Lukewarm Stove: Machado Wants to Play Short, IFA Cap Space, Mets Holding Onto A-Listers, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Machado Wants to Play Short, IFA Cap Space, Mets Holding Onto A-Listers, More

Chicago Cubs

We’re not quite in full-on rumor-mode yet, which comes after the All-Star break. But with a few significant trades already in the books and the Fourth of July behind us, I think it’s fair to say something significant can happen at any given moment.

Heck, the Cubs traded for Jose Quintana on July 13th last season, which is just over a week away from today. I’d stay alert if I were you.

  • We’re going to start off with a few Manny Machado rumors today (get used to it, he’s a huge piece that’s almost certainly going to be traded), but first, I want to focus on something that’s a little longer-term than immediate relevance to this particular trade market: his desire to stick at short. When asked on where he wants to play when he hits free agency this winter, Machado said “I’m playing short. That’s the position I want to play. That’s the position I know I can play and produce [at]. … I’ve been a shortstop my entire life. I’ve played third base for a couple years. I did well, and I thought I was an elite player at that position, but at the end of the day, I’ve been a shortstop my entire life. I know I can be a way better player as a shortstop than I can at third.”
  • Given that we’ve cooled on the Cubs’ need to pursue Machado this deadline, but have been more than happy to entertain the idea of going after him this winter, his reluctance to move back to third could be a bit of an issue. The Cubs current shortstop is doing quite well and even if the team was willing to entertain a trade to make room for Machado, Machado’s own flexibility would help the Cubs be more flexible with which player was traded. In other words, if he was willing to play third and the Cubs wanted to move Kris Bryant to the outfield –  just for discussion sake! – any of the outfielders (namely, Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ, Jason Heyward, or Albert Almora) could be included in an outgoing package. But if Machado will only play short, well, then, it’s basically Addison Russell or nothing (at this point, I really don’t think the Cubs are trading Javy Baez, which is nuts for an entirely different reason, but yeah). It may or may not matter in the end, but having flexibility is always preferred, and this is probably one additional reason not to expect Machado trade.
  • In other Machado-related news, Buster Olney gets the sense that the Orioles are finally handling this process correctly. “Other teams are saying the Orioles going about their trade business very differently than in the past …” They are apparently more focused, organized, and aggressive, so for once, MAYBE, they’ll actually pull the trigger on a deal they should obviously entertain.
  • And finally on the Machado front, Jon Morosi wonders if the Braves or Phillies will step up and make the big, aggressive move that could land either of them the NL East over the struggling Nationals. I have to say, I would really love it if either team got Machado, because cinderella, up-and-coming teams like Atlanta and Philadelphia still hold a special place in my heart because of the 2015 Chicago Cubs and that magical season.
  • Earlier today, the Phillies announced a trade: they acquired international bonus pool space from the Cardinals in exchange for left-hander Elniery Garcia. As we’ve pointed out already, the Cubs have all but used up their bonus pool space for this international signing period, so if they want to take a stab at signing Victor Victor Mesa, they’ll have to make a similar trade, which is why this is an important deal to point out. Frustratingly, the value of the bonus pool the Phillies acquired is unknown, so it’s hard to determine just how much they had to give up. A very important lesson, however, is the reminder that the Cardinals are one of the team’s restricted to just $300K signings this time around (like the Cubs the last two years). Obviously, the Cardinals won’t be doing the Cubs any favors, but the Reds, A’s, Padres, Braves, White Sox, Astros, and Nationals are all also restricted and, thus, could find themselves among the teams more likely to give up some of their pool in a deal. The A’s and Padres, in particular, feel like the best bets, given various geographic and competitive connections between the others.
  • Another such deal (notice the Reds as the selling team):

  • Smart teams – especially competitive teams (who tend to have low draft picks) who are not restricted by bonus pools this period – will be bending over backwards to get someone like Victor Mesa in their organization, so be prepared for many deals like this this month – including *fingers crossed* the Cubs.
  • I tend to think that the Cubs would be out (perhaps not by choice, but by necessity/ability) on acquiring Jacob deGrom and/or Noah Syndergaard from the Mets, which is why I’m happy to hear that they’re considering holding onto both. That goes double given the Brewers’ needs in the rotation and those pitchers unique talents. Instead, the Mets are considering dangling only their “B-listers” because, you know, why not.
  • Speaking of which, the Brewers are surveying the market for starting pitchers (duh), but haven’t been thrilled with a mostly rental-based market. Yeah, I agree, Brewers. Just stand pat. It’s the right thing to do. 
  • The Yankees reportedly loved Matt Harvey at one point (it’s not clear when, if that was even this year) and have noticed that he’s been pitching better lately (3.86 ERA over his past ten starts, yup), but they’re not now inclined to trade for him if the Reds made him available because of the “potential circus” that would follow him back to New York. Honestly, I normally disagree with that sort of thinking, but in this case, with Harvey’s issues, I think staying out of New York might be the best idea for him, personally.
  • And finally, this would be fun:

  • Some players just belong on certain teams, and Cole Hamels on the Phillies just makes sense.

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Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami