Lukewarm Stove: Machado After the Break? Best Available Starters, Who's in on Ramos? More

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Lukewarm Stove: Machado After the Break? Best Available Starters, Who’s in on Ramos? More

Chicago Cubs

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the Jose Quintana trade, which means if you haven’t already, it’s time to turn on your “a trade can happen at any moment” radar machine. Well, sorta. Although that trade was a year ago tomorrow, it actually happened during the All-Star break. So the timing is the same on a literal scale, but also sorta different on a relative one.

Then again, it was already true that trades can happen at any moment, because many already have, so …

  • At his weekly MLB roundup, Jon Heyman reminds us of a few pervasive rumors you may have let slide off your radar: 1) the Cubs are likely trying for a starter, and have looked into J.A. Happ, 2) although the bullpen has been good, they’re “looking at that, too,” with Zach Britton as a possibility, and 3) the Cubs reportedly inquired about Derek Deitrich (120 wRC+ this season).
  • None of these rumors are particularly hot off the stove, but I thought the bullet was a nice one to lead off with, because it reminds us that the Cubs could very well be looking at everything from position players to starters to relievers. And that probably should include veteran back-up catchers too. It doesn’t feel like there’s a ton of room to add, but I’m sure Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are always looking to be proactive.
  • Ken Rosenthal still believes the Dodgers and Brewers are the most likely landing spots for Manny Machado (although the Diamondbacks are right there, too), but contends that a trade may wait until after the All-Star game for logistical reasons. More specifically, if Machado were traded to an NL team, he’d be ineligible to play in the All-Star game (think Jeff Samardzija in 2014 when he was traded to the A’s), and that’s not something the Commissioner would want for baseball. There are other reasons (including potential bonus issues for which team wins), and that’s all interesting stuff, but the broader point here is timing: it sure seems like after the All-Star game makes the most sense.
  • At Fancred Sports, Heyman handicaps the Machado sweepstakes giving the Dodgers (4-1) the best odds, followed by the Yankees (4-1), Brewers (6-1), Phillies (7-1), Diamondbacks (8-1), Indians (15-1), Cubs (20-1), and the field. If you’re interested in each team’s need, prospect currency, history, and complications, Heyman runs down each for each team.
  • On a more specific level, the Yankees have reportedly made a “strong offer” for Machado. Interestingly, Heyman also seems to believe that the Yankees would play Machado at third, whether he wanted to or not (he made public comments that he’s a shortstop recently), which, sure, whatever. I’m guessing he’d play third for any team that gets him now, but if they wanted to re-sign him in the offseason, that’s a bigger problem. Heyman also contends that the Orioles could use infielders and a catcher, in particular, in exchange for Machado, in addition to their public request for a pitcher.
  • Heyman is really pushing for the Phillies, specifically, to go hard after Machado right now, and I don’t really know why, but well, he thinks they should do whatever it takes to get him.
  • FanCred ranks the 29 starters available on the trading block this season, and potential Cubs target Jacob deGrom takes the top billing, followed by the he won’t be traded Blake Snell, and the he might be traded but it’ll be costly Noah Syndergaard. The pitcher most likely to be moved this July appears to be J.A. Happ (another Cubs target), who Heyman believes is as good as gone already. Nathan Eovaldi, Cole Hamels, Tyson Ross (whom the Cubs front office used to love) are all guys who are highly likely to be moved. The Cubs could have interest in any of them (eh, probably not Hamels, but never say never).
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
  • At the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo discusses the chances that Adrian Beltre could get moved this summer, and it’s apparently something Beltre, who loves Texas but is realistic about their chances of winning the World Series this year, would be open to. Cafardo believes the Indians, Yankees, and Red Sox could all be in play. There’s certainly some additional implied overlap with Manny Machado (if a team wants a third baseman, they can get Beltre as a fallback), but they’re not exactly the same player. Also, the Cubs don’t need Beltre, but holy crap would he be fun on this team.
  • At The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal wonders if the Oakland A’s will be more aggressive than expected this deadline, given how good they’ve been this season (53-41), but I have my doubts. The A’s are 8.0 games behind the Astros (and 5.5 behind the Mariners), so while a Wild Card slot is well within reach, it seems doubtful that they’d take the division. Point being, a trade would have to help them out beyond 2018 to be really worth it.
  • The Braves want to add a starter, a reliever, and a hitter this July (oh, rly?), but GM Alex Anthopoulos is apparently reluctant to trade prospects in rental deals. To which I say, yeah, well, what? How else are you going to do it? Pitching is the priority though, and not unlike the Phillies, the Braves are probably licking their chops to sneak into the postseason over the Nationals a year early.
  • Hello:

  • Ramos has a 127 wRC+ this year with above average defense behind the plate, as usual. He’s also a free agent at the end of the season and is making very little this year. He’s a highly attractive trade target, and one, might I add, I’m surprised hasn’t been connected to the Brewers yet. I think their focus has been directed elsewhere (starters, Machado, etc.), but their catchers have been worth a combined 0.1 WAR this season, thanks primarily to a 71 wRC+.

Author: Michael Cerami

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