The Dodgers are at somewhat of a crossroads at the break. They are in 1st place in the NL West and are 3.5 games behind the Cubs for supremacy in the NL. They are 1.0 game behind the Brewers, .5 game behind the Phillies, and are virtually tied with the Braves in the very tight NL race. There are 11 teams within 5.5 games of the Wild Card.
The AL is not as open. There are 4 virtual locks; Boston, NYY, Cleveland, and Houston. The Mariners and A’s are in for a fight for the final Wild Card and the right to play either Boston or NYY in a one game winner advances WC game. Of course, Tampa and LAA can delude themselves into thinking they are in the WC hunt, but neither really has the team to hold on and contend much longer.
That is 17 teams that will be vying for what is considered to be a fairly weak group (in total) of players available for trade. The prize being Manny Machado. If you believe the rumor pages, or if you just like to read them and fantasize, the three favored teams for Machado bragging rights are the Phillies, Brewers, and Dodgers (and probably in that order). NYY was considered to be very interested but not at the price of Gleybar Torres, Miguel Andujar, or Justus Sheffield. With a full up infield why would NYY want to spend prospects on a rental even one as good as Machado when they need starting pitching? The speculation is that NYY would then flip Andujar for a much needed starter (Michael Fulmer??). Right now the overwhelming money is on the Phillies because they have what Baltimore desperately needs…pitching. The Phillies are willing to include Adonis Medina while the Brewers are reluctant to include Corbin Burnes and the Dodgers are reluctant to include Dustin May. But keep the rumor mills churning, because the O’s are going back to the Brewers and Dodgers one last time.
If NYY was considering (or even if it is simply speculated that they are) flipping Andujar, that is a hint at the level (or lack thereof) of interest in the available starting pitching. Discounting the notion that Jacob deGrom and Thor are being considered in trades, the potential starters available are J.A. Happ, Matt Harvey, Cole Hamels, Jake Odorizzi, Ervin Santana (if he can prove in the next two weeks he is healthy), Lance Lynn, Tyson Ross, Dan Straily, and Bartolo Colon. Zach Wheeler also looks to be moved. Boston , NYY, and Seattle are all in on Wheeler. Somebody will make a play at Michael Fulmer (NYY?), and if the Tigers pay most of the remaining contract, Jordan Zimmerman. The Cardinals have hinted that Carlos Martinez could be available. I do not see anybody making a play for Danny Duffy or James Shields. I know I am leaving many out, because the ML is full of mediocre pitching.
There will be a ton of rumors about Chris Archer, and none of them will pan out.
Mike Moustakas is as good as gone from the Royals and Whit Merrifield is drawing considerable interest. The Royals seem inclined to hold on to him right now. The Braves/Phillies/Boston/St. Louis/NYY have all shown interest in Moose. If a team wants to take a look at Lucas Duda, Dayton Moore will pick up the phone very quickly.
The Reds want to build around home town favorite Scooter Gennett, and I do not believe they really want to trade Raisel Iglesias. But Matt Harvey will be relocating a 2nd time this season.
Who knows who is available with the Fish. Realmuto, Barraclough, Steckenrider, Conley, Straily, Ziegler, Castro…They would love to move Ziegler and Castro, but they are not likely unless the Fish pony up $$$, which they will not do.
If I were Preller of the Padres I would not consider trading Brad Hand unless there was a big time haul. Hand will be under contract at the time the Pads will be contending. I do think Kirby Yates and Craig Stamman could be moved. But if the Astros or Indians want to overpay for Brad Hand, Preller will bite.
NYY needs a starting pitcher, and will get one. They are pretty locked in elsewhere. They will take another reliever, especially if it keeps him away from the BoSox.
Boston could use a 3B and depending on how Eduardo Rodriguez’s ankle is, they will look at a starter. They will also look for another high leverage reliever to set up Kimbrel.
Seattle needs a starting pitcher and have been tied to Zach Wheeler and Matt Harvey. They could use a CF, but will not be desperate. If they can upgrade over Span they will but not for an overpay. They will also look at relievers.
Oakland will be looking for bargains. Lance Lynn and Fernando Rodney are the type of players Beane will look at.
Cleveland will be looking at relief, relief, and more relief. If they can find a 2B and move Kipnis to LF that would be a huge plus, but it is not critical.
DBacks need a SS and or 3B. They do not have the prospects for Machado, but they will be in on Jose Iglesias and Eduardo Escobar (for 3B). They will also try to beef up their bullpen.
The Rox will want to be sellers more than buyers. They will move CarGo, and may look to move Wade Davis to one of the top contenders. Adam Ottavino will assume closing and is doing just fine this year. If they can get Lucas Duda cheaply enough, he would be a perfect platoon with Ian Desmond at 1B.
SF does not have much money to spend, and they do not have the farm to go get quality relief, so it is possible they stand pat, but I can see them going for some more middle relief. They will certainly check in on Adam Conley. One rumor I find hard to believe is Jeurys Familia. Familia takes them over the luxury tax. It will probably cost them Chris Shaw, something they do not want to do. IMO, this is just sports writer’s speculation.
The Brewers need a SS which is why they are going big for Machado. They are a huge surprise team (at least to me), and I am not sure that Stearns believes they can duplicate 2018 in 2019. Their starting pitching is suspect and they would probably have to send Corbin Burnes as part of a package to Baltimore if they want Machado. It would not make sense to trade a starting pitcher for Machado when your starting pitching is suspect. They are not trading Hiura. I am sure they are trying to make available Luis Ortiz (RHP), Freddy Peralta (RHP), Brett Phillips (OF), and maybe Lucas Erceg (3B). Mix and Match. But it is not the pitching the O’s need.
Cubs will be looking to find a legit 8th inning setup reliever for Morrow.
St. Louis has a great young pitching rotation that should flourish next year. If they can get Moose at the right price they will look at that. But they will not be big time buyers or sellers.
Braves and Phillies are a year early and they will look to upgrade but will not go crazy, except for the Phillies and Machado. It is rumored that the Phillies are offering pitchers like RHP Adonis Medina (Phillies #2), Franklyn Kilome (Phillies #7), and Cole Irvin (Phillies #22). I am sure the O’s want all three for Machado, but I doubt the Phillies feel that generous. Maybe the O’s will require 2 of them and one of SS Arquemedes Gamboa (Phillies #8) or OF Jhaylin Ortiz (Phillies #5). Sixto Sanchez is about as untouchable as Walker Buehler. Bottom line the Phillies have the pitching and a middle infielder to make it happen if they want to. The Phillies also believe they will outbid everyone for Machado in the off-season, so he will not be a rental, and are willing to go a little higher on the prospect cost.
The Braves will wait to look at Machado in the off-season, but not now. They certainly have the pitchers to go for it, but they are not going to move them for a rental. They could be in on Moose, Eduardo Escobar, or Asdrubal Cabrera for 3B. They have no problem for a rental because Austin Riley should be ready to go in 2019.
Depending as to who you ask, the Dodgers need a big middle of the order bat and multiple relievers, or NOTHING at all. If the Dodgers do not want to include Dustin May they certainly are not about to include Buehler/Ferguson/Santana/White in a trade for Machado. Nobody is going to want Alvarez except as a lottery ticket. There is also no room luxury tax wise to make it happen. Without Machado, there are not a lot of options out there. I do not see Iglesias/Escobar/Cabrera/Galvis as upgrades. Iglesias is a defensive upgrade, and I would certainly consider him but not at a big cost.
I do not believe they will outbid the Astros or Indians or Boston for Barraclough/Hand/Steckenrider. I do think they will look at Adam Conley. If the A’s make Lou Trevino available, the Dodgers may be able to work something out with them.
I see the Dodgers potentially more as sellers. FAZ needs to make room for Verdugo to show what he can do the final two months of the season. He needs to play every day, and can play LF, CF, or RF. Once Verdugo is moved up, then Diaz can move to AAA. But that means that either Joc, Toles, or Puig will need to be moved. That is the only way to get Verdugo in the lineup. I know some are not high on Alex, but the Dodgers are heavily invested in him, just by refusing to include him for players that can help this year. The Dodgers need to let him put bat to ball and not worry about power. They need baserunners for the big boppers to get a 2 run HR once in a while. More than anything, he needs Chase Utley in his ear. Whether Verdugo listens will dictate how far he goes.
The other potential sell is my favorite, Alex Wood. He is due to be a FA after 2019, and the Dodgers do not seem at all interested in extending him, and I do not blame them. With NYY, Boston, and Seattle really wanting starting pitching, and Cleveland who may be looking for the next Andrew Miller, there are four AL teams that could use Alex Wood. If FAZ told them Wood was available, there might be a decent return. He certainly would be one of the prize starting pitchers at the deadline, and with one more year of control than the rentals. Maybe Andrew can entice the Rays to look at him. The Rays are also not shy on extending contracts, and have prospects the Dodgers may be able to use. Quintana had more years of control, but something just lower than Q may be possible??? How much more would it take to get Lucius Fox (SS) and Nick Solak (2B). You want speed? Those two guys have it to burn, and they are positions of need. Is Wood/Alvarez/Estevez a fair trade? I would interchange Rios, but with a young Jake Bauers a LH 1B with the Rays, there is not the need. The Rays need an outfielder badly. Maybe Joc, Toles, or Puig can entice them.
Yesterday Mark alluded to the plethora of Dodgers relievers that could fit better on somebody else’s team, even if the return is a lottery pick.
Like Mark, I do not believe anything I read, but I do not expect the Dodgers to be overly active at the deadline. They will kick the tires and make all sorts of inquiries, but they will end up with Adam Conley or Jared Hughes or David Hernandez, and they will keep almost all of their top 30 prospects, if not all.
Eric Clapton is my favorite living guitarist, second only to the immortal Jimi Hendrix, so maybe Mark can include a video of Eric’s Crossroads.