Latest on Orioles as trade deadline nears

The baseball weekend featured multiple trades consummated by teams that aren’t based in Baltimore.

So what, if anything, is happening with the Orioles?

They have two days until they reach the deadline. They’re trying to follow up on the Andrew Cashner deal on July 13. And Mychal Givens remains the biggest chip.

The Orioles are in talks with multiple clubs regarding Givens, who earned the four-out save Saturday night in Anaheim after allowing a run in the ninth and leaving the bases loaded in an 8-7 win. He surrendered the walk-off home run yesterday to Matt Thaiss.

Givens has been scored upon in his last three outings after stringing together six scoreless in a row. Teams can debate whether he’s closer material, but there are a handful interested in him in whatever role.

Infielder Jonathan Villar also is a possibility to be moved. The Orioles have talked to the Cubs about him, according to an industry source, but there doesn’t appear to be a match.

Villar-Scrambles-Back-to-Base-Gray-Sidebar.jpgVillar can be a fit on a club seeking a middle infielder, though it would have to accept his daring on the basepaths that occasionally backfires. He began yesterday tied with the Rays’ Tommy Pham for most times picked off with three and also has been caught stealing on six occasions. However, his 21 steals were tied for sixth in the majors and he increased his total to 22 yesterday.

The 22 steals are one more than Villar accumulated last season with the Orioles. Manny Machado was the leader in 2017 with nine. Joey Rickard led in 2016 with four.

There just hasn’t been room for steals on station-to-station, longball lovin’ teams.

No Orioles player has topped 22 steals since Nate McLouth swiped 30 in 2013.

Villar adds a nice element. But you can’t tame him. He’s going to take risks and proceed without caution.

The bat is heating up at the right time.

Villar went 0-for-15 in Arizona, but had 10 hits with two home runs and nine runs scored in four games against the Angels. He was switched from second base to designated hitter Saturday due to leg soreness, but played shortstop yesterday.

Will the Orioles trade Trey Mancini? Will they at least consider it?

Mancini has been on the table like everyone else. The Orioles never indicated to other teams that he was untouchable. But I’m hearing again that they’re likely to hold onto him.

The idea of trading Mancini can be revisited in the offseason or at next year’s deadline. They can consider an extension, though spending isn’t in the rebuild blueprint.

Mancini wants to stay with the Orioles. He wants to live through this process and play for a contender in Baltimore. He should be able to rest easy that he’s sticking around in 2019 unless there’s a drastic and unexpected shift in plans.

Scouts are checking on Renato Núñez, who’s having a career year and trying to prove that he can do more than serve as a designated hitter. Maybe the Orioles want him at third and first base because they crave flexibility. Maybe they’re also trying to showcase him for teams that don’t want a DH-only type of player who’s gained a reputation for below-average work in the field.

Núñez is an asset for the Orioles if he stays. He’s proven to be a nice acquisition by former executive Dan Duquette, often criticized for “dumpster diving.” Duquette also is responsible for taking outfielder Anthony Santander in the Rule 5 draft and trading for Villar, Richard Bleier and Paul Fry. The Orioles drafted Mancini, John Means and Stevie Wilkerson under his watch.

The cupboard wasn’t bare. Duquette inherited some successes from Andy MacPhail, most notably in the form of trades, and Mike Elias did the same with Duquette.

Anyway, the Orioles would be selling high on Núñez and obviously are willing to move him in the right deal. But he also fits on this roster, especially with Mark Trumbo at least temporarily shut down again while on his rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk. There isn’t a logjam at DH.

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