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Five Orioles who could get traded this summer

Elias says his phone is on

June 23, 2019 - 9:52 pm
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By Jake McDonnell

With the Orioles losing 13-3 to the Seattle Mariners today, let’s divert our attention to the 2019 Major League Baseball Trade Deadline. As usual, this year’s deadline falls on July 31, but clubs will no longer be able to trade players that cleared revocable trade waivers through August 31. This rule is new to the 2019 season, so July 31 is now the cutoff date for all trades. Players may still be placed and claimed on waivers after July 31, but no trades will be granted between clubs.

Obviously, the 22-56 Orioles will be sellers this summer like last year. Almost two weeks ago, Mike Elias said that the Orioles will listen to all trade offers and inquiries ahead of July 31. That tells you all you need to know about the Orioles planning to be sellers for the second straight summer.

Now that we know what to expect in a few weeks, here are five players who I think Elias could move or other teams may be interested in.

1. Andrew Cashner

Andrew Cashner has pitched the most innings out of anyone on the Orioles roster (82.1) and he boasts the third-lowest ERA (4.37) on the pitching staff. In his last three starts he’s gone six innings with no more than two runs allowed. The Orioles are 9-6 in games Cashner started, which means that 41% of the games the Orioles have won this season featured Cashner as the Baltimore starter.

Cashner turns 33 on Sept. 11 and is in the last year of a two-year deal with the Orioles. Cashner has only gone more than six innings once this season, but he’s been solid and I think his presence on the mound rubs off this young team when he pitches.

Watching a veteran starting pitcher like Dallas Keuchel not sign with a team until June 7 is concerning, but the good news for the Orioles is that contenders are often split between viewing a soon-to-be 33-year-old pitcher as a starter or reliever. The return package won’t be big, but teams in need of pitching - either starters or relievers - could be in the mix for Casher and his beard.  

2. Chance Sisco

So apparently this Adley Rutschman guy that the Orioles drafted first overall a few weeks ago is pretty good and could be in the majors in a year or two. That’s a very exciting thought and Rutschman’s MLB debut will put the Orioles in the national spotlight, but the moment Elias drafted the Oregon State catcher changed Chance Sisco’s status within the organization.

Sisco’s bat certainly looked the part in Spring Training and at Triple-A Norfolk early on, but his batting average is not above .250 yet and there are still questions about his defense. Since he’s been called up the Orioles have played 19 games, and Sisco took part in 11 of them. The Orioles still don’t view him as an everyday catcher, but using him as a designated hitter helps him get into games and show off his strength: hitting.

With Severino playing well, Rutschman assumed to be the catcher of the future, and other backup options at catcher like Austin Wynns and Jesus Sucre at Triple-A Norfolk, Elias may try to sell Sisco to teams in-need of a young catcher. Sisco doesn’t seem ready to be a starting catcher in the majors as of now. Maybe being the backup on a contending team with a respected veteran catcher could do wonders for Sisco’s career.

3. Pedro Severino

Speaking of catchers, instead of trading away a player who came up in the farm system, the Orioles may use a different approach with their catchers and move Pedro Severino. Severino came over to the Orioles from the Nationals late in Spring Training, but he’s put together a solid season and owns the third-highest batting average on the club (.280).

Even though he makes a head-scratching mistake behind the dish every once in a while, he plays with fire and seems to be enjoying his time in Baltimore. Severino stated in a MASN interview that the Nationals didn’t emphasize Severino’s hitting nearly as much as the Orioles do now. He’s certainly reaped the benefits of the increased attention given towards his hitting.

Like Sisco, I don’t think other teams will see Severino as an everyday catcher, but he could land on a contender and split time like Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley did in 2014. An injury on a contending team involving a catcher is another scenario that could lead to Severino leaving town. Again, the return package won’t be large, but the addition of Rutschman to the farm system leads me to believe that Sisco or Severino could be gone by August.

4. Renato Nunez

The Orioles have an abundance of first base/designated hitter-type players on their roster, including Renato Nunez, Chris Davis, and Trey Mancini, who’s currently stuck filling a part-time outfield role. There’s Ryan Mountcastle at Triple-A Norfolk, who seems to be one of the names in Baltimore’s pipeline who has the chance to get called up by season’s end. And I didn’t even mention Mark Trumbo (injured list).

With all of these guys rotating at-bats in the lineup, it’s safe to assume that Elias will try to trade at least one of them. Davis won’t be moved due to his contract, and Trumbo has yet to play this season. The chances of that happening anytime soon aren’t promising either. In a recent interview, Elias called Mancini “an integral part of the team” but then mentiond that the Orioles will listen to all offers as stated earlier.

I don’t see Elias moving Mancini given how productive he is in the current Orioles lineup and due to him having years of club control left before he enters free agency. That leaves Nunez and Mountcastle, and between the two I think Nunez is the easy favorite. He’s one home run behind Mancini for the team lead (16) and has shown the ability to take over a game with his bat.

Nunez best fitting into a lineup as a designated hitter could limit the teams interested in him. But with how crowded Baltimore’s lineup is with players like Nunez, I think it makes sense for Elias to see if there’s a fit.

5. Jonathan Villar

The Orioles acquired Jonathan Villar in the trade that sent Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers, and it’s possible that Villar could be dealt in a trade again this season. Villar currently ranks sixth on the team in batting average (.247), second in hits behind Mancini (74), fourth in home runs (9), first in walks (26), and first in stolen bases (15).

While Villar’s bat has been solid, his fielding has left a lot to be desired. Too often Villar has made errant throws, let balls get by him or out of his glove, and committed preventable errors. He’s made some very nice defensive plays, but the mistakes occur more often than you would like for a starting infielder.

Villar certainly struggles with his glove at times, but he’s capable of handling the load that comes with being a regular at shortstop or second base. He’s a serviceable infielder with plenty of starting experience in the majors. When you add in his speed, there will be teams calling interested in adding Villar to the top or bottom of their lineup.  

Honorable Mentions

Trey Mancini

Even if Elias plans on keeping Mancini around for the foreseeable future, that doesn’t mean that some team won’t come calling and offer a package of players to the Orioles that Elias can’t refuse. It would certainly make the fanbase mad and the Orioles would suffer without their best player, but if Elias is offered a top prospect for Mancini he may not have a choice but to pull the trigger and take the heat from Birdland.

Dylan Bundy

He will never be the pitcher the Orioles hoped he would be when the team took him fourth overall in the 2011 draft, but he’s improved lately and appears to be finding success when mixing in his secondary pitches more. Bundy’s outing in Seattle on Thursday marked the first time in 10 starts that he allowed more than three runs. Pitching past five innings is still a struggle, but like Casher there’s a chance that other teams may see Bundy as a bullpen piece. When you factor in the current state of the Orioles rotation, trading Bundy better yield a respectable return.

Shawn Armstrong, Mychal Givens or Miguel Castro

Both Mychal Givens and Miguel Castrocarry ERA’s above 5, but that’s still among the best in Baltimore’s bullpen behind Shawn Armstrong who sits at 3.00 since joining the Birds. Almost all contending teams look for bullpen help in July. These three relievers all have plenty of major league experience and they have not dealt with injuries recently. That could be enough for some general managers to show interest.