are hoping Sano – who’s working back from a right Achilles injury – will begin a rehab assignment in early May, according to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. The Sano-less Twins have primarily turned to $21MM free-agent pickup Marwin Gonzalez at the hot corner, but the former Astro’s season has gotten off to an inauspicious start.