The Diamondbacks have once again checked in with the Orioles on Manny Machado, primarily as a matter of due diligence, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com. There’s little surprise there, given that the Snakes were oft-linked to Machado in the offseason and were reportedly one of the more interested parties in obtaining his services. Beyond that, Arizona has received limited offensive contributions from both the third base (.216/.313/.394) and shortstop (.232/.296/.442) positions so far in 2018. The D-backs are currently hanging onto a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West, and adding someone of Machado’s caliber would be reminiscent of last season’s J.D. Martinez acquisition, though Machado has more defensive value even with poor ratings at shortstop so far in 2018.
More trade talk from around the league…
- Morosi also tweets that Blue Jays righty Ryan Tepera is generating trade interest. It stands to reason that virtually every player of even modest value on Toronto’s roster will draw inquiries, of course, considering that the team is 16 games out of first place in the AL East and is facing a similarly bleak outlook in the Wild Card standings. Morosi notes Tepera’s career-best K/9 rate in 2018, though in this instance, that hardly seems like a reason to expect his value to increase; Tepera’s 9.5 K/9 mark is only nominally higher than last year’s 9.4 K/9, and his overall 26.8 strikeout percentage compares favorably to last year’s 25.4 percent mark. Tepera has made modest gains across the board in terms of fastball velocity (95.3 mph), swinging-strike rate (13.9 percent) and chase rate (34.2 percent), but his greater appeal is simply one of club control. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason and controlled cheaply through the 2021 season. Tepera will turn 31 this winter, which won’t enhance his appeal, but he’s a hard-thrower with a 3.27 ERA and 137 strikeouts against 51 walks in his past 132 MLB innings.
- The Braves didn’t make a strong effort to acquire Kelvin Herrera before he was traded to the division-rival Nationals, tweets David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. While the Atlanta front office liked Herrera’s arm very much, O’Brien notes that assuming his remaining $4.4MM salary (which the Nats were willing to do) would’ve burned through the majority of the funds the team has available to upgrade via trade this summer. That would seem to suggest that the Braves may struggle to land any big-budget players as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches. Certainly, given the team’s place atop the NL East standings, they’ll look to improve to whatever extent possible, but it appears that finances will be a fairly notable factor in any moves the team does make.
- There’s a widespread expectation that the Padres will sell some pieces this summer, but Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription link) takes a deeper look at a factor that could push the Friars into activity: the Rule 5 Draft. San Diego has more than a dozen prospects who’ll be Rule 5 eligible this offseason, Lin observes, which could create further motivation to open some spots on the 40-man by moving assets that are controlled beyond the 2018 season. Brad Hand, Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen all fit that bill and have all already drawn trade interest, Lin writes, and the Padres could also shop outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Travis Jankowski to other clubs as well. Lin speaks with general manager A.J. Preller at length about the upcoming roster crunch in a thorough look at some of the decisions the club will face in the not-too-distant future.