New York Yankees – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-07-20T11:43:34Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Activate Gary Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127786 2018-07-20T02:32:05Z 2018-07-20T02:32:05Z The Yankees have activated catcher Gary Sanchez heading out of the All-Star break, per a club announcement. Backstop Kyle Higashioka was optioned to clear a roster spot.

Sanchez ended up missing just under a month with a groin strain. Higashioka produced good power numbers (.500 SLG) while joining with Austin Romine to fill in for Sanchez, but managed only a .242 OBP. Clearly, the Yanks will be pleased to welcome back one of their most talented players.

In addition to getting up to full speed after the injury, Sanchez will be looking to get his offensive numbers back to where they were in prior seasons. He’s slashing just .190/.291/.433 on the year, well off his 2016-17 output, with 14 home runs in his 265 plate appearances.

Of course, that’s still within range of league-average overall production despite the fact that Sanchez owns only a .194 batting average on balls in play. Notably, he is credited by Statcast with a .369 xwOBA that dwarfs his .311 wOBA. Clearly, it’s reasonable to expect some positive regression in the second half.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dodgers, Orioles Reportedly In Agreement On Manny Machado Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127605 2018-07-18T12:12:33Z 2018-07-18T05:08:37Z 12:08am: Michael Duarte of NBC Sports L.A. tweets that right-handed pitching prospect Dustin May, long reported to be a target of the O’s, is expected to change hands in the deal. Double-A infielder/outfielder Errol Robinson is also believed to be included, per Duarte.

That said, Heyman casts doubt on the inclusion of May, tweeting that the Dodgers’ unwillingness to part with him was the driving factor for structuring a deal around Diaz.

11:22pm: Heyman tweets that the players in the deal are agreed upon, though there could yet be some medical reviews to be finalized. Notably, he suggests that there are “believed to be” five minor leaguers going to the Orioles, though obviously the quality of those five will vary. It’s still unclear who, outside of Diaz, is going to the Orioles in the deal, but Heyman adds that there’s no cash changing hands in the trade. That won’t yet put Los Angeles over the luxury tax line, however. Machado is owed about $6.45MM through season’s end, and the Dodgers were about $15MM south of the luxury tax line prior to this agreement.

9:15pm: Rosenthal tweets that Machado to the Dodgers is indeed happening. Diaz will go back to the Orioles as one of the pieces in the deal. It’s not yet clear which other players are involved or how much money (if any) the O’s are sending to the Dodgers along with Machado.

Meanwhile, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko cautions that he hears a deal isn’t “done,” though that seems to be largely a matter of semantics. Kubatko notes that the All-Star Game has been a significant impediment to the deal’s completion. He adds that upon inquiring as to whether the deal could be completed tomorrow, one source replied: “It could have been tomorrow for the last 2 weeks.”

While any deal can unexpectedly crumble before it’s formally announced — Baltimore axed a deal that would’ve sent Zach Britton to the Astros at the last minute last July, for instance — the overwhelming consensus at this point seems to be that Machado will be a Dodger by the time the regular season resumes on Friday.

6:17pm: The Orioles’ return from the Dodgers is expected to consist only of prospects, Rosenthal further tweets. L.A. won’t send anyone from its Major League roster to the O’s barring a last-minute change. As such, if the Dodgers are going to move a big league asset such as Forsythe for luxury tax purposes, that’ll come in a separate trade, it seems.

5:08pm: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that “several” other clubs who’ve been involved in the bidding are expecting the Dodgers to land Machado. The Dodgers are “increasingly likely” to acquire Machado, per Rosenthal. Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times, meanwhile, tweets that the Dodgers are believed to be close on a Machado deal.

4:16pm: Machado tells reporters that he has not heard anything today from either the Orioles or his agent regarding a trade (Twitter link via Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times).

12:48pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Dodgers are the club with the framework of a deal in place. But the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Scott Lauber tweets that the Phillies are still “aggressively motivated” and optimistic of landing Machado.

11:10am: The Dodgers have indeed offered to include Diaz, Heyman tweets.

10:17am: Heyman provides a few more hints regarding the possible connection (Twitter links). One chip to keep an eye on is Dodgers outfielder Yusniel Diaz, he suggests. Working out the money may also mean that an expensive veteran player could head back to Baltimore in a potential deal, Heyman adds. On paper, at least, Logan Forsythe would seem the obvious player to utilize in that regard. Sending salary back to Baltimore would obviously mean that Los Angeles would need to sweeten the return.

8:05am: The Dodgers “appear to be the leading contender” to acquire Orioles infielder Manny Machado, according to Jon Heyman of Fancred (Twitter link). That said, there’s still no deal in place and Heyman adds that “the situation is fluid.”

As we’ve traced this key trade deadline story in recent weeks, multiple teams have emerged at one point or another as supposed “favorites” or “leaders” to add Machado. All along, we’ve also heard reporters caution that many clubs aren’t yet sure just when the O’s will make a decision. And with two weeks yet to go, it’s still plausible to imagine that they’ll continue to wait.

Thus, while Heyman says a “deal should be done this week,” he adds an important proviso (“barring turnabout”). And while this latest report indicates the Dodgers are homing in on Machado, it was reported late last night that the Phillies were surging into the lead by dangling one of their best pitching prospects.

Before that, the Brewers were reputedly part of a trio of leaders, and Heyman tweets that the Milwaukee organization remains a possibility. He adds that the Diamondbacks — another team once deemed the favorite by some — are also still on the periphery. And who could forget that, less than a week ago, we were learning of a surprise Yankees surge. Perhaps it should not surprise if other teams manage to vault back into the conversation, too.

There are plenty of ways to interpret all this, of course. It could be that the Dodgers are indeed lining up to get Machado. Or, maybe it’s the Phils that are doing so. Perhaps the Orioles really are preparing to strike a deal coming out of the All-Star break, a seemingly sensible approach that would avoid further injury risk. Or, it might be that the steady stream of horse racing metaphors is an indication that the Orioles are seeing how far they can push the bidding, comfortable in the knowledge that they can still move the finish line back a few more times.

From Machado’s perspective, as Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes, it’s hard to play through the “distractions.” The longtime O’s star says he wishes he knew more about where he might be headed, but adds that VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette “has been doing a really good job of trying to keep us informed as much as he can.” Machado also gave something of a preview of his anticipated approach to free agency this coming winter, saying he’ll be looking to figure out where he and his family will be “happy” rather than maximizing his earnings.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Report: Orioles Working Through Medicals On Machado Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127610 2018-07-17T14:49:48Z 2018-07-17T14:40:52Z The Orioles are “going through the medicals/paperwork” in an effort to finalize an agreement with an unknown team, per ESPN.com’s Buster Olney (Twitter link). While the “structure of a deal [is] in place,” Olney also stresses that “this in [sic] not finished yet.”

Despite the cautionary language, it’s obviously quite notable that the Baltimore organization has reached this point with another club. While numerous past arrangements have blown up at this stage — the O’s, especially, are notorious for finding health concerns — the exchange of medical information represents a significant step that would not take place without a clear path to a completed transaction.

Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun had tweeted this morning that a deal was likely to be wrapped up by the end of the All-Star break. But it seems talks may be rather more advanced than that. It’d be quite a surprise, needless to say, if anything is finalized before Machado appears in his O’s uniform in today’s All-Star Game. But it now seems we’ll watch a fascinating trade situation unfold on a major stage for the game.

We heard last night that the Phillies were coming forward with a big offer. Then, it emerged this morning that the Dodgers appeared to be the favorite. Meanwhile, it seems the Yankees are largely bowing out of the process, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

That mix of reporting provides the most recent series of clues as to just where the Machado sweepstakes may be headed. It’s unclear which organization is best situated to land him, let alone for what package of players, but it now seems reasonable to expect that we’ll learn the answers to those questions in relatively short order.

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Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Interested In Ross, Hand, Yates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127519 2018-07-15T23:29:38Z 2018-07-15T23:29:38Z There is some uncertainty within the trade market for starting pitching, as contenders could wait until closer to the July 31st deadline to make a move for an arm just in case new trade candidates become available, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  Some executives and scouts who spoke to Sherman at the Futures Game cited such names as the Cardinals’ Carlos Martinez, and the AngelsTyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney as potential hurlers that could join the market in the next week or two.  We’ve already heard of the Yankees’ potential interest in Skaggs and Heaney, and Martinez’s ability and years of control (potentially through 2023 via club options on his five-year, $51MM contract) would make him the most sought-after pitcher available if the Cards did indeed shop him.  Dealing a long-term piece like Martinez, however, would be an awfully bold move for a St. Louis club that would seem to still have designs on competing in 2019, and may not have yet thrown in the towel on getting back into this year’s playoff race.  The Cardinals are certainly a team to closely monitor to see if a turn-around is possible under their new manager, or, if they are deadline sellers, just how big a selloff could be in the offing.

[SOURCE LINK]

  • The Yankees are one of the many teams who have checked in with the Padres about Tyson Ross, Brad Hand, and Kirby Yates.  New York was already been linked to Hand in rumors, and it makes sense that the team would also inquire about another talented reliever in Yates, who would come at a lower asking price.  Ross has posted solid numbers (4.32 ERA, 8.06 K/9, 2.26 K/BB rate over 108 1/3 IP) as he finally looks to be recovered from the shoulder issues and eventual thoracic outlet syndrome surgery that limited him to only 54 1/3 innings in 2016-17.  Since Ross is only signed to a minor league deal, his modest salary makes him attractive to all suitors, particularly to a Yankees club that is trying to bolster its rotation without passing the luxury tax threshold.
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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers Reportedly In Lead For Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127274 2018-07-15T20:00:58Z 2018-07-15T19:59:20Z JULY 15, 2:59pm: The Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers are indeed in the lead for Machado, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but a source tells him “it’s too close to call” whose offer is the best. The Braves are still alive, adds Encina, who writes that “the strength of the Yankees’ offer appears to have been exaggerated.”

2:32pm: The Yankees are still “serious” about acquiring Machado, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears.

1:37pm: The Orioles continue progressing toward a deal, tweets Olney, who echoes Heyman in suggesting the Phillies, Brewers and Dodgers are the three most likely clubs to acquire Machado. Olney omits the Yankees and Indians, however.

9:06am: The Brewers have made a “good offer” for Machado, Heyman tweets, adding that they “appear” to join the Phillies and Dodgers as the most likely landing spots for the shortstop. The Yankees and Indians are also still alive, Heyman suggests.

JULY 14, 5:44pm: The Orioles are “definitely motivated” to get a deal done as soon as possible, Olney adds, citing an evaluator who is familiar with trade discussions.

5:14pm: The Orioles are “making progress and narrowing their focus” in Machado trade talks, Buster Olney of ESPN tweets. The Phillies and Brewers are said to be among the finalists; it isn’t clear who the other finalist(s) might be at this time.

1:19pm: The Phillies are “thought to be” ahead of the Yankees “and maybe most others” in the Machado derby, Heyman tweets. The Brewers, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Indians remain in the mix, though, per Heyman.

JULY 13, 6:30pm: Rosenthal adds on Twitter that the O’s are taking a closer look at the Philadelphia farm. And Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets that there has been “some progress” between the sides

That said, there’s some uncertainty among teams pursuing Machado as to when the O’s intend to make a decision, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter links). While the club is said to “have a pretty good idea what [Machado] can bring” back in a trade, it seems that some suitors are wondering if the Orioles won’t wait to act until the deadline gets closer.

12:55pm: The Phillies have improved their offer to the Orioles for star infielder Manny Machado, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). In recent days, the Brewers, Dodgers and Yankees have been categorized as the favorites to land Machado. However, Rosenthal suggests that while the Dodgers and Yankees have the strongest offers on the table, the Brewers are beginning to fade from the mix, while the Diamondbacks are, at this point, “on [the] periphery” of the market.

Regarding the Yankees’ interest in Machado, some have considered it a questionable fit given the presence of Miguel Andujar and Didi Gregorius on the roster. Rosenthal, though, echoes recent suggestions from MLB.com’s Jon Morosi that it’s at least possible that Andujar could be utilized as the centerpiece of a trade to acquire a controllable piece in the rotation, thus opening a spot for Machado. There are questions about Andujar’s defense, Rosenthal notes, which is borne out in defensive ratings (-12 Defensive Runs Saved, -7 Ultimate Zone Rating).

Suffice it to say, there are plenty of moving parts on the Machado front. Baltimore has been said to be keen on acquiring controllable starting pitching, and the Phillies have plenty of options in that regard, as do the Brewers, Yankees and Dodgers.

It’s not yet clear what, precisely, the Phillies (or any team) is willing to offer up, though the Phils have intriguing young rotation pieces in the form of Zach Eflin and Enyel De Los Santos, each of whom has already pitched in the Majors this season (extensively so, in Eflin’s case). Right-handers Sixto Sanchez and Adonis Medina are each considered to be among the game’s top 75 or so prospects, and the Phils have a number of MLB-ready back-of-the-rotation options on the 40-man roster who could be secondary pieces (e.g. Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Drew Anderson, Mark Leiter Jr.)

Regarding the Yankees’ scenario, while some fans would undoubtedly bristle at the very notion of moving Andujar, third base is a position of depth for the Yanks, who still have Brandon Drury as an option who could step onto the big league roster following the season, should that scenario ultimately play out. Of course, the Yankees also figure to be prominent players in the offseason market to acquire Machado this winter, and if they’re successful in that regard, Andujar would’ve potentially been viewed as an expendable piece anyhow. As ever, it’s worth emphasizing that that’s one of numerous scenarios that’s likely being kicked around at this juncture.

As for the Brewers, they’ve previously been said to be among the most aggressive suitors, but right-hander Corbin Burnes, one of the Orioles’ targets, could prove to be a sticking point in those talks. Tom Haudircourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel took a lengthy look at the fit between the Brewers and Machado earlier today, calling him an “absolutely perfect” fit given the team’s deficiencies in the lineup — particularly at shortstop. Milwaukee, according to Haudricourt, still views struggling Orlando Arcia as its shortstop in 2019 and beyond, but Machado would give them a potentially overpowering top of the order, joining Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich, Jesus Aguilar, Travis Shaw and Eric Thames/Ryan Braun.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Unwilling To Deal Top Prospects For Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127440 2018-07-15T13:41:30Z 2018-07-15T13:41:30Z It appears the Yankees are falling out of contention for the Orioles’ Manny Machado. The Yanks aren’t willing to part with any of their 10 best prospects to acquire the superstar infielder, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Impressive rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar are among that group, as are Estevan Florial, Clint Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Albert Abreu and Tyler Wade, according to King. While New York’s not totally out on Machado yet, it’s unsurprisingly more focused on improving its rotation than upgrading its infield, King writes.

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Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest On Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127416 2018-07-15T00:49:47Z 2018-07-15T00:49:47Z As a whirlwind of rumors continues to surround Manny Machado, suitors for the All-Star seem to fall in and out of the mix by the day, and frontrunners seem to emerge and recede like horses at the racetrack. Last we heard earlier today, the Orioles were beginning to narrow their search, with the Phillies and Brewers among the finalists. But a flurry of whispers have given the situation a slightly different outlook over the past hour. Here’s what we’ve heard…

  • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the Dodgers remain in the mix for Machado, while the Brewers and Phillies continue to be in “consistent contact” with the Orioles. The Yankees, however, reportedly seem “less involved”. Rosenthal notes that the situation is hardly predictable considering the politics of Baltimore’s front office at present. Last we heard, the Orioles were targeting Dustin May and Gavin Lux in talks with the Dodgers, neither of whom figured to be available.
  • Correspondingly, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports tweets that rival executives believe that the Dodgers will acquire Machado, though the wording of his tweet is somewhat confusing and leaves room for interpretation.
  • In talks with the Phillies, the Orioles showed some interest in recently-promoted starter Enyel De Los Santos, Jon Heyman of Fancred hears. Unsurprisingly, Philadelphia prefers not to include him (probably in part because he’s now contributing in the majors). Heyman quotes Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports as listing Adonis Medina, Jhailyn Ortiz, Ranger Suarez, Arquimedes Gamboa and Franklyn Kilome as other names of interest to the Orioles.
  • In a video for FOX Sports, Rosenthal says the Orioles would prefer to separate Machado and reliever Zach Britton in trade discussions, believing they can maximize their return by moving them in separate deals. That could be in part because the Astros (who are not likely suitors for Machado) have interest in Britton.
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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Scouting Angels]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127376 2018-07-14T21:59:35Z 2018-07-14T21:59:35Z The Angels, one game over .500 and 10 out of a playoff spot, could elect to sell at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. If that happens, they may have logical trade partners in the Yankees, Jon Morosi of MLB.com observes. The Yankees have been scouting the Angels, per Morosi, who writes that New York “would have interest” in left-handers Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney if were they to become available. Further, there are likely Yankees prospects who would pique the Angels’ interest, given that Halos general manager Billy Eppler had a prominent role in the Bombers’ front office not long ago.

While it’s unclear if either Skaggs or Heaney will hit the block, Rays righty Nathan Eovaldi will likely end up on the move in the next couple weeks. The Yankees, with whom he pitched from 2015-16, have “closely” watched Eovaldi of late, as have the Brewers and Braves (among others), Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Eovaldi’s most recent start was a nightmare, as he allowed eight earned runs on nine hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings against Minnesota on Friday. In the process, his season ERA climbed from 3.35 to 4.59 (with a 4.45 FIP) over 51 innings.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Rumors: Shark, Andujar]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127346 2018-07-14T16:07:11Z 2018-07-14T15:24:03Z
  • The Giants are willing to part with right-hander Jeff Samardzija, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports, adding that they specifically informed the Yankees he’s available. However, the Yankees aren’t sure if he’s the right fit for their stadium, per Nightengale. Sending Samardzija anywhere would be a tall task for San Francisco, as he’s due $19.8MM per year through 2020 and is in the midst of a rough season. The longtime workhorse, 33, has missed time with pectoral and shoulder problems, and when Samardzija has taken the mound, he has only managed a 6.42 ERA/5.47 FIP over 40 2/3 innings.
  • More on the Yankees, whose starting third baseman, Miguel Andujar, has been in the rumor mill of late. The Rangers and “several” other teams have made more than one inquiry regarding Andujar in the past, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. And “multiple executives” informed Sherman that the Yankees are now trying to drive up Andujar’s value so they can sell high on the 23-year-old. General manager Brian Cashman shot that down, though, saying: “That is completely false. I think [Andujar] is a hell of a player. We have said ‘no’ to him [in trade talks] not just this year but from Double-A on up. I have not included him any deals and that should say how I feel about him.” Cashman goes on to defend Andujar’s questionable defense in Sherman’s piece and adds, “Where he was and where he is now, I feel vindicated not moving him.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Michael Fulmer, Nicholas Castellanos]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127334 2018-07-14T20:58:18Z 2018-07-14T13:53:47Z With the Tigers (40-56) having dropped 19 of 23 to fall out of contention in the AL Central, they’re setting up as sellers as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. And right-hander Michael Fulmer and right fielder Nicholas Castellanos, two above-average players who are under affordable team control past this season, stand out among the Tigers’ potential trade chips.

    The 26-year-old Fulmer is the more valuable of the two, considering he’s a proven, in-his-prime starter who’s making a near-minimum salary this season and isn’t scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2022 campaign. Fulmer, who’s due to make his first trip through arbitration over the winter, has drawn wide interest in recent weeks, as his MLBTR page shows. As you’d expect, then, he’s not someone whom the Tigers are going to give up for an insignificant return. The belief is Detroit would want “an impact bat” back in order to deal Fulmer, according to Katie Strang of The Athletic (subscription required). Unsurprisingly, Strang suggests that hitter would need to be young – “within a year or two of reaching the major leagues,” Strang writes.

    With the Yankees among teams interested in Fulmer, one of their young outfielders, Clint Frazier, could perhaps be part of a trade between them and the Tigers. Frazier, 23, has the potential to serve as a quality major league hitter, though playing time has been hard to come by in New York because of a crowded outfield which features the established quartet of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Brett Gardner. Thanks to their presences, Frazier has totaled just 40 MLB plate appearances this year after racking up 142 a year ago. Further, with the possible exception of Gardner – who has a team option for 2019 – all of those players figure to start again for the Yankees next season. As such, the Yankees could cash in Frazier for a much-needed rotation upgrade – perhaps in the form of Fulmer.

    The Tigers, for their part, are interested in both Frazier and teammate Tyler Wade, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. The 23-year-old Wade is versatile enough to play several positions, having lined up in the middle infield, at third base and at all three outfield spots in the minors. However, as with Frazier, there’s no clear path to playing time in New York for Wade – who has collected 114 big league PAs since 2017. In addition to their slew of capable outfielders, the Yankees have a set middle infield (second baseman Gleyber Torres and shortstop Didi Gregorius) and a potential long-term third baseman in Miguel Andujar (though he could be a trade chip if the Yankees upgrade at the hot corner with Manny Machado). That wealth of talent may help influence the Yankees to trade Wade, who was their 15th-ranked farmhand at Baseball America after last season.

    Even though Frazier and Wade have piqued the Tigers’ interest, there’s no indication trade talks between them and the Yankees have gotten serious. In fact, New York hasn’t gone past the point of inquiring about Fulmer, per Marc Carig of The Athletic, who echoes Strang in noting the Tigers have placed a “high” asking price on him.

    Castellanos, meanwhile, is “available,” Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. An above-average hitter since 2016, the 26-year-old Castellanos is now enjoying a career season in which he has slashed an outstanding .306/.362/.523 with 15 home runs in 401 PAs. But despite that strong output – which, per FanGraphs’ wRC+ metric, has been 39 percent better than league average – there’s only “mild” interest in Castellanos, Strang writes. Teams are wary of Castellanos’ defensive shortcomings, Strang continues, after he struggled at third from 2014-17 and has been subpar across nearly 800 innings this year in right. In first extensive stint as an outfielder, Castellanos has posted a minus-5.2 Ultimate Zone Rating, minus-13 Defensive Runs Saved and a league-worst minus-16 Outs Above Average mark.

    Despite his defensive questions, Castellanos could emerge as a major offensive piece for a contender if such a team acquires him in the next couple weeks. At $6.05MM, his 2018 salary doesn’t break the bank, and he still has another year of arbitration eligibility remaining. The Tigers reportedly had interest in handing him a contract extension after last season. No deal has come together, though, and thanks in part to that, Castellanos may be in the final weeks of his Detroit tenure.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[D-backs, Reds, Yankees Have Varying Levels Of Interest In Zack Wheeler]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127216 2018-07-13T17:01:03Z 2018-07-13T17:00:57Z July 13: The Yankees’ interest in Wheeler, at this point, is considered to be “mild,” Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News reports in a deeper look at the right-hander’s market. Scouts from at least eight teams watched Wheeler’s most recent start, and of that group, Ackert lists the Diamondbacks as a club that came away from the outing with interest in the righty. The Reds, despite their rebuilding status, are planning to watch him again this weekend.

    The D-backs’ interest is easy to parse. Arizona has lost Taijuan Walker for the season and is now once again concerned over the right elbow of Shelby Miller, who only recently returned from Tommy John. The resurgent Clay Buchholz is currently on the disabled list as well. Beyond that, Arizona could lose Patrick Corbin to free agency this winter, and Miller’s future is currently anything but certain. Wheeler, controlled through 2019, would give them an affordable arm to add not just for this season but also next year.

    As for the Reds, their inclusion is a bit more surprising. Cincinnati has played considerably better in recent months, but their rotation picture still looks to be largely a mess. President of baseball ops Dick Williams said recently, though, that the team plans to up its payroll in 2019. Adding Wheeler now could amount to doing a bit of their offseason shopping in advance, and his modest price tag would allow the team to pursue more costly rotation upgrades this winter, with the goal of pairing those arms with an increasingly encouraging core of position players.

    July 12: Though Yankees fans might prefer a different target from the Mets’ rotation, the Bronx Bombers have “recently inquired” into the availability of right-hander Zack Wheeler, according to Marc Carig of The Athletic (via Twitter). While Carig cautions that the contact may mostly be a matter of conducting due diligence, it’s still a notable potential connection between these infrequent trade partners.

    The thought long has been that the Yankees would pursue starters, but the level of quality they’ll ultimately end up achieving is still in doubt. Many would argue that the team needs to chase a top-end arm to pair with Luis Severino at the top of its staff in order to take down the rival Red Sox and make a lengthy postseason run.

    With no rental arms available that meet that description — unless buyers are fully ready to believe in Nathan Eovaldi, at least —  the attention has been on more controllable pitchers. That may suit the Yanks just fine, as they could well end up considering rotation upgrades at season’s end regardless.

    That said, the asking prices for the very best assets figure to be astronomical. That’s no doubt the case for Wheeler’s teammate, Jacob deGrom, whose name has already made the rounds in the rumor mill as a crosstown trade candidate. His complete dominance — 1.68 ERA in 123 1/3 innings — and two remaining seasons of arbitration control make deGrom arguably the very top deadline pitching target in the game. Though indications are that the Mets will at least be open-minded, they’ll understandably be holding out for a truly compelling trade package.

    Under the circumstances, it’s not surprising to learn that the Yankees are at least taking a closer look at Wheeler. True, Wheeler owns only a modest 4.42 ERA over his 99 2/3 innings on the year. But he’s carrying a solid 8.9 K/9 against 3.4 BB/9 and, more importantly, has shown some other interesting trends.

    Wheeler is working at the top of his career velocity levels (96.2 mph average fastball), getting more swings and strikes (11.0%) than ever, and permitting an average exit velocity lower than all but seven other pitchers in baseball. And the results have improved quite a bit of late, coinciding with a rise in Wheeler’s velocity and a steady reduction of his fastball usage in favor of his slider.

    The 28-year-old would not necessarily be an instant upgrade to the team’s anticipated playoff rotation, though perhaps there’d be some hope that he’d further establish himself down the stretch. Regardless, there would clearly be value in having him on hand to help a tough AL East battle. And even if he doesn’t currently project to be a postseason ace, Wheeler might be an interesting arm to deploy creatively — say, in a pairing with veteran lefty CC Sabathia, to offer one hypothetical possibility.

    There’s added value in Wheeler’s contract rights, though that’s also countered by his spotty health history. He’s earning just $1.9MM this season before qualifying for arbitration a final time this coming offseason. The low cost may also be a factor as the Yankees contemplate other upgrades — including, perhaps, other hurlers — as it’d leave plenty of room left to work with under the luxury tax line.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[David Hale Signs With KBO’s Hanwha Eagles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127256 2018-07-13T12:41:13Z 2018-07-13T12:41:13Z The Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization announced yesterday that they’ve signed right-hander David Hale for the remainder of the season (link via South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). Hale will earn $500K with the Eagles, per the announcement.

    The 30-year-old Hale opened the season in the Yankees organization after signing a minor league contract over the winter. He made one appearance for New York after having his contract selected before being designated for assignment and claimed by the Twins, who’d also had offseason interest in him. However, the Twins, too, designated Hale after just one appearance.

    Hale would ultimately clear waivers and elect free agency, only to return to the Yankees organization on a new minor league contract and largely repeat the cycle twice more. He found himself back in the Majors after Jordan Montgomery went down with Tommy John surgery, but was again designated for assignment after one long relief outing. That led to a third minor league contract with the Yanks, followed by yet another selection of his contract and, once again, a DFA after one long-relief outing.

    Hale’s season is one of the stranger in recent memory; he has as many DFAs on the season as he does Major League appearances (four), but he’ll now have a more stable and more lucrative opportunity in the KBO. He’ll carry a career 4.49 ERA with 6.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 51.2 percent ground-ball rate through 192 1/3 big league innings with him to South Korea, where he’ll join the second-place Eagles. Hale will be replacing former Twins left-hander Jason Wheeler, who has been waived by the club, per Yonhap’s report.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Manny Machado Trade Rumors: Thursday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127232 2018-07-12T22:38:15Z 2018-07-12T22:38:15Z The number of rumors surrounding Manny Machado seems to increase by the day, with the Yankees now not only joining a previously reported field of seven teams, but moving toward the forefront of the teams most prominently linked to Machado. The Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Braves, Indians, Cubs and Red Sox have all been at the very least linked to Machado — though Boston’s interest has been heavily downplayed, and the same is largely true of the Cubs. We’ll track today’s Machado chatter here until more significant developments arise…

    • The Dodgers, Brewers and Yankees have “separated themselves from the pack” with their current offers to the Orioles, tweets USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, though he notes that there’s no clear favorite among those three just yet. That’s largely a continuation, then, of previous rumblings surrounding Machado. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported this weekend that the Dodgers and Brewers were the two most aggressive clubs in pursuit, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported last night that the Yankees had emerged with a “strong” offer — though Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com added the important context that New York had yet to offer up pitching prospect Justus Sheffield.
    • Not only has Sheffield not been included in an offer to date, he’s been effectively made off limits entirely, per Jim Bowden of The Athletic and MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM (Twitter link). The Orioles, Bowden hears, “have been told [Sheffield] will not be included in any potential deal” for Machado. Milwaukee, Los Angeles and Philadelphia all remain in the mix for Machado, he adds, noting that offers are continually improving.
    • Meanwhile, Heyman writes in his latest notes column that the D-backs are definitely interested in Machado, but there’s a belief that they may ultimately end up prioritizing pitching upgrades. Unlike the top three teams linked to Machado, the Diamondbacks have a fairly thin farm system, so perhaps there’s some concern that there’ll be difficulty in adding both Machado and a meaningful upgrade to the pitching staff — though that’s just my own speculation.
    • Buster Olney and Keith Law of ESPN talk extensively about the Machado rumor mill on today’s Baseball Tonight podcast (audio link, with Machado talk beginning around 15:20). Both suggest Sheffield to be too steep a price to pay, with Law stating that he’d be “floored” to see Sheffield moved in nearly any trade — let alone for a rental — given his proximity to the Majors and the potential to develop into a viable No. 2 starter. Olney questions how strongly the Yankees are pursuing Machado, noting that it only helps the Orioles for those rumors to circulate and put pressure on other clubs. Ultimately, both feel it to be likelier that Machado lands with an NL club — with both the Dodgers and Brewers standing out as plausible destinations.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Reportedly Make “Strong” Offer For Machado; Other Clubs Still In Play]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127180 2018-07-12T03:03:11Z 2018-07-12T03:00:25Z 10:00pm: Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic also hears that the Yankees’ interest in Machado is “serious,” though he describes the interest of both the Dodgers and Brewers the same way (Twitter link). The Diamondbacks and Phillies, he adds, are still “keeping in touch” regarding Machado but don’t appear to be as aggressive as the others.

    6:07pm: Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports that Sheffield is not in the Yankees’ current offer for Machado (Twitter link).

    5:53pm: The Yankees have made a “strong” offer for Manny Machado to the Orioles, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. While he notes that he’s yet to receive indication that the Yankees are the favorites to land Machado, they very much look to be a serious player in the vast field of teams vying to acquire his services.

    It’s not clear just what the Yankees have put forth, though earlier today, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported that the Orioles would be willing to send Machado to the Bronx if the Yankees would be willing to part with top left-handed pitching prospect Justus Sheffield.

    Exactly where Machado would line up with the Yankees isn’t clear at the moment. The left side of the infield has been a strength in the Bronx, with Miguel Andujar stepping up as a respectable contributor at the hot corner while Didi Gregorius enjoys a solid overall season himself (even if he’s slumped since a torrid April showing). Morosi has previously speculated that Andujar could be utilized as a piece in attempting to acquire a controllable arm for the rotation, though to this point there’s no indication that that sort of multi-layered scenario is at play. It also seems unlikely that the Yankees would send Andujar to the Orioles as part of a trade to acquire a few months of Machado.

    That said, New York has slipped to 3.5 games back of the division lead in the AL East as the Red Sox have ridden an eight-game winning streak to one of their most comfortable leads in recent memory. With the Red Sox pulling away while also scouring the trade market for a significant boost to their bullpen, the Yankees could, in theory, feel that a proactive strike to upgrade the roster is prudent — even if the upgrade in question doesn’t serve to fill a glaring area of need.

    Furthermore, it stands to reason that the Yankees are unlikely to be the only club to make a formal offer to the Orioles at this point. Machado has been widely known to be available for weeks, and trade talks surrounding him reportedly began to accelerate last week. As such, it’s likely that the Yankees’ offer is one of multiple packages being mulled over by the Baltimore front office at present.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Still Seek Top Young Pitching Talent For Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127132 2018-07-11T18:48:31Z 2018-07-11T18:48:31Z Gauging the value of stars on the trade block makes for popular sport among MLBTR readers. Quite often, we’re asked whether a given player could command, say, a “top 100 pitching prospect.” Now, we seem to have a clear test case, as the Orioles are reportedly trying to land just such a player — a top-end pitching prospect, that is — in talks involving star infielder Manny Machado.

    It’s nothing new to suggest that the Baltimore organization would like to convert Machado into a talented young hurler, of course. The reported aim over the winter was to get two such arms in exchange for a single season of Machado. When that failed to materialize, the O’s instead held him in hopes of contending. Now, as the team pursues its fallback plan of a mid-season sell-off, it has continued to try to pry loose pitching talent as the headlining element of a return for Machado.

    The most recent reports indicate that the O’s are still shooting for the moon. With several weeks left until the trade deadline, of course, that’s arguably just what they ought to be doing. Still, the odds seem long that the club’s most optimistic wishes will be fulfilled.

    Baltimore will no doubt drive a particularly hard bargain with the Yankees, who stand as recent entrants to the Machado derby. The Orioles are willing to deal their best player to their division rivals, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com (via Twitter), but only if they score pitching prospect Justus Sheffield. He’s an unsurprising target, but that appears to be rather a steep ask given the 22-year-old’s pedigree and performance this year. The southpaw entered the year rated as one of the game’s fifty or so best prospects and has mowed down hitters at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels, turning in 85 innings of 2.44 ERA ball with 10.1 K/9 against 4.0 BB/9.

    Given the Yanks’ slate of needs, both now and in the near future, sending Sheffield out for Machado wouldn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Morosi does add on Twitter that the club’s “need for Machado increases greatly if they trade Miguel Andujar for a controllable pitcher,” but that concept seems to fold in quite a notable bit of speculation — namely, that the team is considering parting with the talented Andujar, who is already a useful (albeit still-raw) MLB player. Perhaps there are some low-likelihood scenarios where Yankees GM Brian Cashman manages such a multi-part balancing act, but that doesn’t make the concept of Sheffield-for-Machado any more facially reasonable as a value proposition.

    It doesn’t seem that the Orioles are holding only the Yanks’ feet to the fire, however. Baltimore is also trying to secure a top young arm from the Indians, Morosi also tweets. The ask, in that case, is for either Triston McKenzie or Shane Bieber. Neither pitcher figures to be parted with lightly, particularly for a rental piece.

    McKenzie graded as one of the best pitching prospects in baseball entering the year and has spun 38 1/3 innings of 3.05 ERA ball in his first attempt at the Double-A level. He’s not getting quite as many strikeouts as in prior years, with 7.5 per nine, but is allowing less than a batter per inning to get aboard. As for Bieber, he has never enjoyed the hype of McKenzie (to say nothing of the pop star who shares his last name). But he’s turning plenty of heads now. The 23-year-old owns a 3.47 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 through his first 36 1/3 MLB frames.

    Needless to say, it’s particularly difficult to imagine the Cleveland organization giving up a player who is currently making a significant contribution in the majors. The same holds for the Brewers, who face a tight divisional race and have long been cited as a potential buyer of pitching.

    In talks with Milwaukee, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported recently (subscription link), the O’s have tried with little success to get the Brewers to offer up Corbin Burnes. He, too, is a top-100 prospect. Despite middling results at Triple-A, he sported solid K/BB numbers there and just turned in a memorable MLB debut in a multi-inning relief capacity.

    It came as some surprise, then, when Rosenthal’s colleague Jim Bowden tweeted today that the Brewers “have discussed [a] package” of not only Burnes, but also Keon Broxton and Orlando Arcia, as a potential means of landing Machado. Perhaps there’s more to this concept than is evident from that single tweet, but it seems questionable that the Milwaukee organization would even contemplate such an arrangement. Indeed, Jon Heyman of Fancred reports on Twitter that there’s “no way” of the O’s landing that particular haul for Machado.

    Certainly, it’s understandable that the O’s are pushing to get a foundational arm as they bid adieu to a franchise cornerstone. And with so many contending clubs showing serious interest — the Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Phillies are among the others tied to Machado in recent weeks — it’s still possible that there’ll be a surprising return. While plenty of other teams figure to function as sellers, after all, none have anything close to a rental player of Machado’s caliber on offer.

    That said, the odds are decidedly against the Orioles convincing a contender to give up a quality, near-to-the-majors starter. Such players are not only prized for their long-term value — the tantalizing possibility of quality output at a bargain price for multiple seasons — but also their potential near-term impact. Some of the hurlers noted above have already or could soon reach the majors. And most of the top-rated pre-MLB hurlers could at least be significant staff members at some point in the 2019 season. Perhaps there’s some room for creativity, potentially including package arrangements and/or a willingness to pay down salary, to facilitate the acquisition of the type of asset the Orioles seek. But getting something done is going to require the exploration of quite a few possibilities and plenty of negotiation, which perhaps more than anything explains the volume of reporting we’ve seen of late on conceivable Machado trade permutations.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[David Hale Elects Free Agency]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127063 2018-07-11T00:40:07Z 2018-07-11T00:39:49Z
  • The Yankees announced that righty David Hale has elected free agency after clearing outright waivers. He was recently designated by the New York organization for the third time this year. Hale will test the open market, but presumably remains a candidate to return on another minor-league pact, as he has done previously. In the aggregate, Hale has pitched to a 4.61 ERA with 5.3 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in his 13 2/3 total MLB innings this year. The 30-year-old has worked as a starter at Triple-A, turning in 55 2/3 frames of 4.20 ERA ball there on the year.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Happ, Richards]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127097 2018-07-10T23:38:27Z 2018-07-10T23:38:27Z The Yankees continue to hold Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ in high regard and have him near the top of their list of “realistic” trade targets as the deadline approaches, tweets Fancred’s Jon Heyman. (Notably, Heyman adds that the Yankees don’t consider either Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard to fall into that “realistic” category.) However, to this point, the Yankees believe the asking price on Happ to be too high for talks to become serious.  The Mariners and Cubs have also been linked to Happ in recent weeks, and it seems it’s merely a matter of time until the southpaw finds himself in a new jersey. Though he was hit hard in his past two starts, Happ is averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per nine innings pitched against 2.9 BB/9 with a 4.44 ERA. Metrics like FIP (3.97), xFIP (3.79) and SIERA (3.64) all feel he’s been substantially better than his ERA would indicate.

    • Teams looking for rotation help on the trade market will have a close eye on the upcoming Mariners/Angels series, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. If Halos already trail the Astros by 14 games in the AL West and trail Seattle by 11 games in the AL Wild Card race. If the Mariners can widen that gap further, the Angels may have little choice but to turn an eye toward 2019, which would likely result in Garrett Richards being made available in trades. Sherman notes that Angels GM Billy Eppler told him just last week that his focus remained on reaching the postseason, but Sherman also writes that “those who know Eppler believe he will be pragmatic” if things don’t change quickly. The Yankees, Brewers, Braves, Cubs, Phillies and Mariners are among the teams looking for rotation upgrades, per Sherman.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Manny Machado Rumors: Tuesday]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127077 2018-07-10T22:21:19Z 2018-07-10T20:17:23Z Yesterday’s news wire included quite a lot of chatter surrounding Orioles infielder Manny Machado, who is the clear top player available on this summer’s trade market. Last we checked, the Brewers and Dodgers were said to be working hard at making a deal with the Yankees also entering the fray.

    Here’s the latest:

    • The Brewers and Dodgers are indeed still trying to sort out arrangements with the Baltimore front office, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who provides more details on the talks in a subscription link. Rosenthal suggests that the O’s are targeting Milwaukee hurler Corbin Burnes and Dodgers prospects Gavin Lux and Dustin May, none of whom appear to be available in talks. Notably, per the report, the Brewers “would prefer to build their package” around outfielder Brett Phillips and pitching prospect Luis Ortiz — both highly-ranked young talents in their own rights, perhaps suggesting that the Orioles have had some success in generating quality offers. Of course, every team will have its own preferences on young talent, and prospect rankings are little more than a general guide for outside observers. Broadly, it does not sound as if either the Milwaukee or Los Angeles organizations are close to striking a deal for Machado. It also seemingly remains an open question whether the Orioles are really interested in dealing him before the All-Star Game. That’d surely be the approach taken if the club feels it can best maximize the return right now, though it would also be tough to see Machado lined up in a different uniform down the street in D.C.
    • Meanwhile, after Machado himself threw a bit of cold water on the notion of a shift back to third base — which would be the only way he’d really fit in with the Yankees — New York GM Brian Cashman cast further shade on the concept of a move to the Bronx. As Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports, Cashman suggests he’s focused primarily on boosting his team’s starting pitching. The third base position, he says, is a clear strength for the club. That hardly rules out a move for Machado, of course, though Cashman did make clear that he views it as his “job” to “attack weakness” on the roster. All things considered, it seems this intriguing match is a low-likelihood match, but one that shouldn’t be dismissed entirely.
    • Of course, some teams that once figured to represent suitors no longer really seem to be in the mix. That’s the case for the CubsBob Nightengale of USA Today writes. He cites an O’s source that pegs the Diamondbacks as another leading contender to land Machado, along with the two noted above, so it seems Arizona is still involved even if the team hasn’t been linked as strongly in recent days. But the Chicago organization seems understandably pleased with its existing lineup, with pitching representing a greater need. Likewise, the Cardinals don’t appear to be involved on Machado, which Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch argues is a reflection of the front office’s accurate assessment of the team’s outlook.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Activate Masahiro Tanaka]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127054 2018-07-10T14:10:54Z 2018-07-10T14:10:54Z The Yankees have activated righty Masahiro Tanaka, per a club announcement. He ended up missing about a month with dual hamstring strains suffered while running the bases.

    It’s obviously good news for the Yanks that Tanaka is back in action in relatively short order. In particular, the timing means that they’ll get to see him for a few starts before making final decisions in advance of the coming trade deadline.

    It seemed a boon when Tanaka decided to opt into the final three years of his contract over the winter. Though the 29-year-old has had his share of injuries, and struggled in the results department last year, he has also generally been a quality hurler in New York.

    Unfortunately, Tanaka’s home run issues have carried forward from 2017 into 2018. He has allowed 16 dingers this year in his 72 2/3 innings, though he has still managed a 4.58 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. If he can finally figure out how to keep the ball in the yard, Tanaka could again be a major part of the Yankees’ staff.

    Regardless of Tanaka’s form, of course, the Yanks are seen as a clear potential buyer of starting pitching. But depth is much less of a concern if Tanaka is a positive part of the picture, which could impact the targets the club pursues on the trade market.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees “Showing Increased Interest” In Manny Machado]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=127031 2018-07-10T12:28:41Z 2018-07-10T04:07:43Z 11:07pm: The talks are still in an early stage, Eduardo Encina of Baltimore Sun reports. Though the Yankees haven’t made any offers, the club has expressed interest not only in Machado and rental relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach, but also in controllable starter Kevin Gausman.

    Machado himself bristled at the ongoing questions about his status after tonight’s game against the Yankees. When asked about the possibility of shifting back over to third, after assuming the shortstop job in Baltimore this year, Machado answered: “I’m a shortstop. I play shortstop.” (Via Marc Carig of The Athletic, on Twitter.) Of course, it’s probably best not to read too much into that statement, as Machado may simply have been fending off questions by referring to his current situation and in any event lacks trade protection.

    9:29pm: There appears to be some mutual interest in considering package arrangements, per reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). In addition to weighing some of the O’s relievers, says Kubatko, the Yanks may have interest in Baltimore rotation pieces. Contemplating the possibility of the involvement of starting pitching makes this series of reports all the more fascinating. There are any number of imaginable permutations of package deals, though there’s no real hint at present as to what might be considered.

    7:55pm: The Yankees are “showing increased interest” in acquiring Machado, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athetic (subscription link). It’s still not clear just how serious the Yanks are about such a move, but the report is intriguing nonetheless.

    In some regards, to be sure, it’s a bit of an imperfect fit. Though we included the Yankees as a potential landing spot in a recent poll on Machado’s market, the Bronx Bombers didn’t rate as popular choice among respondents. While the club is unquestionably in position to add MLB talent, it has a much more obvious need in the rotation. And some would surely argue that there’s greater need for (and greater value to be found in) an upgrade at first base, where Greg Bird has not exactly thrived.

    While Machado would upgrade any roster, the New York organization already features a quality shortstop in Didi Gregorius and a variety of other talented young infield options at second and third. Though breakout rookie Gleyber Torres is injured at present, there has been no indication that he’ll miss a lengthy stretch, so that doesn’t seem to represent a significant aspect of the increased interest.

    As Rosenthal suggests, the likeliest motivation behind pursuit of Machado would be to install him at third base. The club could simply option Miguel Andujar for some additional seasoning. (Per the report, there’s reason to question that the promising youngster would be a part of a trade for Machado, which makes sense.) Andujar certainly has played well and has a bright future, but isn’t close Machado’s quality level at present.

    There are other players to consider here, but none would get in the way of the pursuit of Machado. Indeed, Brandon Drury — who was just optioned back to Triple-A after the first of the Yanks’ two games today — might well be a trade chip, though there’s no firm indication of that to this point. Veteran switch-hitter Neil Walker would likely still fit on the roster regardless, so long as the club continues to show patience. (If not, the Yanks could utilize Andujar, Drury, and/or Tyler Wade in a reserve role as well.)

    Part of the underlying reasoning here seems to be that the Yankees may struggle to upgrade as much as they’d like in the rotation. To be sure, the market is not shaping up to offer many compelling starters. Though the Yanks have plenty of pieces to chase a controllable hurler, it’s not yet clear whether the prices will be palatable enough to consider that route.

    As things have shaped up in the American League, the Yankees and bitter-rival Red Sox have ample cause to seek all avenues for improvement. Settling for a Wild Card will, of course, mean a one-game series that could go in any direction. And the team that wins the play-in contest seems rather likely to face either the AL East champs or the defending World Series champion Astros in the divisional round. While the Indians are no cakewalk, they’ll likely be viewed as a somewhat less formidable foe.

    Viewed broadly, then, the potential match is perhaps a bit more compelling than is evident at first glance. Whether other pieces of the Baltimore roster might be of interest to the Yankees is not yet known. It’s also not clear what trade pieces the Yanks would be willing to give that would pique the interest of the O’s sufficiently to pave the way for a trade of a mid-prime franchise legend to a division rival.

    Clearly, this news doesn’t mean that the Yankees are the new favorites to land Machado. Reports from earlier today tabbed the Dodgers and Brewers as the most aggressive teams at the moment, and that seems still to be the case — with other organizations still also looking like plausible suitors as well. But the involvement of the Yankees shows that it’s still an open bidding situation with many possible outcomes. Whether or not the Orioles can leverage the broad demand into a significant return remains to be seen, but it’s clear that multiple contending organizations view Machado as a real potential difference-maker.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Happ, Chapman, Scouts]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126992 2018-07-09T16:50:16Z 2018-07-09T16:49:48Z The Cubs “may have interest” in Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ, per Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link). Chicago’s rotation has a pair of notable question marks, as it’s not yet clear when Yu Darvish will be able to return to the mix, while Tyler Chatwood’s season-long struggles to throw strikes have been a well-documented issue. Happ has been most prominently linked to the Yankees and the Mariners thus far, though as a pending free agent on a clear non-contender, he figures to draw interest from a large number of clubs as the non-waiver deadline approaches. Happ’s two most recent starts haven’t been good ones, though as long as there’s no medical reason for the pair of ugly outings, that’s not likely to impact his trade value much, if at all.

    • Aroldis Chapman will likely be dealing with his current left knee issue for the rest of the season, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone said before yesterday’s game (link via George A. King III of the New York Post). Chapman has been playing through a minor bout of tedinitis in his left knee and was held out of yesterday’s game even when the Yankees found themselves with a late 2-1 lead. Boone explained that he wanted to stay away from Chapman and Dellin Betances, instead turning to David Robertson to nail down the save. With a doubleheader set for Monday, it makes some sense to give Chapman that extra day of rest. King also notes that the Reds, Rangers and Royals were all among the rebuilding teams scouting the Triple-A tilt between the Yankees and Red Sox’ top affiliates yesterday. Several contending clubs were on hand as well, though, including the Indians, Phillies and D-backs.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Olney: Yankees, Blue Jays "Haggling" Over J.A. Happ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126895 2018-07-08T20:19:57Z 2018-07-08T20:19:57Z The Yankees roughed up Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ on Saturday, but that hasn’t killed New York’s interest in the soon-to-be free-agent lefty. The two teams “have continued conversations” regarding Happ and are “haggling over the price tag,” Buster Olney of ESPN writes. Olney goes on to suggest the Yankees should wait until closer to the July 31 non-waiver deadline to see if better starters than Happ will hit the trade block. As things stand, Happ may end up as the best starter on the move this summer, despite a 4.44 ERA in 105 1/3 innings. However, Happ comes with a strong recent track record and has posted appealing strikeout and walk numbers in 2018 (9.83 K/9, 2.91 BB/9).

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Bumgarner, Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126867 2018-07-08T03:40:08Z 2018-07-08T03:39:38Z It’s well known that the Yankees are looking to bolster their rotation, though the cost to acquire a starter is “out of control right now,” a source close to the team informed Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Nevertheless, Feinsand goes on to list a few starters the Yankees could pursue, including Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. As you’d expect, though, Bumgarner’s not going anywhere. A Giants executive told Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic that any trade speculation centering on Bumgarner is “California dreaming.”

    • Back to the Yankees, who saw catcher Gary Sanchez hit the disabled list June 25 with a right groin strain. Now, Sanchez has progressed enough that he feels he’ll be able to return before the All-Star break. That’s not going to happen, however, as manager Aaron Boone told George A. King III of the New York Post and other reporters Saturday. The Yankees are taking a cautious approach with Sanchez and will continue to rely on reserve catchers Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka for the next week-plus.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Interested In Brad Hand, Zach Britton]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126856 2018-07-08T01:58:51Z 2018-07-08T01:53:10Z The Yankees already possess perhaps the game’s premier bullpen, but they could nonetheless add to their relief corps in the coming weeks. The club’s among the teams interested in a pair of established lefty relievers – the Padres’ Brad Hand and the Orioles’ Zach Britton – Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.

    While Britton is the better known of the two, Hand has eclipsed him in value since his breakout 2016. Hand previously landed on the Yankees’ radar last July and looked like a strong bet to leave San Diego via trade, considering the Padres were nowhere near playoff contention. Instead, the Padres kept Hand and then inked him to an extension worth a guaranteed three years and $19.75MM over the winter. The deal also features a $10MM club option, which Hand’s employer will pick up if he continues at anything resembling his current pace.

    Since 2016, Hand leads qualified relievers in innings (210) and has posted a 2.66 ERA with 11.83 K/9, 3.04 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent groundball rate. The 28-year-old is now in his second season a full-time closer, during which he has converted 24 of 28 save chances, but he’d work in a setup role with the Yankees because of closer Aroldis Chapman’s presence (though Chapman has battled left knee tendinitis since early May, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com tweets). He’d accompany Chapman to give the Yankees two lights-out southpaws and yet another tremendous option alongside setup men Chad Green, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Jonathan Holder.

    In addition to Chapman, Green, Betances, Robertson and Holder, New York has gotten terrific results from relievers Adam Warren and A.J. Cole this season. The team also has 2017 standout Tommy Kahnle on hand in the minors. It may not behoove the World Series-contending Yankees to meet the still-rebuilding Padres’ reportedly high asking price for Hand, then, especially given New York’s need to address its rotation and maybe even its first base situation during the next few weeks.

    Contrary to Hand, Britton does not look like a top-end reliever at this point, nor is he controllable beyond this season. Since an incredible 2016 in which he compiled a .54 ERA in 67 innings, Britton has dealt with a decline in output and a ruptured Achilles. He returned from that injury, which he suffered over the winter, last month and has since allowed six earned runs (with just eight strikeouts against seven walks) in 10 1/2 frames and experienced a dip in velocity.

    Along with his newfound performance issues, Britton comes with a high salary. He’s owed the balance of $12MM, and the Yankees could be wary of that given their desire to stay south of the $197MM competitive-balance tax threshold. They’re plenty familiar with the 30-year-old Britton, though, as he has spent his entire career with AL East rival Baltimore. The Orioles are far out of playoff contention and figure to sell off as many pending free agents as possible, including Britton, in the coming weeks.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Royals, Loaisiga, Hicks]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126802 2018-07-07T20:00:50Z 2018-07-07T20:00:50Z
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman “wouldn’t comment” to media (including the New York Post’s George A. King III) on a recent report from MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi about the Yankees’ interest in Mike Moustakas as a possible first base option.  King did note that the Royals recently had scouts watching not just the Yankees, but also New York’s Double-A and Triple-A teams as well, so Kansas City seems to be checking out both Major League and minor league players in the organization.  In terms of what the return could be on a potential Moustakas trade, King doubts that the Yankees would part with current first baseman Greg Bird for just two-plus months of Moustakas’ services.
  • An MRI revealed inflammation in Jonathan Loaisiga’s throwing shoulder, as reported by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch and others.  The Yankees right-hander will meet with doctors in New York on Monday to further access the problem.  Loaisiga made his Major League debut earlier this season and pitched well in four starts, posting a 3.00 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and a 2.63 K/BB rate over 18 innings.  That performance did much to elevate his value, particularly with the Yankees short on rotation depth options.  Loaisiga had been sent down to the minors last week but was expected to be recalled for a start on Monday when the Yankees had a double-header against the Orioles,
  • Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks was taking some grounders at second base prior to Friday’s game, George A. King III of the New York Post writes.  It isn’t very likely that Hicks will actually see time at the keystone with Gleyber Torres on the DL, as New York already has Neil Walker, Brandon Drury, and Tyler Wade (all of whom were also participating in the fielding drills) on hand to play the position.  It could be that the Yankees were simply exploring all options, perhaps with a very long view towards maximum roster flexibility during a playoff series, or something of that nature.  Hicks also did some warmups as a first baseman last season, underscoring his athleticism and versatility.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Designate David Hale For Assignment, Promote Clint Frazier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126783 2018-07-07T17:05:58Z 2018-07-07T16:48:02Z The Yankees have designated right-hander David Hale for assignment, as per a team press release.  Clint Frazier has been called up from Triple-A to take Hale’s spot on the 25-man roster.

    This is the third time in less than three months that New York has DFA’ed Hale, and the Yankees in fact made this exact same transaction (designating Hale to call up Frazier) back in May.  The previous two designations led to Hale leaving the organization, once to briefly join the Twins on a waiver claim, and the other leading to Hale quickly re-signing a new minor league deal to rejoin the Yankees.

    Hale has a 4.61 ERA, 1.6 K/BB rate, and 5.3 K/9 over 13 2/3 combined innings for the Twins and Yankees this season.  He tossed 5 2/3 relief innings last night in New York’s 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays, so he likely wouldn’t have been available for another outing for the next day or two.  The Yankees had also been deploying a nine-man bullpen, so they had need for an extra position player off the bench.

    Frazier has a .908 OPS over 24 plate appearances this season, as he hasn’t much opportunity to crack the big league roster thanks to a concussion suffered during Spring Training and the simple fact that the Yankees are already deep in outfield options.  The top prospect has a scorching .312/.391/.577 slash line over 215 Triple-A plate appearances this season and would likely already be getting regular big-league playing time for most teams.  For New York, however, Frazier could potentially be a trade chip as the club looks to make additions at the deadline.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees, Others Reportedly Considering Moustakas As First Base Option]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126675 2018-07-06T13:59:52Z 2018-07-06T13:57:12Z Multiple teams, including the Yankees, have at least considered the notion of trading for Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas and shifting him across the diamond to first base, Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports. It’s worth noting that there’s no indication from the report that the Yankees’ interest is especially serious or extends anywhere beyond internal discussions at this point.

    Moustakas, 29, stands out as one of the more obvious trade candidates in the league, given his standing as an impending free agent who is playing on an affordable contract (one year, $6.5MM) with a rebuilding Royals club that has already begun to trade away pieces (Kelvin Herrera, Jon Jay). He’s hitting .258/.312/.478 with 16 homers to this point in the 2018 season.

    Of course, it should be asked just how much of an upgrade Moustakas would even represent for the Yankees. Despite Greg Bird’s woeful .200 average, his .306 on-base percentage only narrowly trails Moustakas’ .312 mark. Bird walks at a substantially higher clip than Moustakas and has also been more prone to getting hit by pitches in recent seasons, though he’s also much more strikeout-prone (27.3 percent to Moustakas’ 14.9 percent). Bird has also hit for slightly more power, sporting a .219 isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average) to Moustakas’ .214.

    There’s certainly an argument that moving Moustakas from the spacious Kauffman Stadium to Yankee Stadium and its notoriously short right-field porch would significantly boost his home run output. However, Moustakas’ lack of experience at first base, where he’s started just twice in his career, would likely result in a defensive downgrade over Bird.

    Beyond all of that are the simple facts that Moustakas hasn’t hit much since mid-May and has been sidelined by back spasms this week. While he got off to a blistering start, Moose is hitting just .212/.292/.384 with six home runs over his past 40 games. He’s swung a bit better in his past five games, but the .299/.331/.531 slash he boasted in mid-May is now a distant memory.

    Any trades the Yankees make, of course, need to be viewed through the lens of the competitive balance/luxury tax. New York was adamant about remaining under that $197MM threshold this past offseason and figures to stay on that same course on the summer trade market. The Yankees are roughly $16MM south of that line at this point, so it’s possible that they could add both Moustakas and a starting pitcher, which is rumored to be their top need. Depending on the specific rotation target, though, the Yankees may ask the opposing team to offset some of the financial load.

    Alternatively, Morosi suggests a scenario in which the Yankees would ask another club to take on the remainder of Neil Walker’s $4MM contract in trades, which would have a similar effect on their bottom-line as relates to the luxury tax but would also require an improved prospect package. Indeed, the surprisingly poor play of Walker, who’d been a consistently solid offensive performer over the past eight seasons, is a large part of the reason the Yankees even need to entertain somewhat outside-the-box thoughts like adding Moustakas as a first-base option. Walker missed much of Spring Training while trying to find a deal in free agency and has never gotten on track in 2018, batting just .188/.268/.259 through his first 190 trips to the plate as a Yankee.

    Ultimately, Moustakas doesn’t seem like a great fit for the Yankees or even a definitive upgrade over what Bird can bring to the table. The two have similar on-base and power numbers, with Bird representing a superior defensive option even if he’s more prone to strikeouts. Plus, if Bird’s .239 BABIP improves — which isn’t a given, considering his .251 career mark and extreme susceptibility to pull shifts in 2018 (56.9 percent pull rate) — he could even wind up with better OBP numbers than Moustakas.

    Still, the fact that clubs are considering Moustakas as a first base option is nonetheless of note, as it could open the door for him to land with a club that might not have initially looked to be a fit at first glance.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: Ramos, Phillies, Wade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126617 2018-07-05T18:59:19Z 2018-07-05T18:59:19Z Here are the latest notes from the game’s eastern divisions:

    • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times checks in on Rays catcher Wilson Ramos, writing that the veteran seems likely to be playing elsewhere within the next few weeks. The burly receiver acknowledges that change is likely coming, though he says his focus is on putting his head down and “trying to do my job.” Topkin notes that there’s at least an argument to be made for the Rays to consider an early deal for Ramos, as there are a few other catchers that could potentially change hands this summer. A deal seems possible at any time, though we haven’t really heard all that much to this point regarding interest in Ramos, who’s slashing a robust .291/.340/.468 with a dozen home runs through 285 plate appearances.
    • There are a pair of interesting subscription pieces in The Athletic regarding the rising PhilliesMatt Gelb examines the team’s approach to the deadline, explaining how the changing state of affairs in the NL East — particularly, the recent fall-off of the Nationals — will impact things in Philadelphia. With the Nats now needing to climb out of a significant hole, the opportunity for the Phils to take a division title could certainly increase the appeal of buy-side moves. As the article covers, third base and right field stand out as potential areas for improvement. The club could certainly always look into pitching improvements as well. Meanwhile, Meghan Montemurro documents the Phillies’ efforts to unearth talent in non-traditional countries. It’s all about maximizing limited available resources in the international realm, where the focus has long been on a few Latin American and Asian nations.
    • The Yankees will bring up Tyler Wade to take the roster spot created when Gleyber Torres hit the DL, Jack Curry of the YES Network tweets. Wade, 23, has struggled mightily in limited MLB action over the past two seasons. And he has not exactly knocked the cover off of the ball at Triple-A despite carrying good numbers there last year. As Curry notes (via Twitter), however, Wade has been much better in recent weeks. That said, the infielder likely won’t get much of a shot in his return to the majors, as Neil Walker figures to remain ahead of him on the depth chart at second base. Brandon Drury is also a potential option at second, though he has yet to play there in New York.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Not Too Interested In Matt Harvey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126587 2018-07-05T02:50:40Z 2018-07-05T02:50:40Z
  • The Yankees are known to be exploring the starting pitching market but Matt Harvey isn’t a big target for the team, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link).  Harvey has recovered a bit of his former value by pitching well over 10 starts for the Reds, though the Yankees are wary of the right-hander due to the “potential circus” of extra media attention that would accompany Harvey’s return to New York.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Place Gleyber Torres On 10-Day DL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126556 2018-07-04T21:18:16Z 2018-07-04T21:02:31Z The Yankees have placed rookie phenom Gleyber Torres on the 10-day DL due to a right hip strain.  The injury caused Torres to be removed in the fourth inning of today’s game with the Braves, though Torres also didn’t play yesterday due to hip soreness.  It isn’t clear when Torres will be back in action, though the Yankees described the injury as “mild” (hat tip to Newsday’s David Lennon).  A corresponding move wasn’t immediately announced, and likely won’t be known until before to the Yankees’ next game, which is on Friday against Toronto.

    Torres has been nothing less than spectacular in his rookie season, living up to his top prospect billing with a .294/.350/.555 slash line and 15 home runs over his first 241 Major League plate appearances.  He has immediately become New York’s everyday second baseman and thus his absence will create a significant hole in the lineup, though the club has several notable second base options on hand to fill the void.

    Manager Aaron Boone told reporters (including The Athletic’s Marc Carig) that Neil Walker is the likeliest candidate to play the keystone while Torres is out, plus the Yankees also have Brandon Drury on the bench and Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade at Triple-A.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Seen As Suitor For J.A. Happ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126535 2018-07-04T20:02:34Z 2018-07-04T19:50:54Z
  • 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.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Notable International Prospect Signings]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126347 2018-07-02T17:53:44Z 2018-07-02T16:12:59Z With the 2018-19 international signing period kicking off today, there will be dozens of six- and seven-figure bonuses handed out to teenage prospects, primarily out of Latin America, filtering in throughout the day today. Many of these have been in the works for quite some time, as is reflected by the fact that most of the top players’ destinations and signing bonuses have been previously reported/projected (and by the fact that the top agreements will all be reported in one swift avalanche today).

    We’ll keep track of the notable National League signings here and the notable American League signings in a separate post. Note that you can read up on each of these players with the dedicated international coverage available from Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required), Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com and Kiley McDaniel & Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, each of whom has scouting info on the top echelon of international amateurs. Badler is also tracking the all of the signings from all 30 teams.

    Onto some of the more notable signings…

    Read more

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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Tommy John Surgeries, Sanchez, Thornburg, Sandoval]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126337 2018-07-02T02:21:24Z 2018-07-02T02:21:24Z Tommy John surgeries have become alarmingly common in today’s baseball climate, but the most disturbing trend is the age at which the bulk of these procedures are performed. Craig Davis of the Sun Sentinel sheds some spotlight on a recent study showing that teens between the ages of 15 and 19 account for 75% of all Tommy John surgeries. Davis cites the words of Dr. Tommy John (son of the former major league pitcher and the procedure’s namesake), who bluntly says, “The success rate after Tommy John surgery is not good. You don’t want this surgery, especially if you have it in your teenage years.” One possible reason for the dramatic increase in youth Tommy John surgeries is single-sport specialization; Dr. Randolph Cohen of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood seems to believe it’s a big issue. “There’s an overall kind of irrational push by parents on children who are playing sports for such long hours and such long durations and such great repetition that we’re seeing an increase in the injuries in children than say we saw 20 years ago, where injuries like that were much more rare,” he said.

    A few injury-related notes from around major-league baseball…

    • Though injured Yankees star Gary Sanchez hasn’t begun running drills yet, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that his recovery is going well. The Bombers are apparently hopeful he’ll be able to return around the All-Star break. Though he’s currently batting below the Mendoza line, the young Sanchez leads all MLB catchers with 14 homers to this point in the season.
    • The Red Sox are set to add a valuable reliever even before the July 31st trade deadline hits, as Chris Cotillo of masslive.com reports that Tyler Thornburg is expected to return to the club this week. The 29-year-old right-hander has yet to pitch in a game for the Red Sox since being acquired from the Brewers in exchange for Travis Shaw and a pair of minor-leaguers. There wouldn’t appear to be a great chance of salvaging the trade at this point, but if Thornburg can return to post something close to the 2.15 ERA and 12.06 K/9 he posted with Milwaukee back in 2016, he could be of great help to an already-strong bridge to Craig Kimbrel.
    • The Giants got some good news today, as it appears Pablo Sandoval has avoided any serious injury. Panda’s x-rays showed no fractures (according to a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of The Athletic), so his diagnosis is simply an elbow contusion after being hit by a Zack Godley pitch during today’s matchup against the Diamondbacks.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Select David Hale]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126303 2018-07-01T18:21:28Z 2018-07-01T18:20:28Z
  • The Yankees announced that they’ve selected the contract of right-hander David Hale from Triple-A. The 30-year-old has yo-yoed between the Yankees and their top affiliate in Scranton this season, and he has also had a stint with the Twins. Hale has combined for just eight innings between New York and Minnesota in 2018, but he has amassed 55 frames in Scranton and pitched to a 4.20 ERA with 7.11 K/9 and 2.75 BB/9.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[CC Sabathia Open To Pitching In 2019 ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126222 2018-07-01T00:09:26Z 2018-07-01T00:09:11Z
  • Left-hander CC Sabathia suggested last month that he’d retire at year’s end if the Yankees were to win the World Series. But the 37-year-old now seems more open to returning in 2019 even if the Yankees aren’t the last team standing this season. “If we win the World Series and I pitch well and I’m healthy at the end of the year, then it’s 50-50 that I come back,” Sabathia said (via Marc Carig of The Athletic; subscription required). “It’s not an absolute.” Considering how well he’s pitching, it stands to reason the Yankees would welcome back a healthy Sabathia next year if he decides to keep pitching. In his age 37-season, Sabathia has pitched to a 3.02 ERA/4.04 FIP in 83 1/3 innings, thanks in part to his ability to limit hard contact. Sabathia ranks third among qualified pitchers in average exit velocity against (84.2 mph).
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Fulmer, Drury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126151 2018-06-30T14:19:01Z 2018-06-30T14:18:22Z
  • Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer is drawing a lot of interest from not just contenders like the Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees, but also from rebuilding teams like the Padres.  Clearly Fulmer would be a fit for a lot of teams considering both his ability and his years of control; he isn’t arbitration-eligible until this winter, and he has four years of arbitration coming as a Super Two player.  Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman wrote earlier this week that it could be unlikely that Fulmer is actually dealt, as Detroit has naturally put a big price tag on the righty in trade talks.  San Diego is deep in prospects, however, so the Friars could be one of the few teams who wouldn’t immediately balk at the Tigers’ demands.
  • Brandon Drury’s return to the Yankees came with some service time implications, as Rosenthal notes that New York could have gained an extra year of control over the utilityman by keeping him in the minors until Sunday.  It’s possible Drury could still be demoted again at some point this season, and if so, he wouldn’t qualify for free agency until after the 2022 season.  This could potentially make Drury more valuable to other teams in trade talks, as the Yankees are deep in long-term infield options and might see Drury as expendable.

    [SOURCE LINK]
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Brian Cashman On Yankees’ Deadline Plans]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126148 2018-06-30T06:43:12Z 2018-06-30T06:43:12Z Yankees GM Brian Cashman addressed a few topics of interest with the rival Red Sox in town. Lindsey Adler of The Athletic (subscription link) and MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch were among those to write up the chat.

    Of greatest significance, perhaps, were Cashman’s comments on his organization’s intentions regarding its rotation. The veteran executive left little doubt that, as expected, he’ll be looking hard for upgrades to the staff.

    Cashman did allow that there were circumstances under which the team would hold pat with its existing group. But that’d only be the case, he said, if “we didn’t think the price tags were appropriate.” A failure to land a starter, he added, would “be more reflective of the inability to find a match comfortable enough to follow through with” than any lack of desire to add an arm.

    That’s hardly surprising to hear, as the rotation has long been an obvious area to target for improvement, particularly since Jordan Montgomery went down for the year. But it’s notable that the Yankees are willing to acknowledge their intentions publicly — and at a relatively early stage in the summer trade market’s development.

    At a minimum, these comments seem to indicate, the Yanks will likely add a solid depth starter. Even marginal improvements will matter, after all; every regular season win will count in a tight divisional race with the Red Sox. Of course, there’s also still every possibility that the club will aim quite a bit higher.

    Getting a significant starter would mean parting with some hard-earned prospect capital. Cashman acknowledges as much. “I have a lot of high-end talent that’s taken a long time to acquire and cultivate, but it’s gonna cost something to get stuff, so we’ll play that game here over the next month,” he said. Cashman indicated that he won’t take top outfield prospect Clint Frazier off the table, though he did note that he’d prefer to retain the young talent.

    Of course, some of the most intriguing outside arms are already pitching in New York for the rival Mets. Cashman said he has already been in touch with Mets executive Omar Minaya, who is one of the three executives who are filling in for GM Sandy Alderson. Cashman expressed interest in maintaining an open dialogue. Of course, it still would make for a surprise if those two organizations get together on a significant trade.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Recall Brandon Drury]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=126099 2018-06-29T18:19:56Z 2018-06-29T18:19:58Z 1:19pm: The Yankees have formally announced the move.

    11:00am: The Yankees will recall infielder Brandon Drury from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Drury will fill the roster spot of Luis Cessa, who the team has already formally optioned to Triple-A.

    It’s been a strange season for Drury, who was acquired in February to provide depth at both second base and third base for a Yankees team that eventually had those positions earmarked for top prospects Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. Drury opened the season on the roster but quickly was placed on the disabled list due to severe migraines that were causing blurred vision.

    By the time he was healthy enough to return to action, however, both Torres and Andujar were enjoying productive stretches at the big league level. Rather than activate Drury and utilize him in a utility role, the Yankees made the somewhat surprising decision to simply option Drury to Triple-A.

    [Related: New York Yankees depth chart]

    Drury was understandably frustrated to be spending time in the minors after having previously established himself as a solid big league contributor with the Diamondbacks, and his play in Scranton certainly showed that he was worthy of playing in the Majors. In 203 Triple-A plate appearances, Drury hit .314/.419/.488 with five homers, 13 doubles and a triple.

    With Ronald Torreyes and Tyler Wade currently in Triple-A, Drury will join Neil Walker as a utility option who can bounce around to several positions. It’s possible that Drury could see some time at first base in the immediate future, as George A. King III of the New York Post writes. Given Greg Bird’s recent struggles and an injury to Tyler Austin in Triple-A, the right-handed-hitting Drury could be called upon with the Red Sox set to throw three consecutive lefties at the Yankees this weekend.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Place Gary Sanchez On DL, Option Clint Frazier]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125763 2018-06-25T21:02:09Z 2018-06-25T21:00:21Z 4:00pm: Sanchez has a Grade 1 strain and is expected to miss three to four weeks of action, manager Aaron Boone tells reporters (Twitter link via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com).

    June 25, 2:20pm: The Yankees did indeed place Sanchez on the disabled list today due to a right groin strain, the team announced. Higashioka is up from Triple-A to replace him on the roster. New York also announced that Clint Frazier has been optioned to Triple-A in favor of right-hander Giovanny Gallegos.

    June 24: The Yankees will likely place catcher Gary Sanchez on the disabled list because of a right hip/groin problem, manager Aaron Boone told Marc Carig of The Athletic and other reporters Sunday.

    The Yankees fell to the Rays on Sunday, thus dropping three in a row in Tampa Bay, and Sanchez contributed to their defeat with an 0-for-4 performance. Sanchez then suffered an injury on the base paths in the top of the 10th inning, forcing him to exit the game in favor of backup Austin Romine.

    At 50-25, the Yankees have gotten off to a great start this season, though Sanchez hasn’t been at his best. After establishing himself as one of the elite catchers in the game from 2016-17, Sanchez has opened this season with a .190/.291/.433 line in 265 plate appearances. That’s good enough for a 97 wRC+, which is respectable for a catcher, but it pales in comparison to his lifetime mark (131). Sanchez has still smacked 14 home runs and posted a .242 ISO, to his credit, and he has encountered significant batted-ball misfortune. The 25-year-old ranks fourth in the majors in average exit velocity on fly balls and line drives (99 mph) and 11th in barrels per plate appearance, per Statcast. He also entered Sunday with a terrific xwOBA (.372), easily eclipsing his actual wOBA (.313).

    Behind the plate, the cannon-armed Sanchez has thrown out 28 percent of would-be base stealers – just beating out the 27 percent league average – and performed well as a pitch framer, according to Baseball Prospectus. BP has also approved of Romine’s framing work, and the longtime backup has seemingly found another gear at the plate. Romine, 29, has hit .305/.370/.524 with four homers in 92 PAs, also putting up a Sanchez-like xwOBA (.366).

    With the Yankees tied atop the AL East with the Red Sox, they’ll hope Romine can continue his apparent breakout in a larger role for however much time Sanchez misses. Fellow backstop Kyle Higashioka will likely come up from Triple-A Scranton to back up Romine, Boone said (via Carig).

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees Have Yet To Inquire On deGrom]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125378 2018-06-19T22:19:42Z 2018-06-19T22:15:47Z Having experienced a precipitous fall after an 11-1 start to the season, the Mets are reportedly willing to listen to offers on the majority of their roster. While the Mets are said to have a preference to retain their controllable players, Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News argues that the team would be foolish not to listen to offers on aces Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Ackert cites a source with another NL club in agreeing with yesterday’s report from Ken Rosenthal that the Mets are more willing to discuss trading Syndergaard than deGrom, despite the fact that Syndergaard comes with an extra year of club control. There’s a divide in the Mets’ front office about whether to even entertain offers, per Ackert, who adds that there’s nothing serious in the works at this time despite a number of teams checking in on both pitchers. The Yankees, she adds, have yet to make an inquiry.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Yankees, Mariners Interested In J.A. Happ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125266 2018-06-18T15:03:57Z 2018-06-18T15:03:57Z The Yankees and Mariners are among the clubs interested in Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Happ figures to be one of the top rentals available on the starting pitching market this summer, if not the top rental, so it’s hardly a surprise to see a pair of contending clubs with some rotation question marks eyeing the 35-year-old southpaw. Presumably, most contending clubs have at least considered making a run.

    Happ is in the final season of a three-year, $36MM contract that has proven to be a bargain for the Jays. In 423 innings since signing that deal, he’s worked to a 3.36 ERA, averaging 8.5 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 with slightly above-average ground-ball tendencies. Happ’s 2018 season is among his best yet, as he’s sporting a career-best 10.2 K/9 mark and a 10.4 percent swinging-strike rate. Lefties haven’t stood a chance against him (.159/.188/.246), while the efforts of right-handed opponents have been relatively futile in their own right (.217/.294/.346). Cole Hamels may have Happ topped in name value, but Happ is the better pitcher and this point and looks like one of the clear prizes of the summer trade market.

    Happ is earning $13MM this season, and there’s still about $7.3MM of that sum remaining to be paid out before season’s end. That’s hardly an insignificant sum, but it’s not a backbreaking total for most contending clubs, either. And, of course, the Blue Jays could help to facilitate the trade by agreeing to pay down a portion of Happ’s remaining salary as a means of helping to extract the best possible return.

    Both New York and Seattle have had some issues in their rotation, even though both clubs have received above-average results from their starting pitching. The Yankees, for instance, recently lost left-hander Jordan Montgomery to Tommy John surgery and have received inconsistent contributions from Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka. Domingo German has not seized the fifth spot in the rotation in Montgomery’s absence.

    The Mariners, meanwhile, have received just 9 2/3 innings from Erasmo Ramirez in 2018. Felix Hernandez has been hammered for a 5.44 ERA, and while Wade LeBlanc has been terrific in the fifth starter’s role, there are questions about the 33-year-old’s ability to sustain his current level of production.

    As for the Blue Jays, despite the fact that they just completed sweeps of the Nationals and Orioles, it still seems likely that they’ll be open to selling off veteran assets this summer. Even after going 7-3 in their past 10 games, the Jays are sitting at 33-38 on the season, placing them 15 games out of first place in the American League East and a similarly daunting 12.5 games back of a Wild Card spot in the American League. Toronto also has just six games against sub-.500 teams remaining between now and the All-Star break, so their upcoming schedule doesn’t present an easy road back to contention.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Ellsbury, Giambi]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125216 2018-06-19T19:26:58Z 2018-06-17T20:17:43Z
  • Thanks in part to his myriad injury issues this year, the Yankees’ Jacoby Ellsbury has become a forgotten man as part of an outfield that boasts Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks at the major league level and Clint Frazier in the minors. Ellsbury may still factor into the mix this year, however, as he was examined by a back specialist last week and will soon “ramp up” to baseball activities, manager Aaron Boone told David Lennon of Newsday and other reporters Sunday. Ellsbury hasn’t played at all in 2018, the fifth season of an ill-fated seven-year, $153MM contract, because of hip, foot and back problems.
  • During their managerial search that culminated in Boone’s hiring last winter, the Yankees did not consider former major league slugger Jason Giambi, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports. They did contact Giambi regarding a job in the organization, Kuty adds, though the ex-Yankee said Sunday at the team’s Old-Timers’ Day festivities that the timing wasn’t right for him. “I think they kind of tested to see where I was at and I just said I wasn’t ready,” said Giambi, who went on to suggest that he didn’t want to be away from his young children. Now 47, Giambi came up as a coaching candidate even before his playing career ended in 2014, as he interviewed for the Rockies’ managerial opening in 2012. That position ended up going to Walt Weiss.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Yankees Notes: Torres, Gardner]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125148 2018-06-16T23:15:42Z 2018-06-16T23:14:46Z If the Yankees are going to acquire a front-line starting pitcher this summer, it’s not going to come at the expense of rookie second baseman Gleyber Torres. General manager Brian Cashman suggested to Brendan Kuty of NJ.com and other reporters Friday that the 21-year-old Torres is untouchable. Asked if he’d consider dealing Torres, Cashman quipped, “C’mon now. I have to walk around this city.” Cashman estimates that he has talked trades with around 20 teams since June 6, though it’s no surprise that he’s uninterested in sending Torres anywhere. Torres has made good on the considerable hype he had as a minor league prospect by opening his MLB career with a .290/.345/.568 line and 13 home runs in 178 plate appearances. As a result, Torres may be the American League Rookie of the Year front-runner.

    • Torres is part of the new guard with the Yankees, whose longest-tenured player, outfielder Brett Gardner, remains a quality major leaguer at the age of 34. Gardner, who debuted with the Yankees in 2008 and is controllable through 2019 on a $12.5MM club option (or a $2MM buyout), discussed his future with Kuty earlier this week. While Gardner revealed that he’s aiming to play “two or three more years,” preferably with the Yankees, he admitted he’d consider finishing his career elsewhere if they “don’t want me here anymore and I still wanted to play a couple more years.” Whether Gardner will remain a Yankee in 2019 is far from certain – they may still boast outfielders Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier without him next year, after all – but he has made a strong case to stick with the franchise. Through 269 PAs this season, Gardner has batted .258/.350/.384 with five homers and seven steals. His above-average offensive output and outstanding work in the field (14 Defensive Runs Saved, 5.9 Utimate Zone Rating) have already led to 2.0 fWAR thus far.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire Wendell Rijo To Complete Erik Kratz Trade]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125099 2018-06-16T15:23:37Z 2018-06-16T15:03:49Z The Yankees have acquired second baseman Wendell Rijo, who is officially the player to be named later in May’s Erik Kratz trade with the Brewers; the club’s PR department has announced the acquisition.

    Nothing about the 22-year-old Rijo immediately jumps off the page. Originally an international signee of the Red Sox out of the Dominican Republic, Rijo’s played all of 374 games at the Double-A level and hasn’t been particularly impressive with the bat overall. This season, Rijo sports a .200/.304/.375 slash line with four homers across 93 plate appearances.

    Notably, though, his walk rate has made a significant jump in 2018. In a limited sample, he’s walked 12.9% of the time, which is up from just 7.7% at Double-A last season. Even more intriguing is the fact that Rijo’s suffered from some severe bad luck thus far; his .214 BABIP indicates that he likely deserves a higher batting average than the mere .200 he owns at present. Rijo was also active on the basepaths in his first three pro seasons, swiping at least 15 bags during each minor league season from 2013-2015. Though he hasn’t done nearly as much of that in recent seasons, one has to imagine he’s still got the potential to kick it up a notch on the bases.

    Regardless, the Yankees will be happy to get anything in exchange for the veteran Kratz, whom they re-signed to a minor-league deal during the offseason following using him mostly in a defensive replacement capacity and during just four MLB games in September of 2017. He’s been surprisingly effective for the Brewers this season: the backstop has three homers and a .511 wOBA across his 29 plate appearances in 2018.

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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Yankees Acquire International Pool Space From Brewers]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=125061 2018-06-15T21:45:00Z 2018-06-15T21:32:36Z The Yankees announced today that they have acquired international bonus pool availability from the Brewers. The swap will send minor-league righty Chad Whitmer to Milwaukee for an undisclosed amount of spending capacity.

    It is not immediately clear whether the funds are from the current signing period, which ends today, or for the new one set to open on July 2nd. Baseball America’s Ben Badler has provided ample detail on the Yanks’ most recent international class and previewed the organization’s upcoming dealmaking.

    Whitmer, 23, was a tenth-round pick last year who has yet to take the mound in the current season. He turned in 19 innings of 3.79 ERA pitching at the Rookie ball level (Gulf Coast League) in his debut campaign, allowing 24 hits but also recording an impressive 22:2 K/BB ratio.

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