If Orioles shortstop Manny Machado becomes a free agent in the offseason, “the Cubs would be high on his list because of his friendship with Albert Almora,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears. Machado and Almora, the Cubs’ center fielder, have been close friends since childhood – something David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune detailed back in 2016. The two may end up on the same team as early as this summer, given the high likelihood the Orioles will trade Machado and the speculation linking him to the Cubs. Although, team president Theo Epstein threw cold water on Machado-to-Chicago rumors last month.
More from Cafardo…
- The Astros are maintaining interest in Orioles reliever Zach Britton, according to Cafardo. Houston agreed to acquire Britton prior to last year’s trade deadline, but the swap fell apart thanks to medical concerns the Orioles had regarding other players in the deal. The Astros went on to win a World Series without Britton, whose value took a hit over the winter when he suffered a ruptured Achilles. The impending free agent just came off the disabled list earlier this week and, with the Orioles well out of contention, is now auditioning for other teams as the July 31 non-waiver deadline nears. With a righty-heavy bullpen, the Astros may make sense for Britton, though southpaw Tony Sipp has enjoyed a bounce-back season and their relief corps has been elite versus left-handed hitters.
- Athletics closer Blake Treinen is “likely to be available,” Cafardo writes in a separate piece. The A’s aren’t under pressure to move Treinen, who’s controllable via arbitration through 2020 and on a cheap salary ($2.15MM) this season. But both Treinen’s team control and his excellent pitching will make him a sought-after piece if Oakland does show a willingness to move him. The 29-year-old has been a premier reliever this season over a 32-inning span, during which he has logged a 1.13 ERA with 10.41 K/9, 2.81 BB/9 and a 49.4 percent groundball rate. Treinen has also converted 14 of 16 save opportunities.
- Free-agent first basemen Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez aren’t drawing much interest at the moment, per Cafardo. Ramirez reached the open market when the Red Sox released him June 1, while the Mets parted with Gonzalez last Sunday. Despite their accomplished track records, neither player has been all that productive at the plate since 2017, nor have they brought much value in the field or on the bases. Further, they’re each on the wrong end of the aging curve (Ramirez is 34, Gonzalez 36). With all of that considered, it’s not surprising they’re having difficulty finding work.