If Josh Donaldson is able to return from the DL soon and display some of his usual form, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman writes that the Blue Jays might yet be able to trade the third baseman before August ends. In this scenario, the Indians are “perhaps the most realistic landing spot.” Jays president Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins have ties to Cleveland and knowledge of the franchise’s prospects, plus the Tribe was trying to make a splash at the deadline by checking in on big names like Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. Acquiring Donaldson would allow Cleveland to move Jose Ramirez to second, and Jason Kipnis into the outfield to help shore up the Tribe’s outfield depth. Heyman also lists the Cardinals, Braves, Cubs (if Kris Bryant’s shoulder keeps him on the DL), and Red Sox as potential suitors for Donaldson, though Boston seems like the longest shot of that group.
Here’s more from Heyman, via his weekly notes column…
- The Braves “check in on just about everyone” in trade talks and were involved in many discussions around the deadline. While Atlanta swung two deals with the Orioles for Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day, and Brad Brach, Heyman writes that “the player the Braves really wanted was Manny Machado.” The Dodgers acquired Machado during the All-Star break, and at that time, the Braves weren’t entirely sure they were contenders, so they didn’t make the blockbuster offer to land the infielder.
- Heyman also connects the Braves to Zack Wheeler, noting that they and the Brewers looked to have the most interest in the Mets right-hander. Neither team was close to actually landing Wheeler, however.
- The Orioles originally hoped to land a trade package for Gausman similar to what the A’s received for Sonny Gray at last year’s trade deadline, though as Heyman puts it, “the reality is that Gray was thriving in Oakland when dealt while Gausman has been perpetually average.” Baltimore ended up moving Gausman and O’Day to the Braves for four relatively unheralded prospects, though the O’s saved a lot of payroll space and obtained some international bonus pool funds.
- The Nationals received calls from “about eight teams” about Bryce Harper when rumors arose around the trade deadline that Washington was at least open to considering dealing the star outfielder. Despite the interest in Harper’s services, it doesn’t seem like talks got very far with any suitor, as the Nats were understandably hesitant about dealing Harper whatsoever. The Indians were the only team known to have shown interest in Harper.
- The Athletics added some needed starting pitching by acquiring Mike Fiers from the Tigers this week, though Heyman wonders why the Mariners didn’t block their divisional and wild card rivals by putting a waiver claim on Fiers themselves. The A’s were already known to have interest in Fiers prior to the trade deadline, and since Seattle was behind Oakland in the standings when Fiers was on waivers, the M’s had first dibs on claiming the right-hander. Heyman wonders if the Mariners simply weren’t interested in Fiers actually ending up on their roster, if Detroit had let the claim stand in order to get his remaining salary off their payroll. Of course, an extra arm might look pretty good to the Mariners right about now, given how the team is without a stable fifth starter now that Felix Hernandez is out of the rotation.
- Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman’s chances of winning the full-time job look to be increasing, as team owner Bob Castellini is reportedly “a big fan” of the veteran skipper. Cincinnati has posted a 47-50 record since Riggleman took over from Bryan Price, who was fired after the Reds stumbled out of the gate with a 3-15 start to the season.