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If Trey Mancini and Mychal Givens are next to be traded, the Orioles have shown what they’ll be asking in return

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 16: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning at Comerica Park on September 16, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 16: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates after hitting a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers during the sixth inning at Comerica Park on September 16, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) (Duane Burleson/Getty)

Without the spectacle of the winter meetings to pull them in every direction, the Orioles returned home last week for the Winter Warmup fan event with a few outstanding offseason tasks before the holiday.

Their wish list on one front is probably a bit more significant than which non-roster invitees they can get to come to camp.

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Though it was only a topic with the media early in the meetings, with things such as Chris Davis and the Rule 5 draft taking over late, the Orioles still seem motivated to find a trade partner for Mychal Givens and even Trey Mancini.

Even if the front office had to explain the trades of Jonathan Villar and Dylan Bundy earlier this month, it’s not as if the mild backlash was enough to dissuade a further teardown.

Givens and Mancini could make an estimated $9 million total in salary arbitration next season, according to projections from MLBTradeRumors.com. The Orioles’ offseason moves so far don’t make for a team that’s looking to take advantage of the talents of the team’s top reliever and position player.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, general manager Mike Elias, and assistant general manager Sig Mejdal speak to fans at Orioles Winter Warm-Up.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde, general manager Mike Elias, and assistant general manager Sig Mejdal speak to fans at Orioles Winter Warm-Up. (Baltimore Orioles/Baltimore Orioles)

Mancini, 27, had a career-best 35 home runs with an .899 OPS last year in a breakout season that was worthy of All-Star consideration. Givens still possesses the electric stuff of early in his career, even if his home run rate spiked last season and he struggled in the ninth inning.

Givens is two years from free agency and Mancini three. Bundy had two years left with the club, too, but executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said acquiring younger pitchers for both Bundy and Villar better aligned with the Orioles’ competitive window.

Such statements almost assure that Givens remains on the trade block, and projecting arbitration salary increases for someone who will make nearly $6 million in the first of three such years means that Mancini will be an expensive player by then.

That’s no justification for trading him, but it is in line with what the organization is thinking in terms of competing again.

As it stands, the overall markets aren’t moving quickly for either relievers or corner bats. There’s still plenty of outfield help available in free agency, and relievers aren’t moving off the board too quickly, though Avisaíl García, Sergio Romo and Joe Smith all signed Monday to perhaps spur the Orioles and potential trade partners into action.

Teams have continued to do homework on the Orioles’ top players since the winter meetings ended. Teams who haven’t fallen in love with some of their recent pitching draftees could have more incentive try and get one over on an Orioles front office focused on one specific thing.

The Orioles already acquired five pitchers for that far-off future, with none having pitched in the high minors yet. It’s fair to assume they’ll be seeking more of that in these potential trades. Between their focus on a specific kind of pitcher on the third day of this year’s MLB draft, in which the Orioles’ model spat out players with live fastballs and high-spin breaking balls who tore up short-season ball, and these trades, it’s clear that they’re focusing on acquiring what they know works and building on that.

Elias said last week that it’s all being done with a purpose, thanks to the data available from systems such as TrackMan and the team’s interpretation of what that all means.

“It does give us a little more of a precise idea of what we’re dealing with with a pitcher’s stuff, and whether it sort of fits the model that we’re looking for,” Elias said. “The guys that we’re bringing in, the guys from the Angels, we have a really specific idea of what their stuff looks like and how we think it’s going to play. … I don’t know that we need to feel like we’re just throwing as many bodies against the wall as we did five, six years ago.”

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