By Mike Patt @mikepatt91
Hello sports fans, and welcome back to the IE Sports Radio Blog. We are just over half way through the 2021 MLB season, with all star game about a week away. That means that the MLB trade deadline is quickly approaching, and most teams have positioned themselves as either buyers or sellers on the market. One team that is firmly a seller is the Baltimore Orioles. After getting pummeled by Toronto tonight, Baltimore has a fantastic (note the sarcasm) 28-58 record. That puts them in last place in their division (16 games behind fourth place NY) and slightly ahead of Arizona with the second worst record in the league. Now, the rumor mill has been running rampant for some time now, and numerous names have been thrown out there. Some will be traded, but there is a collection of guys who I personally HOPE get to stick around. Here is my wish list of players that I would not like to see traded who have come up in rumors.
OF Anthony Santander
Santander has been one of the hottest names on this list, and understandably so. He is a very good player both offensively and defensively, and the Orioles are loaded with high-end outfield prospects in their farm system. He is also young with a few years of team control left, which means he will fetch quite a return on the trade market. This is me being selfish, but I would rather keep the guy who has produced in the majors already versus guys who have potential. An outfield trio of Cedric Mullens, Austin Hayes, and Santander could be one of the best in baseball in the next few years. No disrespect to DJ Stewart of Yusnial Diaz, but this would be my pick.
1B/DH Trey Mancini
The Orioles are in a tough situation here. Mancini is the leader of the team, and his battle with colon cancer last year and the connection between him and the organization/teammates is undeniable. Facts are facts however, and there are a few to consider. Baltimore is still some years away from contending, and Mancini will be an expensive arbitration next year and a free agent in 2023. They could get a nice haul in a trade this year, but would get less in 2022 because of the pending free agency and nothing if he walks. It seems the decision is trade now or make him a long term piece. Given who is coming up through the minors and his proximity in position to Santander (DH/corner outfield), I doubt the team keeps both guys. If they do, there will have to be some shuffling of the prospects for it all to make sense.
RPs Paul Fry and Tanner Scott
I’m lumping these two together because they play the same position and probably offer similar value on the trade market. Based on the team’s pitching so far this season, you would not think any pitchers would draw interest. Yet these two have come up many times as younger relief options who could come in and add some punch to a contender’s bullpen. My take here is that Baltimore is inconsistent at developing pitching. Any time they have guys who are playing well on the mound and under team control for several years, they should not give them up. They will likely get a good return in a trade, so odds are at least one will be gone at the deadline (likely Fry).
SP John Means
Now we come to the big one. Means has been the Orioles best starting pitcher since the start of the 2019 season. He has a track record of consistent performance, an all-star game appearance, and a no hitter on his resume. That amount of success in such a short time combined with the fact that he is only entering arbitration year 1 next year will have teams willing to give up the farm for him. His recent injury will cause some concern and likely tamper and trade expectations. Baltimore would be wise not to trade, given the lack of quality starting options in the minors outside of Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall. If everything goes right, I believe the trio of Means, Rodriguez, and Hall would give Baltimore it’s best pitching staff in recent memory. If not, Means will still have trade value over the next few years.
Two guys mentioned in the rumors that I do not care as much about are SS Freddy Galvis and 3B Maikel Franco. Both signed cheap one year contracts before the season and are not part of the long term plan, plus there is no sentimental connection. I also decided not to give attention to the Cedric Mullens rumors as they are stupid. Yes the value of the return would be great but there is no reason to trade your one All-Star who is so young. Realistically this team is a big seller that is three plus years away from contention, so I do not expect them to keep all five of the guys I listed above. I can only hope that they keep at least some of them as pieces of what could be a really good team once their young guys make the jump to the big leagues. Thank you all for reading, and we will see you next time at IE Sports Radio; your direct feed for ALL that is sports.