Finally back home from Lake Buena Vista, Fla., where I left my Mickey ears on the nightstand with a tip for housekeeping.
I’ve heard Givens, second baseman Jonathan Schoop and outfielder Trey Mancini referred to as “untouchable” by an executive from outside the organization who attended the Winter Meetings. Everyone has a price, but the Orioles are determined to hold onto the trio and at some point discuss an extension with Schoop’s agent.
Get aggressive and do it now. Schoop can decline with an eye toward free agency in 2020, but make a legitimate effort and not just a lowball opening bid to ignite negotiations. They tend to fizzle and Schoop is a keeper - including his maturity, hustle and how he’s developing into one of the clubhouse leaders.
Someone in the organization pointed out how the Orioles would have been trying to trade Machado at last week’s meetings if he received a Giancarlo Stanton contract a few years ago. Just as the Marlins were doing with Stanton.
I wrote a few days ago that the Orioles liked young right-hander Jordan Hicks in trade talks with the Cardinals, and catcher Carson Kelly also has been discussed. I also should have included pitchers Jack Flaherty and Luke Weaver as additional names that have come up.
The Orioles, for obvious reasons, are trying to get as much as they can for a player of Machado’s caliber. And by “caliber” I refer to both the size of his gun barrels and the high quality of his character. Two meanings.
Caliber. It’s a homonym. Forget it.
(Name the movie)
No one is suggesting that the Orioles are getting every single player they like from the Cardinals for one year of Machado. These are just a bunch of names that have been discussed and the Orioles are figuring out exactly who’s available. It’s all part of the process and why there didn’t figure to be a quick resolution.
They want two top starters who are ready for the majors. I’d take one who immediately can be plugged into the top half and another who’s an elite prospect. And if anyone has a third baseman they can spare, that would be fantastic.
It wouldn’t get any better than Lucas Giolito, Michael Kopech and Yoan Moncada from the White Sox, but you’re dreaming if you think that’s even a remote possibility. And I still don’t understand why the White Sox would consider surrendering any of their top prospects for a potential one-year rental while they’re still rebuilding. It’s never made sense, but they absolutely have been one of the more interested teams.
A rumor surfaced last week that the Orioles were trying to acquire left-hander Danny Duffy from the Royals, which supports executive vice president Dan Duquette’s assertion that he still wants the club to be competitive and isn’t in a full rebuild mode despite the willingness to trade Machado and a key bullpen piece.
It’s a nice thought considering that the club needs a southpaw in the rotation and Duffy owns a 3.73 ERA in seven seasons. But the Orioles again would have to move outside their comfort zone - in terms of players surrendered, not finances - and I’ve been told that the Royals weren’t aggressively shopping him.
I’m not completely dismissing the possibility, but the person I spoke with didn’t seem encouraged by the likelihood of a deal with the Orioles. Interest was confirmed, however, for what it’s worth.
There’s also the matter of Duffy asking on Twitter to be buried a Royal. His loyalty doesn’t preclude him from being traded, but he’d be one unhappy camper.
The Orioles remain in the market for a left-handed hitter and the Astros designated outfielder Preston Tucker for assignment, which should grab their attention.
Tucker, who was Givens’ teammate at H.B. Plant High School in Tampa, spent the entire 2017 season at Triple-A Fresno and batted .250/.333/.465 with 20 doubles, seven triples, 24 home runs and 96 RBIs in 128 games. He’s a career .282/.353/.491 hitter in six minor league seasons, but has batted .219/.274/.403 in 146 major league games.
Tucker is 27 and under team control through 2023. He has another minor league option. Sounds like a guy the Orioles would consider.