O's deals for Givens, Milone net 5 players

Baltimore adds 2 prospects to its Top 30 list, 3 PTBNL in trades with Rox, Braves

August 31st, 2020

The Orioles, suddenly, have a lot of player naming to do. The club swung a pair of deals one day before the Trade Deadline, sending longtime reliever to the Rockies and left-handed starter to the Braves for prospect packages on Sunday.

When the dust settles, the rebuilding Orioles will find themselves with a five-player haul: They acquired infielders Terrin Vavra and Tyler Nevin, plus a player to be named later, from the Rockies for Givens, and two players to be named later from the Braves for Milone. They had previously acquired one PTBNL from the Marlins for Richard Bleier last month.

The big league team also got a youth infusion on what was a roster-altering day, recalling No. 14 prospect and reinstating No. 15 prospect from the 10-day injured list in corresponding moves. Harvey had been sidelined since the end of Summer Camp by a right forearm strain; he’s already assumed at least some of the late-inning opportunities in Givens’ absence, allowing the game-tying run in the eighth inning of Sunday’s 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays.

Akin is effectively taking Milone’s spot in the rotation, scheduled for his first MLB start Monday vs. Toronto.

“As we’ve said all along, we have some broad strategic objectives that go beyond 2020,” executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said. “The good news for us is we’ve got young players on the way.”

As for the players to be named later, those will be finalized and become official this winter. The reason is 2020. This year, teams can technically only trade players who are part of their 60-man player pools (assigned either to the big league team or the alternate training site). Clubs are permitted to include players to be named later in trades, however, meaning the Orioles are likely to receive organizational prospects not currently in Atlanta and Colorado’s pools in these deals.

Nevin and Vavra were both part of the Rockies' 60-man player pool, which is why they can be named at this time. Nevin, the son of former slugger and current Yankees third-base coach Phil Nevin, also gets added to Baltimore’s 40-man roster. Vavra and Nevin were ranked Colorado’s No. 7 and No. 14 prospects per MLB Pipeline, respectively; they slot in at No. 12 and No. 22 in the Orioles’ system.

Both Vavra, a middle infielder by trade, and Nevin, a corner-type, are bat-first players. Vavra was a third-round Draft pick out of Minnesota in 2018 who walked as much as he struck out last season in Class A ball, posting a .899 OPS at the level. Nevin was the Rockies’ supplemental round Draft pick in 2015 (38th overall) whose numbers plateaued at Double-A in 2019, though he did manage 13 homers.

From MLB Pipeline’s most recent analysis of Vavra:
"Vavra’s natural feel to hit stands out more than anything else. He works counts and knows the strike zone extremely well, walking as much as he struck out in 2019. The switch-hitter manipulates the bat head and doesn’t get fooled, consistently squaring up the baseball and sending line drives to all fields, with more power coming from the left side of the plate so far.”

And Nevin:
“Nevin has used outstanding plate discipline and an ability to make consistent hard contact to hit for average at every stop before the 2019 season. He didn't drive the ball as consistently last year, with fewer line drives, but he still showed glimpses of being able to use all fields and did tie his career high in home runs. He still drew a ton of walks and kept his strikeouts down, which should help him get back on track in the future.”

Baltimore’s longest tenured pitcher going into Sunday, Givens came of age as part the great Oriole bullpens of the mid-to-late 2010s, emerging as one of the game’s best right-handed setup men. He struggled in an expanded, sometimes-closer role in 2019 but pitched to a 1.38 ERA in his first 12 appearances this season.

All told, Givens posted a 3.32 ERA and 30 percent strikeout rate in 296 games over the past six seasons for the Orioles. Elias said he had fielded calls about the righty since the day he was hired in 2018.

“I told him today he will be an Oriole for life,” Elias said. “He’s going to be part of this organization well after he retires. He’s meant a lot to this organization on and off the field for a really long time, and we’re going to miss him.”

Signed to a Minor League deal in February, Milone pitched his way into the Orioles’ rotation this summer and became their most consistent starter, going 1-3 with a 3.99 ERA across six starts. Milone was also striking out 9.5 batters per nine this year, a career high, with just a 3.1 percent walk rate.

He emerged as a trade candidate by pitching to a 3.08 ERA in five August starts, all of which lasted at least five innings. Atlanta has been looking for rotation help since losing ace Mike Soroka for the season to an Achilles injury.