Inside Baseball MLB Notes: Braves, Nats stay out of trade fray ... for now

Taking our weekly trip around MLB: 
 
Arizona Diamondbacks
— The Diamondbacks may be handicapped in their efforts for immediate help, as their system is a bit down at the moment …
— With a weak starters’ market, the D-Backs are considering bullpen pieces even though their bullpen has been a strength …
— They were tied to Keone Kela and Jose Leclerc of the Rangers by Jon Morosi of MLB.com
— Shelby Miller was cleared of UCL trouble, reports Jack Magruder of the Sports Xchange
— Seeing target Manny Machado go to the hated rival Dodgers couldn’t have felt very good.
 
Atlanta Braves
— Some teams who have spoken to the Braves believe they are very reluctant to give up their better prospects, possibly because they are uncertain whether they are a true World Series contender, and possibly because they are constrained a year after a major scandal. Anyway, new GM Alex Anthopoulos, while involved in everything, hasn’t been the gunslinger he was with Toronto in the past …
— The Braves reportedly inquired of the Orioles on Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (via Roch Kubatko of MASN) …
— They looked at Jake Diekman of the Rangers, Mark Bowman of MLB.com reported
— The Braves like Michael Fulmer, Bowman also reported …  
— The Braves have also been tied to Rays starter Chris Archer, per David O'Brien of The Athletic ...
— Mike Moustakas could be a fit …
— They are tied to many, it is fair to say …
— Mike Soroka and Arodys Vizcaino are still weeks away, via Bowman also
— Whatever happens, Manager Brian Snitker has done a nice job and deserves an extension …
— At this moment, Freddie Freeman in the clubhouse leader for NL MVP.
 

Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles maximized the take for Manny Machado and Zach Britton, landing the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect in OF Yusniel Diaz and the Yankees’ No. 6 prospect in RHP Dillon Tate, along with a lot of quantity. Righty Cody Carroll, who came for Britton, is also highly regarded …
— The reviews have been good from almost all precincts, and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and MLB Network, while wondering who did these great deals, suggested here it might have been “the ghost of Harry Dalton,” the late, great Orioles executive. As it turns out O’s GM Dan Duquette’s mentor in Milwaukee, where he came up as an exec, was indeed Dalton …
— Next up: Brad Brach and Adam Jones, who are also free agents …
— There has been talk they might consider trading Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Mychal Givens and Jonathan Schoop. But there’s no rush on that. They are not free agents …
— The Orioles have replenished their pitching ranks. But they could use infielders, and a catcher, too.

 

Boston Red Sox
— They are a bit handicapped in going for the big stars (i.e. Zach Britton) because their prospect list isn’t close to what it used to be. Rivals say they could still possibly make another deal anyway, but the top two prospects, Jay Groome and Michael Chavis, have issues, with Groome having had Tommy John surgery and Chavis getting a ban for PEDs …
— Wednesday's move for Nathan Eovaldi of the Rays adds starting pitching depth, which could in turn trickle down to the bullpen later in the season depending on the health of Eovaldi, Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright ...
— They have interest in Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen of the Padres, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported …
— Alex Cora on Joe Kelly (who once kiddingly predicted a Cy Young for himself): “He needs to get better. I don’t know how we’re going to do that but that’s going to be very important to what we’re trying to accomplish, and right now we don’t have that guy.” …  
— They could use someone who can play second base and perhaps some third base. Eduardo Escobar or Asdubal Cabrera could fit …
— They have taken a look at outfielder Austin Jackson …
— They were 40 games over for the first time since September of 1949 (via MLB Network). Hard as it is to believe, they have no 100-win years since 1946 …
— J.D. Martinez since last year’s All-Star break: 162 games, 161 games started, 610 at-bats, 61 home runs (For the non-mathematically inclined that’s one home run ever 10 at-bats. It’s still hard to believe he was ever released.)
 
Chicago Cubs
— The Cubs were in on Zach Britton and Jeurys Familia …
— While their prospect list is down, one rival said they have enough to land a good rental …
— Theo Epstein was quoted saying in addition to pitching now, they could look for a defender and/or base runner.
 
Chicago White Sox
— Nate Jones has pronator trouble, which may take him out of the trade mix, reports Scott Merkin of MLB.com
— Jose Abreu’s off year (despite making the All-Star team) may also take him out of trade talks. 
 


Cincinnati Reds
— Some teams are shying away from Matt Harvey – “too much drama,” one exec said – but Reds people are still saying he will be traded. They are pleased not only by how he’s pitched (he was brilliant up until his last outing, which was a dud) but by how he’s fit into the clubhouse and how he’s helped the younger pitchers (which is most of them) …
— Adam Duval is available. But his name is rarely heard. It’s a tough market for outfielders …
— The Reds are among 10 teams scouting the Mets this week. They want a controllable starter, so most likely Zack Wheeler or lefty Steven Matz. Wheeler is likely to be dealt, Matz is not ...
— The Reds have many coveted relievers: David Hernandez, Jared Hughes, etc. Michael Lorenzen cold be of interest to teams, especially if they want to add a reliever/bat. Not counting Shohei Ohtani, he's the best hitting pitcher in baseball …
— Amir Garrett has been mentioned in trade talks. But the Reds should hold into him. 
 
Cleveland Indians
— One rival said the Indians, while stacked at the top of their lineup, see a drop off after four excellent hitters …
— No one saw Jose Ramirez as this sort of star – he now leads Mike Trout in WAR, which isn’t easy to do—and he began by signing for $50,000. That was money very well spent …
— Asdrubal Cabrera, the former Indian, could fit there …
— Terry Francona tells people that losing Bryan Shaw was “like losing two pitchers,” he did so much. Not that Francona second guesses the decision not to match the $27-million deal he signed with Colorado. (For the record, Shaw hasn’t been the same in Denver, as many pitchers aren’t) …
— Bradley Zimmer is out for the year after shoulder surgery. The Indians probably needed an outfielder anyway.
 


Colorado Rockies
— The Rockies reportedly inquired about Colorado product turned Orioles stalwart Kevin Gausman, who they’ve liked forever …
— Their best pitcher has been Kyle Freeland, who’s also a Colorado product. Maybe they believe a familiarity with the air helps …
— Trevor Story looks like a star …
— The Rockies, who considered Brad Hand (but weren’t sure they were in the race at the time), could use a lefty in the pen.

 
Detroit Tigers
— Michael Fulmer is on the DL (oblique) which probably takes him out of trade mix, for the most part. Though, there’s allegedly one team still interested. That team may be the Braves, who have been tied to Fulmer a lot in the past …
— One team is interested in Jose Iglesias, reports Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. That team is unknown, though Fenech noted the Phillies have had scouts watching him.
 
Houston Astros
— The Astros lost a chance to get a bona fide closer with their failed effort to trade again for Britton (who they agreed to acquire last July before the Orioles canceled the deal). They may rely on Lance McCullers' versatility and A.J. Hinch's genius again this year to cover the roster deficiency in October ...
— Former closer Ken Giles could be a surprise trade candidate after his demotion out of his traditional game-ending role ...
— RHP prospect Forrest Whitley is a “stud,” and no one blames the Astros from holding him out of trade talks …
— Yordan Alvarez looks like a great hitter, but there’s some mixed opinions on him, as some question whether he will be able to play fist base. Someone in this space last week compared him to Willie McCovey …
— Tyler Kepner had an interesting article wondering whether the Astros were underachieving, at least in terms of record.

 
Kansas City Royals
— Nice story by Rustin Dodd of The Athletic on Billy Butler and his life now as a slow-pitch softball star
— The trade for Brian Goodwin should be a positive for him. The Royals need outfielders, have an outfield with huge dimensions and appreciate speedy guys to man those spots …
— They should find a trade partner for Mike Moustakas. 
 


Los Angeles Angels
— More thoughts on Mike: Mike Trout is just fine, just as he is. The Q rating may not be what it should be, but no one seriously believes it’s on par with Kenneth Faried, whoever he is. Trout is a low-key guy who doesn’t do many commercials, and that’s OK. The fact he’s in the second team in the second city (by population) on the West Coast is part of the issue. MLB folks are frustrated because Trout isn’t “out there” more. But they should be happy – relieved, really – that baseball’s best player is one of its kindest players. That has to count for something …
— Hard to believe, with that lineup, they have not hit lefties.

 
Los Angeles Dodgers
— The Manny Machado deal was perfect, as it gave them a great shortstop, not to mention one of the two-best third basemen in the game. The injury to Justin Turner allowed the Dodgers to shift Machado to third. As someone who can play multiple positions, he fits with the Dodgers. That is true of the vast majority of their players. Chris Taylor and Kike’ Hernandez are the versatility kings. But Cody Bellinger is very versatile as a star first baseman who can play center field …
— Brad Brach has been tied to the Dodgers, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reported
— The Dodgers are thought to be about $4 million under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million. That gives them a bit of room to acquire a reliever. They could buy themselves more room if they deal Logan Forsythe (they'd have to attach a prospect to do so) or perhaps even Yasiel Puig …
— The Dodgers tried to put Forsythe into the Machado offers, but the Orioles said no …
— Puig was talked about with the Orioles, too, but his injury halted that possibility …
— Puig is expected back soon, perhaps Thursday.

 
Miami Marlins
— Rival teams have the impression (probably correct) that the Marlins have no intention to trade star catcher J.T. Realmuto. Marlins sources, in fact, suggest it is much more likely they will try to extend Realmuto in the winter than trade him now – though they also say no one is untouchable on the rebuilding team …
— The price is understandably high on young relievers Kyle Barraclough and Drew Steckenrider, who have helped the team overachieve in many ways …
— Adam Conley, a lefty having a nice year, is also drawing significant interest …
— The Marlins are playing hard under Don Mattingly. Good for them.
 
Milwaukee Brewers
— They are looking for a middle infielder after failing to land Manny Machado. Some possibilities: Asdrubal Cabrera, Eduardo Escobar, Brian Dozier, Whit Merrifield …
— Robert Murray of The Athletic wrote an in-depth story breaking down the Brewers’ interest in Merrifield and others
— The Brewers have been tied to Matt Harvey, via Jerry Crasnick of ESPN. That’s a good city for him, as has been Cincinnati …  
— The Brewers also inquired on Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman of the Orioles …
— Mike Moustakas could also be a possibility, if they are willing to try Travis Shaw at second base, as Morosi of MLB.com suggested
— The Brewers were in on Brad Hand and Zach Britton despite having one of the best bullpens in baseball …  
— Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain both continue to produce. That was indeed a very productive day (when they acquired both in January) for the Brewers …
— For the record: We said Josh Hader deserved a second chance after his heinous tweets as a youth, but we didn’t espouse a standing ovation. Or several of them.
 
Minnesota Twins
— Brian Dozier is historically a fantastic second half player, so he might be a great pickup for someone …
— One team inquired about a combo of Dozier and Eduardo Escobar, reports Rosenthal of The Athletic. That team could be the Brewers, who have had by far the worst production from the middle infield (via MLB Network) ...
— Ervin Santana thinks he’s getting traded. 

 
New York Mets
— One thing became clear in the aftermath of Yoenis Cespedes' revelation that he was headed for season-ending heel surgery: The Mets need to work on their communication skills ...
— New York's National League franchise didn’t communicate well with its star outfielder, and it didn’t communicate well with the public through the media. Cespedes’ frustration with his heel injury is understandable, but he shouldn’t have been left to drop the bombshell that he may well need surgery that could keep him out as much as 10 months on his own. As we all know by now, he was right; Cespedes did require the surgery and is now looking at a lengthy recovery ...
— Part of the problem was the decision to go with a three-headed GM set-up. John Ricco, Omar Minaya and J.P. Ricciardi are all good baseball people, but one of them should have been put in charge ...
— Word is that former GM Sandy Alderson wanted Ricco to take over, but there was a disconnect between Mets ownership and Alderson by the end, so it appears they didn’t want to do what he recommended ...
— Minaya, who has the ear of Fred Wipon, has been a longtime Ricco supporter, too ...
— However, as we wrote in this space, the Mets are going to engage in a search for their next GM, which means there’s a good chance they go outside the organization altogether ...
— Blue Jays exec Ben Cherington, who’s also close to Minaya, is a name that’s been heard a lot, and was also mentioned in that first article here ...
— The best player the Mets received in the Jeurys Familia trade was third baseman Will Toffey, who was the pick of Ricciardi who like Toffey is a Massachusetts man. Toffey is an advanced hitter, the sort of player Ricciardi is said to like. The son of very nice baseball agent Jack Toffey, the Vanderbilt product surely has very good makeup, too. The question is: Will the power come? …
— There were rumors the Mets could land the outfield prospect known as Lazarito, and that would have been fantastic. But alas, that was not to be …
— About half the contenders are said to have interest in Wheeler. At latest check the Cubs, Indians, Red Sox and Reds were among about 10 teams with scouts at Wheeler's most recent start …
— The feeling is that Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard (currently on the DL with hand, foot and mouth disease) have almost no chance to be traded this summer. It is something they could revisit in winter, though it would be hard to trade deGrom, who has turned into one of the best pitchers in the game …
— Hard as it is to believe, deGrom is on pace for a sub-2.00 ERA, 200 innings, and fewer than 10 wins. (yes, I know, pitching wins isn’t a good barometer of performance) …  
— Jose Bautusta is drawing a bit of interest, as was reported in this space. And according to Mike Puma of the New York Post, so is Devin Mesoraco …  
— We are starting to see prospects shine through now with the Mets. They have two sluggers who could be interesting. There’s Peter Alonso who hit an absolute bomb in the Futures Game. And there’s Zach Borenstein, who like Ryan Braun is occasionally called the “Hebrew Hammer.” They don’t have a plethora of top prospects, however …
— Adrian Gonzalez is still a free agent.
 


New York Yankees
— The Yankees have put together an all-time great bullpen now. Britton gives them three proven closers, with Aroldis Chapman and David Robertson …
— The Yankees reportedly inquired about Kevin Gausman …
— The Yankees like J.A. Happ but to this point the Jays have sought one of their top five prospects. The Yankees have said no to that …
— They also like Marcus Stroman …
— While some are portraying Cole Hamels as a likelihood for the Yankees, he is seen as a backup plan for them. Perhaps that's because he’s been vulnerable to the home run. That might not work at Yankee Stadium …
— Still, there is said to be interest in Hamels, it's just that the Yankees have others well above him on their list. Sources suggest there are also other teams with some interest in Hamels, obviously driven in part by memory of his pedigree and heart in Philadelphia ...
— The Yankees have made Brandon Drury a part of some trade offers, as he was dangled for both Manny Machado and Brad Hand …
— The Padres preferred a major prospect for Hand, and after making it clear they understood not to even ask for Gleyber Torres (Brian Cashman had eliminated him as a trade possibility from the start of the conversation), they suggested that Miguel Andujar would be of interest, as Andy Martino of SNY said …
— The Yankees could look for catching help, with Gary Sanchez out for what could be a month or more following a recurrence of his groin issue …
— Sanchez got a lot of heat for not running hard on two plays – a passed ball in the first inning (the play where he actually aggravated his injury) and the last play of the game (his ground out). But it turns out he was hurt. Some fans were still unforgiving. But really, if he made a mistake, it was in not telling the team he re-injured himself, as he feared having to go back on the DL ...
— Bleacher Report's Danny Knobler wrote about Aaron Boone's looming Sanchez problem.
 
Oakland Athletics
— The A’s got Jeurys Familia for not a lot …
— Stephen Piscotty has seven home runs in July alone (via Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle). The A’s deserve this great year in a way after making that nice trade to bring Piscotty home while his mother struggled with Lou Gehrig's Disease …
— The A’s so seem to have something special going on …
— Mike Fiers was linked to the A’s by Chris McCosky of the Detroit News ...
— Bleacher Report's Knobler went deep on Edwin Jackson's amazing 13-team odyssey.

 
Philadelphia Phillies
— The Phillies are looking for a shortstop after failing to land their preferred target, Manny Machado. Eduardo Escobar, who was mentioned in this space as a target, is a possibility …
— They prefer an offensive shortstop, so someone like their former starter Freddy Galvis probably doesn’t fit …
— Mike Moustakas could be a fit, though …
— Phillies GM Matt Klentak told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com they expect to stay out of the starting pitching market, which may be a nice way of saying he doesn’t envision a return for Cole Hamels …
— It was a real love-fest in Philly for Chase Utley, who was even cheered when he singled against the Phillies.
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
— The Pirates have put together one of the quietest winning streaks ever, having won 11 straight without many noticing …
— They seem to remain in limbo, between buyer and seller. But it’s hard to imagine them trading good prospects, as they were still said to have only a 13-percent chance to make the playoffs, via Fangraphs …
— Neal Huntington said on a radio interview he would “love to add.” (h/t Stephen Nesbitt) …
— Their vaunted outfield is playing like folks predicted it would …
— They have been connected to Rangers closer Keone Kela (h/t Evan Grant, The Dallas Morning News) ...
— They scored at least six runs in seven straight games, the first time they did that since 1946, when Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner was a rookie.

 
St. Louis Cardinals
— The injury to Carlos Martinez (oblique) should take him out of the trade mix …
— This is not a typical Cardinals team by any stretch of the imagination ...
— The Cardinals are among the worst fielding and base running teams in baseball …
— Some could see them sticking with interim manager Mike Schildt who is not only close to baseball president John Mozeliak but has a rapport with some of the young players in the team from his minor-league managing days.
 
San Diego Padres
— The Padres’ monster prospect stash got that much better with the acquisition of Francisco Mejia. Their depth is so good they have the prospects to make a  deal for a big-time pitcher, if anyone is willing to give one up …
— Dennis Lin of The Athletic says they did call about Noah Syndergaard. Syndergaard would fit, as he has three years left. The Padres’ ETA for playoff contention is 2020 …
— They were also tied to Chris Archer
— Little known fact about Andy Green: He was his high school’s valedictorian …
— A. J. Preller’s new contract extension length wasn’t announced, but word is, it was another long one, as many as four more years, which would give him nine from his start date …
— Chase Headley remains a free agent.
 


San Francisco Giants
— They seem somewhat inactive at the trade deadline, and that may be because they are right up against the $197-million luxury tax threshold …
— Teams are looking at Madison Bumgarner, but they are likely wasting their time …
— They were considering bringing back Austin Jackson after trading him away in a budgetary move …
— Hunter Pence still has his moments. He hit a 445-foot home run.

 
Seattle Mariners
— Seattle Times writer Geoff Baker wrote on complaints by women roiling the Mariners organization at the beginning of the decade. And what did the Mariners do? Two of the three men accused (with cases later settled) were promoted and Kevin Mather was promoted to President and CEO of the team. Me: Hard to believe he's still President and CEO ...
— Mather apologized and acknowledged the incidents later Wednesday, with ownership noting that they made amends to the women involved. “I am truly sorry for the people I hurt and how I came across,” Mather told Baker. That's a nice sentiment, but it comes pretty late in the game following the initial incidents ...
— They still have some money left from the savings from Robinson Cano’s ban, and GM Jerry Dipoto isn’t the type to let that go to waste …
— There is word that Dipoto was on the bubble before the Mariners’ hot streak put them in playoff position. But with the team on the verge of breaking through, he received a multi-year extension, and as expected (and predicted here), so did manager Scott Servais, who’s been Dipoto’s guy from the git-go …
— Dee Gordon will stay at second base after Robinson Cano returns, Dipoto said. That will be welcome news for Gordon …
— If Cano moves over to first base, as seems logical, that could put Ryon Healy on the block. Morosi of MLB.com and Jeff Passan of Yahoo tied Healy to the Royals …
— James Pazos is a reliever with the Mariners, and Andrew Baggarly of NBC Bay Area noted, “Thankfully for him, his parents didn’t name him Jeff.”
 
Tampa Bay Rays
— Kevin Cash told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times to expect plenty of deals
— Nathan Eovaldi was first to go for Red Sox LHP minor leaguer Jalen Beeks, who according to one scout “has good stuff and a good feel for pitching.” ...
— Beeks' repertoire is fastball, cutter, curve and changeup. His cutter is relatively new and effective …
— Chris Archer’s name is out there again. What else is new? Archer said this time it feels “different,” which presumably means he thinks he may be traded. However, with three reasonable years to go on his contract, it may turn out just like all the other times …
— Blake Snell is on the DL with shoulder fatigue. But sources suggest they don’t believe it is serious. 
 
Texas Rangers
— Evan Grant had a story about how poorly some of their trade targets were doing …  
— The Rangers allowed 9, 16, 0, 15 and 13 runs in their first five games back after the break, reported Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
 
Toronto Blue Jays
— A trade for Josh Donaldson hasn’t been ruled out … if he can get back on the field before the deadline. Beyond that, with a $23-million salary, there’s a chance he could get through waivers and be traded in August …
— The Jays have received calls on Marcus Stroman, but sources said they aren’t very interested in trading him. The Yankees are among teams that like Stroman. But the Jays will probably steer the Yankees and others to Happ, who New York also likes …
— There are said to be others beyond the known Yankees, Mariners and Cubs in on J.A. Happ. While Happ hasn’t been his best lately, his value may be holding up, thanks to the D.L. trips for multiple trade possibilities (Michael Fulmer, Carlos Martinez, Noah Syndergaard) and slumps of others (notably Cole Hamels) …
— They’d also like to trade Jaime Garcia. But he’ll need a few more good outings to become a legitimate trade consideration. He should pass through waivers, so he’d be an August deal in all likelihood …
— Marco Estrada could also pass through waivers …
— Curtis Granderson is drawing interest. The Phillies are in on him, Rosenthal of The Athletic and MLB Network reported.

Washington Nationals
— Mike Rizzo hasn’t committed to what they are doing. But folks would be shocked if they became last-minute sellers. Not only is Bryce Harper a free agent, so is Daniel Murphy, Gio Gonzalez and many relievers …
— The Max Scherzer-Stephen Strasburg dugout dispute could be a tipping point. Strasburg lasted just 4 2/3 innings in his return …
— There’s a GoFundMe page for assistant GM Doug Harris, who is batting leukemia. At last count he was 20 percent of the way to his $400,000 goal.

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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