Lukewarm Stove: MIL on Machado? Moustakas Drawing Interest as 1B, Epstein on Cubs Plans, Harper, Bauer, More

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Lukewarm Stove: MIL on Machado? Moustakas Drawing Interest as 1B, Epstein on Cubs Plans, Harper, Bauer, More

MLB News and Rumors

So, I started typing out a little intro based on my reaction to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (which I saw last night), but it got too lengthy, so I decided to spare you. You can check out my thoughts on Twitter though, so click over after you’ve read this post and let me know what you think.

But that’s for later. For now, rumors.

  • And to start, let’s kick things off with the first-place Brewers, who, unlike last summer, figure to be more active this July as they push to dethrone the Cubs in the NL Central. And although I think most of us are expecting them to add to their embattled rotation, that might not be the only significant way they improve this summer. Consider that earlier this week, the Brewers activated Tyler Saladino from the 10-Day DL and designated infielder Eric Sogard for assignment. The Brewers have now ousted not one, but two shortstops (including Orlando Arcia) since the start of the season. Indeed, they’ve gotten just a combined -0.2 WAR out of that position this season (3rd worst in baseball), and that means it’s an extremely obvious spot to make a change. Hopefully, by now, you see where I’m going with this.
  • According to Jon Heyman, the Brewers have officially checked in on Manny Machado and could make as much sense as any team in MLB. Not only do they have a need at the position, they also have a relatively rare opportunity to reach the postseason, as well as, in Heyman’s opinion, the best cache of prospects among the reportedly interested parties. Frankly, it’s hard to argue with any of that. Indeed, Machado makes a lot of sense for the Brewers, and while watching them overpay for a half-season of Machado could ultimately be worse for them long term, I’m not comfortable with the risk. Put differently, I’m very much rootin against a Milwaukee/Machado deal. He makes too much sense for them.
  • For what it’s worth, the Cubs shortstop position has earned 4.9 WAR this season, second best in baseball and tops in the National League.
  • But we’re not off Manny yet. At The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the Orioles may want to move sooner than later on Machado and that the pace of talks has accelerated in recent days. Rosenthal also discusses the Dodgers quite a bit in that piece, and they certainly are a reasonable fit, though it’s worth noting that they’d probably have to move an outfielder (Rosenthal guesses it’d be Joc Pederson) in a deal to make a spot for a displaced Chris Taylor, who’s hitting well this year and can play the outfield. Rosenthal also notes that the Diamondbacks and Indians might be the most interested in Machado, and that the Brewers are involved, but might not be willing to meet their price.
  • But maybe no one will:

  • Normally, I’d say “of course, the Orioles will eventually take one of the offers,” but when it comes to Baltimore you just never know. For what it’s worth, Buster Olney replied to that tweet and offered up this: “It seems that some teams might be hoping that a Yu Darvish situation develops with Machado — that eventually, as the deadline nears, the asking price collapses and they grab a good player for far less than the initial sticker price.” The Orioles are terrible, Machado is amazing and a pricey, soon-to-be free agent. WHY WOULDN’T something get done? We’ll see.
  • Trevor Bauer continues to be weird and will never sign a multi-year contract because of, well, I’ll just let him explain it:

  • According to Jon Morosi, the Yankees are interested in adding Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas, but they want to add him as a first baseman. And apparently they’re not the only ones! “Multiple teams are interested in Moustakas as a first baseman, sources told MLB.com Thursday, and the Yankees are among the clubs that have considered trading for Moustakas and moving him across the diamond.” Along with the Yankees, the Cardinals and Phillies are both considered candidates for Moustakas, who’s slashing .258/.312/.472 and is a free agent at the end of the year.
  • On the Cubs, specifically, Theo Epstein basically tells us not to hold our breath this month:

  • More specifically, he said: “You’re always looking to fortify and add a little bit, and you always have Plan B and Plan C in case of injury or bad performance … [But] There’s no way we’re going to go out and acquire starters the caliber of a locked-in Kyle Hendricks or a locked-in Jose Quintana. The majority of our answers lie within, that’s for sure.” Of course, at this time of the year, it’s not only hard to believe what any front office executive says, things can also change very quickly. The truth is that with Brandon Morrow and Carl Edwards both back, plus Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish hopefully returning before July is over, the Cubs bullpen, rotation, and lineup could all wind up in very good shape. Perhaps there’s always room for a reliever or marginal player, but even the Cubs bench (Tommy La Stella, Victor Caratini, Ben Zobrist/Ian Happ) is loaded. Where do you add that isn’t robbing Peter to pay Paul?
  • And finally, I simply found this interesting:

  • And also not entirely relevant. While there’s a broader truth there, for sure, Harper is obviously an extremely talented and uniquely young free agent, who, even when he is batting .213, manages to have a bat that’s 20% better than league average because of the rest of the slash line: .213/.363/.473. Is that version of Harper worth $300M? Actually, yes, because this is him at his worst. If your Major League floor appears to be a player that hits 20% better than league average and your ceiling is the best player in baseball not named Mike Trout, and you’re 26 years old, you’re going to get $300M. And I’d be happy for the Cubs to give it to him.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.