More on Mychal Givens returning to Orioles

The Orioles’ bingo card is beginning to fill up.

A veteran starting pitcher, a left-handed hitter for second base and the corner outfield, left-handed bats on minor league deals, and now a veteran reliever with last night’s news of the agreement with Mychal Givens.

Another starter and a backup catcher must be found. I can confirm the reported interest in left-hander Rich Hill. I was told about a meeting with the Orioles. But I haven’t heard a word about any catchers.

A left-handed hitting first baseman/designated hitter also could be added, unless the club is satisfied with Lewin Díaz and Franchy Cordero. Díaz is on the 40-man roster and Cordero signed a split contract.

The bullpen wasn’t billed as a priority during the Winter Meetings, but the Orioles intended to sign a veteran. I didn’t think a reunion with Mychal Givens was in the works, but here we are, writing and reading about him again.

The Orioles could announce the signing later today if Givens is done taking his physical. The holidays can be a complication, but we haven't entered the week between Christmas and New Years.

Mike Elias voiced his affection for Givens after the trade, but he hasn’t been the type to bring back players. They aren't forgotten, but they usually stay gone.

Givens is the exception.

Should we leave a candle burning for Dylan Bundy?

I get the logic with Givens, who’s got a track record, is good for 50-plus appearances, is a strikeout guy – averaging 10.6 per nine innings – holds right-handed hitters to a .200/.277/.335 line and can strengthen the bridge to closer Félix Bautista while also spelling him if needed. Paying $3 million, with a $6 million mutual option for 2024, isn't outrageous. And it's wise to offer protection for a rotation that's still going to be light in proven arms.

The Jorge López trade pushed Bautista into the ninth and weakened the setup behind him. Guys were stretched or forced into roles that weren’t as comfortable. Cracks developed.

The unit was surprisingly good, ranking ninth in the majors with a 3.49 ERA after smacking the bottom in the last two full seasons. Givens should make it better, at least on paper, when combined with Bautista, Cionel Pérez, Dillon Tate and Bryan Baker.

DL Hall could be a weapon in any capacity if he isn’t starting.

Keegan Akin and Joey Krehbiel faltered down the stretch but had significant periods of success. Manager Brandon Hyde also could use any of the pitchers who fail in their bids to start, with current candidates including Austin Voth, Spenser Watkins, Mike Baumann and Bruce Zimmermann.

Rule 5 pick Andrew Politi will try to stay on the 40-man roster and receive a legitimate opportunity in camp. Bringing in Givens didn’t exactly improve his odds.

Someone must be removed from the 40-man to create room for Givens, who posted a 2.66 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings with the Cubs this year before they traded him to the Mets. Givens has a career 3.52 ERA and 1.093 WHIP in 162 appearances at Camden Yards.

Here’s the current 40-man:

Keegan Akin
Bryan Baker
Mike Baumann
Félix Bautista
Kyle Bradish
Yennier Cano
Noah Denoyer
Kyle Gibson
Logan Gillaspie
DL Hall
Seth Johnson
Joey Krehbiel
Dean Kremer
John Means
Cionel Pérez
Andrew Politi
Grayson Rodriguez
Drew Rom
Dillon Tate
Chris Vallimont
Nick Vespi
Austin Voth
Spenser Watkins
Tyler Wells
Bruce Zimmermann

Adley Rutschman

Lewin Díaz
Adam Frazier
Gunnar Henderson
Jorge Mateo
Ryan Mountcastle
Tyler Nevin
Joey Ortiz
Ramón Urías
Terrin Vavra

Austin Hays
Ryan McKenna
Cedric Mullins
Anthony Santander
Kyle Stowers

Means and Johnson eventually will be transferred to the 60-day injured list.

Díaz already has been claimed off waivers multiple times during the offseason and knows how it feels to be vulnerable.

I don't know whether Nevin, acquired in the Givens trade to Colorado, is on shaky ground while being blocked at the infield and outfield corners. At least four pitchers jump out at me as possible DFAs.

Perhaps we'll find out today.

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