Trade rumblings around Orioles righty Brad Brach have settled down in the wake of Zach Britton’s Achillies injury, as Baltimore will be turning to Brach as closer for at least half of the 2018 season. As Brach explained in an appearance on 105.7 The Fan’s “Orioles Hot Stove Show” (hat tip to MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko), however, he doesn’t mind being part of the speculation.
“I definitely pay attention to it and it’s easy to do in the offseason because it’s not affecting your work,” Brach said. “You don’t have to go in the mornings and go to MLBTradeRumors or turn on MLB Network and see your name and go to the park that night and pitch. The offseason you have all day and all night to kind of just sit there and mess around. And being from New Jersey, a lot of my friends are my fans, and as soon as my name got brought up I had a group text message and there were probably 50 text messages sent to me in about three minutes, so it’s hard to ignore it and especially in the offseason. I kind of like it. It’s fun. It kind of makes these winter months not drag as much.”
Thanks for the shoutout, Brad, even if MLBTR might not be causing quite as many text explosions in the near future. Some more from around the AL East…
- “The Orioles actually like (Jacoby) Ellsbury a little,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, though several hurdles stand in the way of the Yankees managing to deal the veteran outfielder. New York would have to eat the big majority of the $68.5MM remaining on Ellsbury’s contract, and he may prefer to only waive his no-trade protection for a deal that would send him closer to his home in Arizona. Ellsbury-to-Baltimore was first floated by the Yankees as part of trade talks about Manny Machado, though obviously the O’s would need a lot more than Ellsbury for such a deal given how Ellsbury has struggled in each of the last three seasons. While the Orioles’ interest in Ellsbury may be muted, his addition would bring more left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup and also perhaps open the door for Adam Jones to shift to right field.
- Ellsbury’s deal is the biggest obstacle facing the Yankees in their desire to both make further upgrades (including some potential big names) to their roster while also staying until the $197MM competitive balance tax threshold. Since an Ellsbury trade could be a tall order, Sherman writes that David Robertson might be the biggest trade chip “within reason” that would allow the Bronx Bombers to both move a large salary and score a quality return. Robertson is owed $13MM in 2018, his final year under contract, and Sherman wonders if a closer-needy team like the Cardinals would part with MLB-ready young talent for Robertson’s services. This does seem to be speculation, however, as Sherman notes that the Yankees have shown no willingness to trade from their loaded bullpen, plus Robertson is a closer-in-waiting should Aroldis Chapman get injured.
- The Red Sox are reportedly wary of giving J.D. Martinez more than five guaranteed years, which is a justifiable stance given how often longer-term contracts have backfired on teams (including the Sox themselves). WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford, however, presents the counterpoint, noting that an elite hitter like Martinez is a safer investment for a six- or seven-year deal since clubs like the Red Sox can eventually move him to a DH role. Boston has a clear need for a middle-of-the-order bat now, which Bradford feels Martinez can certainly fill in the short term given that the slugger (despite some recent injuries) has shown no signs of slowing down at the plate. MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents list predicted that Martinez would indeed land a contract beyond the five-year threshold, pegging him for six years and $150MM.