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Report: Indians, Orioles discussing Mychal Givens

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The Indians appear to be interested in Orioles right-handed reliever Mychal Givens, per a recent report from MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. Givens is far from the only player the club is interested in acquiring prior to the trade deadline, but as they’re currently eying affordable, multi-inning relievers, he definitely seems to fit the bill.

The 28-year-old right-hander is slated to remain under team control through the 2021 season and has put up some impressive totals over the last three seasons.  This year, however, he appears to be in a rut — entering Saturday’s contest, Givens is sporting a career-worst 4.40 ERA, 2.9 BB/0 and 10.1 SO/0 through his first 47 innings. That may not be as off-putting to the Indians as it would to another team: Their bullpen currently ranks second to last in the league with a cumulative 5.39 ERA and -1.9 fWAR, bested (or worsted) only by the Royals.

As with nearly every other team these days, the Indians are also in on shortstop Manny Machado, and reportedly have feelers out for outfielder Adam Jones, too. With the trade deadline weeks away, nothing appears to be imminent on any of these fronts so far. Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports adds that a deal for Givens might be more difficult than initially expected; while the reliever isn’t expected to be completely off the table in trade talks, his durability and consistency over the last four years (not to mention his team-friendly contract) makes him a valuable asset that the Orioles will find difficult to part with.

Evan Gattis says he is ‘done playing’ baseball

Evan Gattis
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In a recent appearance on the 755 Is Real Podcast, hosted by The Athletic’s David O’Brien and former Braves reliever Eric O’Flaherty, catcher Evan Gattis confirmed he is “done playing” baseball. Gattis said back in October that he didn’t have any desire to continue playing the game, so this news comes as no surprise.

Gattis, 33, hit .226/.284/.452 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI for the Astros in 2018. The Astros did not extend him a qualifying offer, then $17.9 million. Though reporting on specific offers is scant, it is hard to imagine he received zero offers, or would have received zero offers if he were still interested in playing.

Gattis has one of the more interesting stories out there. He was a well-regarded college baseball prospect, but he battled anxiety and substance abuse. He checked into rehab and, temporarily, abandoned his baseball-related pursuits. Gattis eventually resumed playing college baseball but suffered an injury, prompting him to drop out of college. He went on to take on some not-so-glamorous jobs, including working in a pizza shop, as a parking valet, a ski-lift operator, and a janitor. Gattis battled more mental health issues, suffering from insomnia and depression, resulting in suicidal ideation. He checked into an inpatient psychiatric ward for several days. Afterwards, Gattis roamed around the west coast, going from Colorado to New Mexico to California to Wyoming.

In 2010, Gattis returned to baseball, playing for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. He performed rather well, resulting in his being drafted by the Braves in the 23rd round that year. He worked his way through the minors quickly, debuting in the majors in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Gattis retires with a career .248/.300/.476 batting line along with 139 home runs, 410 RBI, and 299 runs scored over 2,662 trips to the plate.

The story of Gattis is an important one because mental health in general was not taken seriously, especially among men. It still isn’t, to a large degree, but it’s better now than it was 10 years ago. Due to social taboos and gender norms, men are much less likely to seek help for mental health issues. That Gattis — a burly avatar of testosterone — was willing to be vulnerable about his struggles with his mental health was important.