While the ongoing television rights dispute between the Orioles and Nationals has been out of the news for some time, that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any action behind the scenes. Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun recently provided a notable update on the situation. While the Baltimore organization has “grown weary of battling Major League Baseball over the [MASN] network” and has tried to work out a settlement, there’s still no resolution. At present, there’s no indication that the stalemate will be broken voluntarily; barring a change in that dynamic, the next big event on the calendar is a scheduled arbitration hearing in November.
Here’s the latest from the AL East:
- The Yankees may be the “main player” for Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, per Jon Heyman of Fancred (via Twitter). Not only is Happ arguably the best rental starter on the market, but it seems the Yanks hold him in high regard. They won’t be alone in pursuing the Toronto southpaw, however. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that the Jays are directing some scouting resources toward the Brewers farm system, perhaps in anticipation of interest from the Milwaukee organization.
- Fellow Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada left last night’s game with a sore hip, as MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm was among those to tweet. For now, the severity isn’t known, though perhaps it’s promising that the Toronto organization made a roster transaction today but did not feel compelled to rush Estrada onto the disabled list. As we recently examined, Estrada’s strong performance of late has made him seem increasingly like a potential trade candidate this summer, but he’ll only be a useful asset for the Jays if he’s in good health.
- Orioles third baseman Manny Machado is said to be drawing wide and increasingly active interest from a variety of rival organizations. That’s no surprise, as he’s a mid-prime rental asset of rare ability. The Diamondbacks have held “consistent” talks with the Baltimore organization, per MLB.com’s Jon Morosi (Twitter links), which largely confirms the steady stream of reports we’ve seen on Arizona’s engagement. Morosi adds that the O’s are interested in young D-Backs prospect Jon Duplantier, whose current injury has “complicated” efforts to put together a package that suits both teams. It’s hard to gauge to what extent Duplantier’s status will impact the broader Machado situation, in no small part because it is not apparent whether he’s a player the Snakes would be willing to part with for a rental. Meanwhile, the Braves do have some interest in Machado, Morosi also tweets, but are mostly exploring the market for “controllable relievers” at the moment. Again, that dovetails with what we’ve heard out of Atlanta in recent weeks.