Here’s the latest from Ken Rosenthal’s weekend news updates FOX Sports (all video links)…
- Given the Braves’ third base vacancy, Rosenthal believes the team “will at least check in on Manny Machado” prior to the trade deadline. Machado would seem like a perfect fit for an Atlanta team that is looking to stay in the postseason race, plus his impending free agency wouldn’t make him a long-term block at the hot corner for top prospect Austin Riley. Acquiring Machado from the Orioles would require a heavy prospect cost, however, and Rosenthal wonders if the Braves might instead use their minor leaguers to acquire a frontline starting pitcher, since they’ll be pursuing such an arm anyway in the offseason. The Braves’ prospect capital could also be used to try and pry J.T. Realmuto away from the Marlins, as Realmuto would provide a longer-term answer behind the plate than the Braves’ veteran tandem of Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers (who are both free agents this winter).
- Even after designating Hanley Ramirez for assignment and sidestepping his potential $22MM salary for 2019, Rosenthal notes that next year’s Red Sox could still be approaching the maximum penalty limit for surpassing the luxury tax threshold. If the Sox were more than $40MM over next year’s $206MM tax threshold, they would face up to a 90 percent tax on the overages and their top pick in the 2019 draft would drop by ten positions. Boston already has over $137MM committed next season towards seven players, plus Pablo Sandoval and Rusney Castillo. Beyond that $137MM already on the books, Chris Sale’s $13.5MM club option is a no-brainer to be exercised, Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts are on pace for huge arbitration raises, and key players like Craig Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz are free agents.
- “The Rays keep playing for tomorrow and tomorrow never seems to come,” Rosenthal says about Tampa Bay’s constant need to trade high-priced players due to the team’s salary limitations. This payroll need may be impacting the team’s ability to get the best possible return for their veteran players. For instance, in the Rays’ recent swap that sent Alex Colome and Denard Span to the Mariners, Rosenthal wonders if the Rays could’ve gotten more for Colome if they hadn’t attached Span’s heftier remaining salary to the deal. Tampa might have been able to get a bigger return for Colome last offseason given all of the interest he drew from other teams, and the same could potentially be said for Chris Archer, given how the right-hander’s slow start may have dimmed his trade value.