2:40pm: Outfielder Brett Phillips is one prospect who could go from the Brewers to the Orioles in a potential trade package, reports ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). Phillips doesn’t have a clear path to playing time in an outfield mix that has Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Ryan Braun, Eric Thames and Domingo Santana, but he’s more or less big league ready and could give Baltimore a potential replacement for Adam Jones in center field. Crasnick notes that Jones, a free agent at season’s end and a trade candidate in his own right, wouldn’t stay in center field beyond 2018 even if he ultimately returned to the O’s.
Phillips, 24, is in his second season at the Triple-A level and has batted a combined .280/.359/.498 with 23 homers and 20 steals through 716 plate appearances at that level. He entered the season ranked as the game’s No. 80 overall prospect, per Baseball America.
9:34am: Morosi now tweets that in addition to Buehler and Verdugo, the Dodgers are also unlikely to include Ruiz in a trade for a rental player.
8:50am: The Manny Machado saga continues to be the focal point of Major League Baseball’s rumor mill and appeared to take a step forward over the weekend. Seven teams have reportedly made offers for Machado, with the Dodgers and Brewers now reported to be the most serious suitors. Today, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi takes a look at those top two teams and the manner in which each lines up with Baltimore as a trade partner.
Morosi echoes a prior report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, writing that he hears Dodgers Class-A right-hander Dustin May is of particular interest to the Orioles. So, too, is Double-A catcher Keibert Ruiz, whom Baseball America recently dubbed the No. 26 prospect in all of baseball. It’s not clear how willing the Dodgers are to part with either player, though Morosi notes that L.A. would be reluctant to trade away either Walker Buehler or Alex Verdugo for a half-season of Machado (or any rental player).
The Brewers, however, appear to be a better fit in terms of the type of MLB-ready arms that they can offer, Morosi observes. Corbin Burnes and Luis Ortiz are both on the cusp of MLB readiness (to say nothing of Brandon Woodruff), and the Brewers have multiple players with MLB experience that have been back and forth between Triple-A and the Majors this season, including Orlando Arcia, Domingo Santana and Keon Broxton.
Meanwhile, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports that some of the teams who’ve approached the Orioles have expressed interest in package deals involving both Machado and one of the Orioles’ relievers — Zach Britton, Brad Brach and Mychal Givens, specifically. The Orioles are open to packaging Machado and Britton or Machado and Brach in order to enhance a potential return, per Kubatko, but the team’s preference would be to hang onto Givens, who is controlled through 2021.
It’s certainly easy to understand why the O’s would prefer to hang onto Givens, whose stock is down from last year thanks to worsened control an a half-mile-per-hour dip in his average fastball velocity. There’s no urgency to trade him as there would be with Brach or the struggling Britton, each of whom is a free agent at season’s end. If Givens is finishes the season strongly or turns things around in 2019, his value could take a substantial step forward given that remaining club control. Of course, there’s also a case to be made that the O’s should be amenable to the idea of trading virtually anyone on the roster, given the poor quality of the farm system and the sizable gap between them and the Yankees and Red Sox — not only in 2018 but over the next few seasons as Baltimore reshapes its roster.