Source: #Indians and #Orioles have discussed Mychal Givens, among numerous players, in recent trade talks. Cleveland is prioritizing controllable relievers comfortable with appearances of 4+ outs, and that describes Givens. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 14, 2018
Based on the Morosi Rumor Wheel, the Indians and Orioles have batted a lot of pretty eyes at each other, and potentially butted heads over the cost of acquiring Manny Machado. Of all the rumors between these two, Givens makes the most sense, and sounds like something this front office would do.
Mychal Givens is a 28-year-old righty with a release point that resembles either sidearm or submarine, depending on how hard you squint and which way you turn your head. While Zach Britton has caught all the headlines for the Orioles bullpen in recent years, Givens has been right there with four straight solid seasons pitching in relief. His strikeout rate has been consistently in the double-digits per nine innings — though walks have always been an issue — and he’s pitched in 74+ innings the past two seasons.
In 2018, despite having the highest ERA of his career to this point (4.40), his FIP is 2.73, the lowest its been since he pitched 30 innings as a rookie in 2015. Givens’ issues are clear, and will likely be solved with simple regression: He’s not stranding enough runners on base. His 65.1 percent left-on-base rate is absurdly low, while he’s given up only one home run this season.
Opposing hitters aren’t exactly killing the ball when runners are on base, either, just hitting enough to get those runs home. They are slashing .213/.352/.322 with runners on against Givens — 16 walks, 19 hits, six doubles, and a single home run in 108 chances.
Unfortunately for Givens, if he comes to Cleveland he’s going to be facing a lot of situations with runners on the base after the starting pitcher gives up an eighth-inning double and is immediately pulled after 112 pitches. That’s just how Tito rolls in 2018. But if the Indians believe these issues are easily fixable — or even not issues at all — trading for Givens is a great investment.
As previously mentioned, Givens is only 28 and just now entering his prime years. He’ll be entering his first year of arbitration in 2019, and won’t be an unrestricted free agent until at least 2022 — plenty of time for the Indians to win in their current window. This is the kind of value play the Indians front office loves, and is similar — but much cheaper — than what they did when they acquired 2.5 years of Andrew Miller back in 2016.