Lukewarm Stove: Methodical Orioles? Samardzija's Availability, Machado Smoke, Britton, Cardinals, Gennett, More

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Lukewarm Stove: Methodical Orioles? Samardzija’s Availability, Machado Smoke, Britton, Cardinals, Gennett, More

Chicago Cubs

When I came back from my honeymoon, I bragged to Brett and Luis about my luck in missing the dreadful four-game sweep in Cincinnati. A little perk of missing a game here or there is that it doesn’t hurt as much if you weren’t watching. But it works the other way, too.

I missed last night’s game hanging out with some friends from out of town – which means I missed the Anthony Rizzo full-count, two-outs, game-tying double and it means I missed Javy Baez scoring the game-winning run from first – and it sucks. I will not be missing tonight’s game, because I can’t increase my current and realized levels of FOMO.

Here are some rumors for your Saturday afternoon.

  • I have a bit of an issue with how this (the Orioles reputation as “methodical deal-makers”) is presented, unless I’m reading his tone incorrectly:

  • Methodical? That’s what were calling the Orioles’ distinct inability to make any decision at all followed by their unique ability to convince themselves they’ve made the wrong decision, which turns into a worse decision (a la Zach Britton, for example (both with the Astros last offseason and arguably with the Cubs over the winter)), Dexter Fowler, and others?) Again, maybe Crasnick was making a similar joke. There’s honestly the tiniest part of me that still believes the Orioles will screw this up and not trade Machado until August via waivers or not at all.
  • And this isn’t really an isolated opinion. Jeff Passan just wrote an entire article about the frustration other teams have experienced dealing with Baltimore on Machado, and this is supposed to be the “evolved” Orioles who understand the mistakes of the past and have an obvious piece to move:

  • On a more specific note, Passan concludes that it’ll cost 1 top-100 type prospect plus two high-ceiling (but not top-100) types to get something done, which, frankly, is a very reasonable package in my opinion for a rental trade of this caliber. Obviously the quality of that top-100 type can swing things, but for what it’s worth, the reasonable rumors out there seem to put that player in the 30-50 range, which, again, I think is probably fair.
  • The other interesting thing about that – and I hate to open old wounds to prove a point, but I’m about to – is that Gleyber Torres was ranked precisely in that range (usually around #40) when the Cubs traded him for Aroldis Chapman (also a rental trade, but one that could provide unique value in the postseason). It wasn’t until after that deal did he take off and turn into a top prospect in baseball and eventually an AL All-Star. Sometimes top 40 guys turn into back-end 100 types and sometimes they turn into All-Stars, but it appears that still is the price of admission.
  • There’s one rumor going around that the Yankees want to deal rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar for a controllable starter, while simultaneously making a move for Machado. That would be a very go-for-it move on the surface, but if they believe they can convince Machado to re-sign in New York after playing and potentially winning there for a few months, it might be worth the risk. Of course, Machado seems adamant about his desire to stick at shortstop. The Cubs, for what it’s worth, could conceivably do something similar with Addison Russell, but I wouldn’t count on that until the offseason, if at all.
  • Bob Nightengale reports that the Giants have let the Yankees – who are looking for starting pitching – know that starter (and former Cub) Jeff Samardzija is available this deadline. Interesting. Samardizja, 33, is still owed $44M, and has been both terrible and injured this season (6.42 ERA over nine starts), but was nearly a 4.0-WAR pitcher last year. He’s probably still got something in the tank, but to take on that risk right now? Maybe if there were significant dollars eaten in the trade he’s a good depth addition for the right team, but I’m not sure the fit is there for a reunion with the Cubs at this point.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
  • MORE MACHADO:

  • According to Heyman, the Phillies are inching closer to “favorites,” but frankly, the Cubs, Brewers, Yankees, and now Phillies have all been called favorites at one point or another this season, so it’s hard to take it too seriously. Nonetheless, they’re getting aggressive after Machado and could also look to also pry away reliever Zach Britton, another potential Cubs target.
  • Ken Rosenthal throws gas on the Phillies/Orioles fire:

  • Back to Britton: Heyman has heard that the Phillies, Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Astros, Dodgers, and Indians are involved, but one Orioles person believes he could potentially bring back as much as Machado. To that I say … eh. Maybe. Maybe at one point in time Britton could do that – if Chapman did, Britton could have – but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. After getting injured last season and then again over the winter, Britton has only made 13 appearances this year and has just a 4.26 ERA and 4.32 FIP to show for it. Do I believe he can turn it around and be a quality (or even dominant) reliever? Of course. But do I think it’s fair or realistic for the Orioles to expect to be paid as much as they would have a year ago, especially when you consider he’s making $12 million this year? No way.
  • To be clear, I want the Cubs to pursue Britton at the deadline, but also make sure they know that they’re pursuing 2018 Zach Britton, who’s one year older, two injuries up, one year of control down, and some pretty middling performances different than last deadline. That’s going to be a tough pill to swallow for the Orioles, but not trading Britton for SOME value would be a mistake.
  • The Cardinals are likely thinking long-term with their trades this winter, which, heh. “Ultimately we want to do what’s best for this organization, not just in the sense of a Band-Aid [but] long term,” John Mozeliak said. “If we thought there was sort of that one magic bullet to change the trajectory of the season, we might chase that.” But there’s not, because they’re not winning the division this year. Come at me, St. Louis.
  • Speaking of the long-term of the NL Central, All-Star Scooter Gennett wants to stay with the Reds for the long haul, he’s just not sure if the feeling is mutual. Gennett is a potential trade candidate, but he’s also just 28 years old and under control (via arbitration) for one more season. If the Reds saw a light at the end of the tunnel, they might consider extending Gennett, but we’ll see if they go that way.
  • And finally, the A’s Billy Beane sounds like he wants to make a splash this deadline: “The idea that we can sort of push off an opportunity because we think we’ll be better next year is just a bad approach from our standpoint,” Beane said. “We’ve got to do everything we can.” So … watch out for the A’s I guess. More buyers on the market is never a good thing if your team is also a buyer, but I don’t want the Cubs to be overly aggressive this deadline anyway. I genuinely believe their biggest contributions will come from within (Anthony Rizzo turning up, Yu Darvish returning, Brandon Morrow staying healthy) etc., so do what you must, Billy.


Author: Michael Cerami

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