Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Make Offer for Machado? Scouting Eovaldi, High Price for Pitching, Aggressive Brewers, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Cubs Make Offer for Machado? Scouting Eovaldi, High Price for Pitching, Aggressive Brewers, More

Chicago Cubs

Earlier today, we addressed the growing belief that the Milwaukee Brewers have turned into one of the most likely suitors to land Orioles shortstop Manny Machado at the 2018 deadline. After all, they have the positional need, the pieces to get it done, and are in the middle of their second consecutive effort to upset the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

But they aren’t the only ones who’ve become slightly more serious on Machado in recent days. And that’s where will start our Lukewarm Stove today …

  • According to The Baltimore Sun, seven teams have *actually delivered offers* to the Orioles for Manny Machdo, including the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Brewers, Phillies, Braves, Indians, and … Cubs(?). Apparently, those offers are listed in terms of appeal (from most convincing to least), but they are all thought to be competitive offers. On top of that relatively concrete rumor comes a slightly sexier, but less certain addition to the story. The Orioles are reportedly in active dialogues with several of those teams – it’s not clear which – and a deal could come together as soon as this weekend. I doubt that anything gets done that soon with this many teams involved, but the Orioles do seem to be moving more methodically and purposefully this time around.
  • As for the Cubs’ offer, since we don’t know when it came exactly or what is in it, we could surmise that their involvement is very limited (perhaps helping push other suitors?), and the Orioles are probably all too glad to have it out there that the Cubs are totally looking to trade for Machado, wink wink.
  • On the Dodgers’ seemingly most attractive offer, The Sun reports that top outfield prospect Alex Verdugo and right-hander Yadier Alvarez are *not* involved, as we expected. However, top prospects will probably be included at some point and the Orioles are known to be looking for pitching and left-side infielders. We’ll have to keep a very close eye on this, because Machado *will* be moved before July 31st and two teams in each of the NL West, Central, and East are said to have made an official offer – including the Cubs!
  • One final, interesting note on Machado from Buster Olney: The Indians are considered heavy suitors for Machado too, but because they lead their division so comfortably, they might be foolish to pay the price for what could be just 15-20 difference-making plate appearances in October. Obviously, filling holes for the postseason matters, but I can see Olney’s point. The Indians are going to October either way, is the expectedly expensive rental a necessity? I can go either way.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
  • Sticking with that Olney piece for a moment, he also reports that the Blue Jays have been speaking with the Yankees about lefty J.A. Happ, who was connected to the Cubs earlier today. The sides – according to Olney – are haggling about the price tag but the Yankees are doing their due diligence on a number of other available arms. The issue, however, is that prices are thought to be out-of-whack right now: “They want a starter, but the prices are out of control right now,” said a source close to the Yankees. “The pitchers that are available also aren’t that exciting.” According to MLB.com, however, there are plenty of exciting names the Yankees will/should consider, including Madison Bumgarner, Cole Hamels, Michael Fulmer, Happ, and Tyson Ross. Obviously, most of those names carried a lot more weight 1-3 years ago, but each is big name with plenty of remaining 2018 upside – some more than that.
  • After a report surfaced out of Tampa Bay on Thursday indicating the Cubs’ potential interest in Rays right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (along with the Phillies, Red Sox, and Braves), I started to more seriously consider the Cubs need to add to the rotation ahead of the July 31st deadline. And then, when the Cubs interest in J.A. Happ reached me today – and I read Brett’s totally might have to trade for a starter line of thinking – I’m pretty convinced there’s a deal out there for them that makes sense. And for what it’s worth, the Cubs were once again scouting Eovaldi during his last start (as were the Braves, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Giants, and Yankees), and I’m guessing they all really liked what they saw: 7.0 IP, 1H, 0BB, 9Ks. That’s about as good as a start gets and Eovaldi now has 44 Ks to 6 walks through eight starts this season. How refreshing does that sound? The fact that he’s a cheap ($2M) rental is just icing on the cake for a Cubs rotation that is still relatively full in the medium-term (Jon Lester, Kyle Hendricks, Jose Quintana, and Yu Darvish are all near mortal locks for the rotation through 2020).
  • Back to the Yankees – they aren’t stopping at a starter, though:

  • And as the tweet says, the Cubs could find themselves involved in the Zach Britton/back-end reliever market once again. Sure, their bullpen is operating relatively smoothly, but they’ve gotten some wonderful contributions from guys who aren’t necessarily locks to keep it up all season and are just an injury or two away from a postseason disaster. Given how important bullpens have become in October and the relatively smaller price you need to pay for a reliever, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see the Cubs land someone you’ve heard of this July. It’s the only time you can do it without worrying about waivers.
  • After suffering a right-index finger strain back in May, Mets ace (well, one of them, anyway) Noah Syndergaard took his first rehab start in Brooklyn yesterday and was successful. It’s possible that he’ll return to the big leagues for his next start on Thursday, but it all depends on his finger. Needless to say, he should be back in the big leagues soon … and that opens up a lot of questions. The Mets are currently 35-51 and are considering opening up shop on their entire roster, including Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz. The Yankees and Brewers have both been connected to the latter two players, but obviously everyone in baseball would have interest in either of the former two. As for the Cubs, sure, you’d love if they were able to land one of deGrom or Syndergaard, but it’ll almost certainly take a lot more than you’re comfortably even thinking about from the big league roster, and remember, the Cubs rotation has the potential to be just fine. I wouldn’t bank on it happening for the Cubs, but the broader league implications are obviously huge.
  • Although the Cubs are set at the catcher position with starting NL All-Star Willson Contreras, not every team is so lucky. The Washington Nationals are said to be looking at their former catcher Wilson Ramos this July and Jon Heyman guesses that the Brewers (and Red Sox) could eventually come calling as well. Not unlike the shortstop position, catcher has been an area of concern for Milwaukee this season, as their 0.1 WAR and 69 wRC+ at the position ranks 24th and 22nd in all of baseball. They’re going to add something this month, just expect that.
  •  As a matter of fact, check this out:

  • Whit Merrifield is slashing .303/.371/.429 this season and has already been worth 2.5 WAR. He’s also under cheap team control for many more season, so he’d be an expensive acquisition, but one that could help them both this season and in the future. The Brewers going to be aggressive and have the pieces to do it. Again, get ready for that.
  • And for a final, enjoyably sweet read, check out Ken Rosenthal’s “Five biggest lies baseball people tell reporters during trading season.” It’s a very fun, even informative peek behind the curtain at sourcing trades and rumors during July.
  • Given that things are clearly heating up this trade season, make sure you’re following BN on Twitter and like it on Facebook to keep up:

Brett Taylor contributed to this post.



Author: Michael Cerami

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