O's net Minors RHP for Galvis, keep stars

July 30th, 2021

While last-minute, blockbuster trades were executed around baseball, the Orioles held on to most of their trade chips by Friday’s 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, dealing shortstop Freddy Galvis and cash to the Phillies in their lone big league deal. The Orioles acquired Minor League right-hander Tyler Burch from Philadelphia in return; they also received cash considerations from the Rays for reliever Shawn Armstrong earlier in the day in an additional, minor trade.

The Orioles did not trade Trey Mancini, John Means, Cedric Mullins, Tanner Scott or Paul Fry, though sources said the team was considering potential deals involving relievers in the minutes leading up to Friday’s Deadline. The team also claimed left-hander from the Astros, optioning him to Triple-A Norfolk after it became clear Scott and Fry would stay put. It resulted in a relatively quiet Deadline for the Orioles compared to the rest of the league. 

“We were very mindful of the fact that a lot of our best players that were in demand are players that are not pending free agents,” Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said. “They are players that are young and talented and we like, and they'd have future years with this club and project a part of this club when we hope to be a playoff contender. So we were very judicious and mindful of that as we approached this Deadline.”

To that end, Elias said the team did not engage in serious talks about Means or Mullins, who are both under club control through at least 2024. As for Mancini, Elias said “the future is very bright” and that he hopes Mancini remains in Baltimore “for as long as possible,” but stopped short of using the word extension when asked about the possibility directly. Mancini is a free agent after 2022.

“Being the special person that he is, he's back to baseball now, and he's gonna keep getting better and building off this,” Elias said. “And I can't wait to see him do that. I can't wait to see him do that with us. I hope he's here as long as possible. Ultimately, we're going to kind of take things as they come … and look at stuff and keep talking. But you know, he's a very special part of this team. And he's gonna continue to be so, and we're happy about that.”

Signed to a $1.5 million free-agent contract last winter, Galvis hit .249 with nine home runs and a .720 OPS in 72 games as Baltimore’s everyday shortstop before straining his right quad June 26. He began a rehab assignment this week, and was expected to return to game action by early August before Friday’s trade. The move activated the $250,000 trade bonus in Galvis’ contract, and made him the second veteran shortstop flipped for prospects by Elias in as many years (the other: José Iglesias). It also gives Ramón Urías a more extended run as the club’s everyday shortstop in the short-term.

“He was everything we could’ve asked for and more,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Galvis, citing his performance and leadership in the clubhouse. “I thanked him for what he did and wish him the best of luck. I’d love to catch him again someday because he is a true pleasure.”

Their reward is Burch, a soon-to-be 24-year-old right-hander signed out of Lewis-Clark State College in 2019. He reached High-A Jersey Shore this season, pitching to a 2.45 ERA and 0.818 WHIP in eight relief appearances. Burch piled up 18 strikeouts in 11 innings at High-A, and 49 in 29 1/3 total innings between High-A and Low-A Clearwater.

“He had a big stuff jump after the shutdown,” Elias said. “He’s working with two plus pitches, one a really good, hard breaking ball. … It’s a nice arm for the system.”

Asked how close he feels the Orioles’ window of contention is, Elias said “it’s getting closer,” despite “continuing to be daunted by what I see in our division -- there are super teams on both sides of the league, some very loaded rosters. We have a long way to go.”

He characterized holding onto as many chips as he did Friday as a continuation toward those goals, given the growth showed by each this season and how the Orioles were under no obligation to move any.

Scott (3.07 ERA, 33 percent K rate) and Fry (3.49 ERA, 33 percent K rate), in particular, aren’t free agents until after 2024 and were part of a top-heavy relief market that didn’t get going until the Cubs dealt closer Craig Kimbrel to the White Sox in the Deadline’s final hour.

“We like what they do for us now,” Elias said. “We like what they do for us in the future. We’ll take a look at things next winter, next summer and continue to assess things and we hope to keep getting better. It was not a low bar for us to trade any of these guys.”