BALTIMORE -- For months now, the Orioles have made it clear that their actions at the upcoming Trade Deadline could mirror last season’s, the club open and willing to trade assets with an eye toward the future. Andrew Cashner, traded to Boston on Saturday, was the first domino to fall. At least a few more appear poised to follow.
Of the candidates, two heroes of Wednesday’s 9-2 come-from-behind win over the Nationals at Camden Yards approach the Deadline on different footing. To part with Trey Mancini, who homered twice and sparked the Orioles' go-ahead rally in the seventh, the O's will need to be overwhelmed. But they’ll listen to offers on their best everyday player, whose stock has skyrocketed during his breakout 2019 campaign.
On the flip side, Mychal Givens, who recorded the game’s final four outs for his eighth save, seems primed to be coveted in a thin reliever market, as almost every contending team looks to add a back-end arm or two. Givens has been scouted heavily this week, with the Phillies and D-backs among the clubs to send representatives to Oriole Park.
“My job is to go out there and be a pitcher,” Givens said. “Been with the organization for 10 years. I bleed orange and black. … I’m an Oriole right now.”
Both Givens and Mancini are well aware that soon may change. And the events of Wednesday figure to do little to diminish the value of either.
The Orioles -- held to little besides Mancini’s fourth-inning solo homer off Erick Fedde for six innings -- were trailing by a run when Mancini worked a leadoff walk off Wander Suero in the seventh. Then, an offense that’s sagged in the second half broke out, tagging four Washington relievers for eight runs over the final two frames. Mancini came around to score a critical run in the seventh, then provided insurance via a towering two-run tater off Javy Guerra in the eighth.
“Just a really nice job on the mound and a nice job of tack-on runs for our guys,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
In the eighth, Givens tamped down a two-on, two-out rally to secure the two-run lead the Orioles formed on run-scoring hits from Anthony Santander and Chris Davis in the bottom of the seventh. Tasked with handling the overwhelming bulk of Baltimore’s high-leverage situations, Givens is pitching to a career-worst 4.34 ERA this year. But many of those runs are wrapped up in a nightmarish five-game stretch in late May; since, Givens owns a 1.98 ERA over his past 12 appearances. He is under club control through 2021.
“He is not a guy you want to face and be down in the count early,” Hyde said. “When Mike gets guys out early in the count and attacks guys and gets ahead, that’s why he’s having success as of late.”
For Mancini, the home runs were Nos. 18 and 19, his first long balls since June 23 and his first multihomer game of the season. His 19th was a moonshot, with a 43-degree launch angle and 6-percent hit probability, according to Statcast, both the highest and least likely of Mancini’s career.
“Off the bat, I didn’t think it was going out,” Mancini said. “Then it kind of kept going … my heart kind of stopped when they reviewed it, too.”
When confirmed, it helped seal the win for right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, who held Washington to one run over 4 1/3 strong innings behind starter Aaron Brooks, giving Ynoa his first victory since Sept. 21, 2017.
Even more than Givens, Mancini's contract status is integral to his trade value; he's under team control for three more seasons after 2019, and not arbitration eligible until this winter. And unlike Givens or Jonathan Villar or Dylan Bundy, the Orioles more valuable assets, he's having a career year -- slashing .285/.346/.520 through 89 games.
“I know I’m supposed to say this, but this is really how I feel about it: It’s something completely out of my control and you just can’t let it affect you,” said Mancini, who was often the subject of trade rumors during his prospect days. “It’s nothing that I thought about, I can confidently say that. I think a few years ago it would’ve gotten to me a bit, and I’d be up at night wondering if I have to move my whole life to some city.
"I’ve said this the whole time -- I really want to stay here, and I hope I do. But baseball is a business. Whatever they think is best for the Orioles is the decision they’re going to make. I hope I’m going to stay here, but you never know. It’s a crazy business.”