Givens allowed five runs on four hits over two-thirds of an inning during Tuesday's spring game against the Pirates. Givens did not strike out or walk any batters while giving up solo and three-run home runs. The 28-year-old projects to be the primary ninth-inning option. Manager Brandon Hyde has not committed to a closer.
Manager Brandon Hyde said Givens will be used in "high-leverage situations" but did not commit to naming him the closer, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. Givens is easily the leading candidate to close for the Orioles this season based off his recent performance and the lack of other options in the Baltimore bullpen. However, the Orioles skipper added that he "won't manage the save stat," which doesn't exactly bode well for Givens from a fantasy perspective. It's unclear if the Orioles will simply play matchups in the ninth inning this season or if Givens will wind up being named the closer at a later date. Either way, the right-hander poses fantasy upside thanks to his good strikeout numbers (10.4 career K/9) and seemingly uncontested role as the top gun in the bullpen.
Givens signed a one-year deal with the Orioles on Friday to avoid arbitration, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. Givens has been a solid bullpen piece for the Orioles the last few years, and was finally able to work into the closer's role in 2018 with nine saves following the trade of Zach Britton. The 28-year-old is the favorite to take over the full-time role in 2019.
Givens tossed a perfect ninth inning to lock down his ninth save in a 6-3 win over the Yankees Sunday. Givens retired the side on just 11 pitches and has now converted seven of nine save opportunities since the beginning of August. The 28-year-old has a 4.15 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 76:30 K:BB for 2018.
Givens pitched a perfect ninth inning Wednesday to record his eighth save of the season in a 2-1 win over the Blue Jays. He needed only eight pitches (six strikes) to breeze through the frame. Givens is now 7-for-9 in save chances since taking over as the Orioles' closer after the trade deadline, posting a 3.18 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 15:6 K:BB in 17 innings. Barring a major offseason addition to the team's bullpen, he'll head into 2019 as the presumptive favorite for saves in Baltimore.