2nd-round Pick Givens, Orioles Agree On Deal

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

Notebook

August 18, 2009|By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec | Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec,dan.connolly@baltsun.com and Jeff.Zrebiec@baltsun.com

The Orioles went down to the last few hours but have reached terms on an $800,000 deal with their second-round pick, high school shortstop Mychal Givens.

Givens, reached by phone 90 minutes before the midnight deadline, said he was eschewing a scholarship to Oklahoma State to sign a contract with the Orioles.

Thirty minutes before the midnight deadline, Orioles amateur scouting director Joe Jordan confirmed that the deal is done.

"This is kind of the icing on the cake for me," Jordan said. "We had a good draft at the start of the day, and this finishes it. We wanted to get a shortstop and we felt like we got a good one. This kind of completes things. A lot of talent is going into the system in this draft."

Givens, 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, hit .389 this season for Plant High in Tampa, Fla., with four home runs, 31 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. He is expected to undergo a physical in Baltimore in the next few days.

"It was a tough decision," he said. "It's good for me and my family. I can spend another year around here."

Givens, who was considered one of top high school players in the country heading into his senior season, dropped to 54th overall but apparently was seeking first-round money.

"I can't wait to get to the big town of Baltimore and meet the fans and have support of the fans," said Givens, who wouldn't have been eligible again for the draft until June 2011 if he hadn't signed Monday.

Jordan cut off negotiations last week, but they resumed over the weekend.

"It was just challenging," Jordan said. "I don't know if it was any tougher than anything else. It became apparent to us several days ago that this was going to go down to the end. And I had to put a negative spin on things and then try and hopefully create a situation where we could get it done."

Givens is expected to stay near his home in Tampa and begin instructional league this fall in nearby Sarasota, and have spring training there, as well. Being able to stay close at home with his 16-year-old brother and 14-year old sister for several more months instead of going to Oklahoma also played into his decision, he said.

The Orioles have spent a little under $8.8 million in signing bonuses for their 2009 draft class - believed to be the second-highest total in club history.

"We are investing in the draft," Jordan said.

Overall, it appears that Jordan and his staff were able to sign 29 of their 50 picks, including 25 of their top 30.

"The one thing that I will say is that Joe's strategy right from the start ... with the rules the way they are now, if you don't sign one of your first three rounders, you just defer that," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said earlier in the day. "You get that pick again next year. The one thing that we did not want to have happen to us was to leave a lot of the money that we earmarked for that process unspent. Joe's taken care of that with two pretty big signings with [Michael] Ohlman (11th round) and Cameron Coffey (22nd round)."

Albers down; Mickolio up

After Monday's game, the Orioles demoted struggling reliever Matt Albers to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled Kam Mickolio. It is the third time this season that Albers was demoted and the third stint in the big leagues this year for Mickolio, who is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 35 games for Norfolk. He hasn't allowed a run in four appearances for the Orioles this season.

Albers, who allowed five earned runs on four hits and a walk in the Angels' nine-run 13th inning on Sunday, has a 5.85 ERA and has surrendered 17 earned runs over his last six innings.

"I don't see a whole lot of ground balls," Trembley said. "He's a ground-ball pitcher. I don't see a whole lot of finish and pitching down. The ball is elevated and there's a lot of fly-ball hits, which, I think, he's getting real spread out on the mound. I think he's getting real long, he's getting underneath his pitches. I'm concerned about it."

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