A pleasant good afternoon, Mets fans!
We’re in day three of our rumor roundup as the trade deadline approaches, and we have another team vying for Manny Machado.
The Boston Red Sox, per Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, have been in contact with the Baltimore Orioles about a potential deal for the All-Star shortstop, just a day after we had learned that the New York Yankees had been making a play for him, no less. The Red Sox now seem keen on defending their lead in the AL East, which currently sits at just three and a half games, and keeping a lethal bat out of the hands of a division rival should certainly be a priority.
Of course, Xander Bogaerts currently occupies this spot in Boston’s infield, and Machado’s assertion that he is a shortstop (and not a third baseman) doesn’t necessarily work in their favor, either. Nonetheless, a package centered around current third baseman Rafael Devers could be a possibility if Machado decides to bite the bullet for another shot at postseason play. Devers, 21, is under team control until 2023, and despite a somewhat tepid .715 OPS (104 points lower than his line last year), is still considered a potential star around the league.
Boston has also been in discussions with Baltimore about acquiring Zach Britton, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. Their bullpen is in desperate need of a left-handed reinforcement but has also reportedly expressed interest in late-game righties Wade Davis and Kyle Barraclough (the former of whom, given both the Rockies’ standing in the NL West and his albatross contract, is far less likely). While Matt Barnes and Joe Kelly have made sound contributions behind closer Craig Kimbrel, injuries to Carson Smith, Drew Pomeranz, and Steven Wright as well as an underwhelming startup from the recently-activated Tyler Thornburg cloud the back-end.
In other Machado news, the Milwaukee Brewers have continued their negotiations with the Orioles. Jim Bowden illustrates the current package involving outfielder Keon Broxton, shortstop Orlando Arcia, and right-handed pitcher Corbin Burnes. Broxton and Arcia, once high-profile youngsters at the beginning of the 2017 season, have both struggled to adapt to big-league pitching, as the two have combined to hit .239/.291/.351 with 339 strikeouts.
For the Brewers, the minor-league talent being sacrificed is also a non-issue. Burnes would benefit Baltimore far more than he could potentially serve Milwaukee’s current rotation, given the emergence of Freddy Peralta and the possible return of Jimmy Nelson, and even then, the 24-year old has an uncharacteristically high 5.15 ERA with Triple-A Colorado Springs. The numbers are very likely a consequence of the thin air, but Burnes has definitely been deprived of a stage of development that, even in a best-case result, still puts him in a scrap for a final rotation spot on this year’s current squad. Baltimore could very likely want more, however.
Bad news in Anaheim last night, as Garrett Richards exited his start with forearm irritation. While it’s no secret that Richards has had his issues staying on the field, his health bodes particularly badly for the Angels right now, as the soon-to-be free agent could very well lose his value at the deadline if the injury worsens (forearm ailments are often a precursor to a torn UCL in pitchers). He will undergo an MRI today, but teams will no doubt keep a skeptical eye on the right-hander when looking for potential upgrades in the rotation.
The Angels’ other two starters potentially worth trading, Tyler Skaggs and Matt Shoemaker, are both on the disabled list. While the expectation is that Skaggs’ adductor strain will be water under a bridge come tomorrow’s start, Shoemaker just started a throwing program yesterday to combat nerve issues that required forearm surgery. Skaggs, 26, however, has three more years of team control and is enjoying a breakout season that the Angels may want to sit on as they attempt to re-tool around Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
In other news regarding starting pitchers, the Yankees may be in a position to negotiate J.A. Happ with the Toronto Blue Jays, says MLB Network insider Jon Heyman. While they’ve been deterred by the asking price, they still view a rental on the veteran Happ to be a more realistic option than a longer commitment to Noah Syndergaard or Jacob deGrom, both of whom would command a far greater return.
Happ has long been a reliable left-handed arm in the Toronto rotation, but despite his All-Star selection this past week, he has pitched to a much more concerning 7.94 ERA in his last five starts, featuring 13 earned runs allowed in his last eight innings of work. Happ’s name was attached to the Chicago Cubs in yesterday’s installment, as the case still is. Between their in-house options like Domingo German, Luis Cessa, and Jonathan Loaisiga, it’s hard to picture the Yankees breaking the bank for three months of Happ, even if Sonny Gray has been a mess.
One starter who Crasnick speculates could soon spark discussion at the deadline is Tampa Bay Rays’ workhorse Nathan Eovaldi. Joining a list that currently features Wilson Ramos, Chris Archer, Sergio Romo, and Adeiny Hechavarria, Eovaldi and his $2M salary (due to expire at the end of the year, unlike that of Archer, who is controllable until 2021) have made three starts of six or more innings and three or fewer hits. With his newfound cutter highlighting a breakout campaign, Eovaldi could be a perfect complement to a rotation in desperate need of help in the four or five slots. Teams rumored to be intrigued are the Yankees and Atlanta Braves, although little conversation has surrounded the righty otherwise.
If you are at all interested in reading more into the truth of Eovaldi’s dominance or are just looking for a waiver-wire pickup in your fantasy league, Jeff Sullivan dissects the righty’s credibility in a great FanGraphs article you can find here.