Rockies acquire right-hander reliever Mychal Givens to bolster back of bullpen

In a move designed to prop up its bullpen for a possible playoff run, the Rockies on Sunday acquired veteran right-hander Mychal Givens from the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for prospects Tyler Nevin and Terrin Vavra, plus a player to be named later, the Rockies announced.

Givens, 30, the Orioles’ second-round pick in 2009 as a shortstop, was converted to a pitcher and arrived in the majors in late 2015 to join the Baltimore bullpen. He is effective against right-handed batters and throws a 96-98 mph fastball, complemented by a hard slider.

“He’s a proven big-league relief pitcher who will definitely help us,” manager Bud Black said Sunday after San Diego beat the Rockies 13-2, scoring eight runs and hitting four home runs off the bullpen. “We’re excited to have him. I know the guys in the clubhouse were excited to see the name. He’s a good one. We’ll use him in the back end of the game to help us win. He’s done that in the past.”

Though Givens faces a long travel day from the East Coast, there is a chance he would be available to pitch for the Rockies Monday night against the Padres at Coors Field.

Givens, who’s had up-and-down seasons with the Orioles and spent some time as a closer, has not had a save chance in 2020, but has been used as a set-up man. He’s been very effective in that role, allowing only two runs in 13 innings with 19 strikeouts and a 1.000 WHIP. In his career with the Orioles, Givens is 20-17 with a 3.32 ERA, 129 walks and 406 strikeouts across 296 appearances.

“This isn’t the first time that we’ve actually asked on Mychal Givens over the past few years,” Rockies general manager Jeff Bridich said. “What he has done in the past fits into our (plans for) later innings. There’s a lot of experience there, a lot of production.

“The numbers, everybody can see. But the way that he does it is a little bit different in terms of his mechanics, which is intriguing here (in Colorado). We’re excited to bring this caliber of a pitcher into the fold. The fact he is around at least through next year for us was a factor as well in terms of desire for his services.”

The Rockies lost right-hander Scott Oberg, their best reliever, for the season because of blood clots in his right arm. And veteran closer Wade Davis, coming off a bad 2019 season, remains on the injured list with a strained right shoulder. While some relievers have performed well this season, most notably right-hander Daniel Bard, Colorado’s bullpen had an overall ERA of 5.81 entering Sunday afternoon’s game.

Nevin, 23, a first-round pick (38th overall) by the Rockies in 2015 and the son of former major leaguer Phil Nevin, has a career .286/.362/.441 in five minor league seasons playing first base, third base and left field.

Vavra, 23, has played primarily shortstop. He was named the South Atlantic League MVP with low-A Asheville last season after hitting .318 with 79 runs scored, 10 home runs, 32 doubles, one triple and 52 RBIs. Vavra was selected by Colorado in the third round of the 2018 draft out of the University of Minnesota.

“I don’t know what the other offers were from other teams,” Bridich said when asked about giving up two highly-rated prospects. “I do know that (Givens) was popular in terms of this (trade) deadline. You add an all-star type of pitcher, generally, you’ve got to pay a high premium.”

On Deck

Padres RHP Garrett Richards (1-2, 5.17 ERA) at Rockies RHP German Marquez (2-4, 4.50)
7:40 p.m. Monday, Coors Field
TV: AT&T SportsNet, ESPN
Radio: KOA 850 AM/94.1 AM

Marquez, Colorado’s opening-day starter, needs to start pitching like a No. 1. He’s coming off a so-so performance at Arizona — three runs on six hits over five innings. In the start prior to that, he got rocked for 10 runs on 10 hits over five innings. Marquez is 1-2 with a 6.87 ERA in three starts at home this season. He is 3-0 with a 4.91 ERA in five games (four starts) vs. the Padres at Coors Field. Richards is something of an emergency starter, as his last start came during a doubleheader Thursday against the Mariners. He gave up six runs on four hits and two walks while striking out none over two-thirds of an inning. Richards threw only 17 of his 33 pitches for strikes and gave up a pair of home runs.

Trending: Raimel Tapia went 2-for-5 Sunday from the leadoff spot. After starting the season 2-for-16 at the plate, he’s started 16 of the Rockies’ last 17 games since Aug. 11, slashing .361/.466/.443 with a double, two triples and seven RBIs.

At issue: Right-handed reliever Jairo Dias saw his ERA rise to 4.97 after giving up two runs on three hits in one inning Sunday. Right-handers are batting .464 against him (13-for-28).

Pitching Probables
Tuesday: Giants RHP Kevin Gausman (1-2, 4.54) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (2-3, 5.45), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM
Wednesday: Giants RHP Logan Webb (2-3, 4.75) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (2-1, 3.43), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM
Thursday: Off