Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Carpenter makes history with 3 HRs, 2 2Bs

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

CHICAGO -- An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals' first baseman rewriting them.

Carpenter became the first player in franchise history -- and just the second in Major League history -- to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game. Carpenter did it all in the first six innings of Friday's game against the Cubs, too, along with scoring four runs and driving in a career-high seven. The Cardinals won, 18-5.

View Full Game Coverage

CHICAGO -- An afternoon that opened with Matt Carpenter tying Lou Brock in the record books ended with the Cardinals' first baseman rewriting them.

Carpenter became the first player in franchise history -- and just the second in Major League history -- to hit three home runs and two doubles in a game. Carpenter did it all in the first six innings of Friday's game against the Cubs, too, along with scoring four runs and driving in a career-high seven. The Cardinals won, 18-5.

View Full Game Coverage

Until Friday, no player had tallied five extra-base hits in the first six innings of a game.

Video: STL@CHC: Carpenter crushes leadoff HR off scoreboard

The historic performance came on the 14-year anniversary of Albert Pujols' three-homer game at Wrigley Field. Pujols set the Cardinals' single-game record for total bases against the Cubs with 15 that day. Carpenter bettered it with 16 on Friday, tying him with Mark Whiten for the single-game club record. Whiten set that mark in his memorable four-homer game in 1993.

Carpenter began his historic performance by stinging Cubs starter Jon Lester with his 21st career leadoff homer. That moved Carpenter into a tie with Brock for the most in franchise history. With six leadoff homers this season, Carpenter has also established a new single-season franchise record.

An inning later, Carpenter stretched the Cardinals lead by blasting another two-out pitch from Lester 421 feet to give the Cards a five-run lead. He had entered the game 7-for-50 with one home run in his career against Lester.

Video: STL@CHC: Carpenter mashes his 2nd homer of the game

Carpenter then tallied two doubles during the Cardinals' seven-run fourth and secured his first career three-homer game with a long ball that landed in the right-field basket, just out of the reach of Jason Heyward, with two outs in the sixth. The three-run homer gave the Cards a 15-1 lead.

Interim manager Mike Shildt pulled Carpenter from the game in the bottom half of the frame, thus eliminating the opportunity for Carpenter to get a shot at matching Whiten's single-game home run record. Still, Carpenter joins Chicago's Kris Bryant as the only players in baseball history with a three-homer, two-double game.

Video: STL@CHC: Carpenter rips an RBI double for his 4th hit

Carpenter's five hits tied a career high, which he set on June 26. That day, Carpenter became the third player in franchise history to tally five hits and score five runs in a game. He has homered in four straight games for the first time in his career and has three leadoff blasts during that span.

Carpenter is also the first Cardinal since Pujols in 2006 to post two games with 12 total bases in one season.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals, Matt Carpenter

'Ready to win,' Machado introduced by LA

MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- And now Manny Machado can just play a baseball game.

After rumors circled and a media circus ensued around Machado and his potential suitors at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, the four-time All-Star shortstop was officially introduced as a member of the Dodgers at Miller Park before Friday night's second-half opener versus the Brewers. Acquired from the Orioles on Wednesday and widely recognized as the top player on the trade market this season, Machado can finally avoid the distractions and focus on the field.

MILWAUKEE -- And now Manny Machado can just play a baseball game.

After rumors circled and a media circus ensued around Machado and his potential suitors at the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, the four-time All-Star shortstop was officially introduced as a member of the Dodgers at Miller Park before Friday night's second-half opener versus the Brewers. Acquired from the Orioles on Wednesday and widely recognized as the top player on the trade market this season, Machado can finally avoid the distractions and focus on the field.

"[I'm] relieved it finally got done and [I] don't have to answer more questions after today," Machado said. "I'm excited to be here. I know it's a great group, great organization and they have a lot of baseball history. Just trying to go out there and win some games for the ballclub."

While Machado wore No. 13 over his six years with Baltimore, Max Muncy already dons the number with Los Angeles. Forced to make a choice, Machado will wear No. 8 in L.A. -- a homage to his favorite basketball player (and the namesake of his dog, Kobe), Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Despite the number change, the Dodgers are hoping Machado's production (.315, 24 homers, 65 RBIs) continues over the next two-plus months.

"We think Manny was the most impactful player on the market at the time, and any contender could see he could make a positive impact for him," general manager Farhan Zaidi said. "We just tried to stay involved. We knew it was in the making for months. For a player of Manny's caliber, you're going to have to give up a lot, and we did. He was our No. 1 priority this month."

Machado is expected to bat second or third in the Dodgers' lineup and play mostly shortstop, as the club is without shortstop Corey Seager for the rest of the season after he underwent Tommy John surgery in early May. Although with third baseman Justin Turner missing time before the All-Star break, Machado may also play some at the hot corner -- his primary position until 2017.

On if he has a position preference, Machado said: "I'm here to win. At the end of the day, I want to win a ring."

This isn't the first time the Dodgers have acquired a Manny in July. In 2008, Los Angeles traded for Manny Ramirez, who hit .396 with 17 homers and 53 RBIs in 53 games, pushing the Dodgers toward the playoffs. While the lofty expectations exist for Machado to help the Dodgers secure another playoff berth and send them to their second straight World Series, the 26-year-old isn't holding himself to that level.

"Just going to stay with my routine, stay with my approach. Not trying to do too much," Machado said. "Manny's Manny. [Ramirez] is a great player [and] should be in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully I can do what he did."

To make room for Machado on the 25-man roster, the Dodgers optioned outfielder Andrew Toles to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Machado

O's 'barreling ahead' in Britton trade talks

Cubs, Astros, Yankees, Red Sox among teams reportedly interested
MLB.com

The Manny Machado trade? That's so two days ago. Zach Britton is looking like the next prominent Orioles player to be dealt, as Baltimore continues the full-scale rebuild that began with Machado being sent to the Dodgers on Wednesday.

The deal shipping Brad Hand from the Padres to the Indians on Thursday may only increase the interest in Britton, as there's now one less difference-making reliever on the market.

The Manny Machado trade? That's so two days ago. Zach Britton is looking like the next prominent Orioles player to be dealt, as Baltimore continues the full-scale rebuild that began with Machado being sent to the Dodgers on Wednesday.

The deal shipping Brad Hand from the Padres to the Indians on Thursday may only increase the interest in Britton, as there's now one less difference-making reliever on the market.

Britton, who is set to become a free agent after this season, closed the first half by tossing seven straight scoreless innings, with six strikeouts and three walks in that span. The 30-year-old southpaw has shown a notable velocity increase lately as he gets back in a groove after missing the first two and a half months while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

Video: Richard Justice discusses the latest MLB trade rumors

Here's the latest trade news surrounding the O's closer:

• ESPN's Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Orioles are "barreling ahead" with trade discussions regarding Britton, naming the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Astros, Phillies and Braves as teams in the mix. Braves executive vice president and general manager Alex Anthopoulos recently expressed his reluctance to trade for rental players in a Q&A session with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so it's unclear how serious Atlanta's interest is.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Orioles are barreling ahead with Zach Britton trade talks now that they���ve moved Machado and officially declared a rebuild. #Cubs, #Yankees, #Redsox, #SfGiants, #Astros and #Phillies are among the teams in the mix.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Braves have talked to the #Orioles about Zach Britton, so you can add them to the list of teams in the mix. Atlanta needs bullpen help and has a lot of talent in the system. A lot depends on how deep Alex Anthopoulos is willing to dig for a rental player.

• Sources tell Bruce Levine of 670 The Score that the Cubs are a "main player" for Britton. The Cubs bolstered their bullpen with Thursday's trade for Jesse Chavez, but that move doesn't satisfy their need for a late-inning arm, especially after Brandon Morrow was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right biceps inflammation.

Tweet from @MLBBruceLevine: Orioles GM Dan Duquette on MLB radio just said his next efforts will be to move the Zach Britton trade market forward . Sources point to the Chicago Cubs as a main player if they are convinced he is healthy.

While the Cubs' bullpen has performed well this season, manager Joe Maddon made it clear he's in favor of adding a reliever. "If you look at the numbers, our pitching is among the best," Maddon said, per a story by Levine. "We are always looking to make things stronger. That is what GMs do. We will see how the whole thing plays out. The bullpen is still very thick. It's not like there is a lack of confidence down there. But if I was running the team and you get in this position, you always try to make things a little better."

• According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Britton was included in the Phillies' trade discussions for Machado and the club "will stay on him" after narrowly missing out on the All-Star shortstop.

Video: MLB Tonight breaks down the latest trade targets

• The Orioles have been scouting the Red Sox's Double-A affiliate, and specifically third baseman Michael Chavis (Boston's No. 1 prospect, No. 63 overall, per MLB Pipeline), according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Chavis recently returned from an 80-game suspension and has played only 10 contests this season.

Tweet from @nickcafardo: With the Red Sox interested in Orioles reliever Zach Britton, the Orioles have been scouting Portland (AA). One of the players they'd like to watch, third baseman Michael Chavis, hasn't played since July 14th. Chavis is a little rusty after serving an 80-game PED suspension.

Per the Baltimore Sun, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette recently commented on Britton's resurgence and indicated that the market for the reliever had begun to increase.

"Clubs have become more interested in Zach as he has regained his velocity and particularly, the sink and movement on his pitch," Duquette said. "He had a really good week this past week, so clubs have renewed their interest in Zach. We engaged other clubs on that front, but we're not as far down the road in the process, and I think that's partly because clubs were waiting to see how Zach was throwing, and exactly what role he could help on a pennant-contending team."

• MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reported earlier this week that the market for Britton had "picked up steam," noting that the Orioles could move quickly on a Britton trade after getting the Machado deal done.

Thomas Harrigan is an editor for MLB.com.

Zach Britton

No Machado? No problem: Good hitters abound

MLB.com @jonmorosi

Two things you should know about Manny Machado: He is a great baseball player. He has finally been traded.

Perhaps those updates crossed your desk previously. Here, then, our aim is to share information on the other talented position players who may change uniforms between now and 4 p.m. ET on July 31.

Two things you should know about Manny Machado: He is a great baseball player. He has finally been traded.

Perhaps those updates crossed your desk previously. Here, then, our aim is to share information on the other talented position players who may change uniforms between now and 4 p.m. ET on July 31.

What follows is a look at the midsummer market across the Majors, with two weeks left before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

CATCHERS

Top names: J.T. Realmuto, Wilson Ramos, A.J. Ellis, Robinson Chirinos

Perhaps we will finally see a resolution to the Realmuto trade saga, but the Marlins' price on him remains high given that he's under club control through 2020. Meanwhile, the chances of a trade involving the other top available catcher, Ramos, are diminishing due to his recent left hamstring injury that could keep him out past the Deadline.

Ellis, a respected veteran who appeared in 17 postseason games with the Dodgers, is having a strong offensive season for the Padres in a backup role. He could fit nicely with the Brewers -- he lives in the Milwaukee area during the offseason -- or Mariners, who may benefit from an added veteran presence after stumbling at the end of the first half.

Teams shopping: Astros, Nationals, Mariners, Brewers

The Nationals are poised to upgrade their catching in the coming weeks. They have the worst OPS at the position of any team in the Majors, and their opportunities to upgrade at other positions appear limited.

The Astros had shown interest in Ramos, as they wait for clarity on what to expect from veteran Brian McCann when he returns from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Now, the uncertainty surrounding Ramos' health could make a trade difficult before the Deadline.

FIRST BASEMEN/DESIGNATED HITTERS

Top names: C.J. Cron, Mike Moustakas, Justin Bour, Joe Mauer, Jose Martinez

Moustakas is a third baseman, of course, but the Royals have given him playing time at the opposite corner in an effort to create additional trade value. (The Yankees are one team that has shown interest in him there.)

Mauer has full no-trade protection, and it's unclear if he'd want to pursue a World Series title elsewhere -- even for a few months -- or spend his entire career playing for his hometown team.

Cron is having a breakthrough season in his first year with the Rays, already setting a career high with 19 home runs while splitting time between first base and designated hitter. As with virtually the entire roster, Tampa Bay will consider offers for him.

Martinez has been among the Cardinals' most pleasant surprises, but some in the industry believe he profiles best as an American League designated hitter. Cards interim manager Mike Schildt had him on the bench for his first couple of games at the helm, opting for Matt Carpenter at first and Jedd Gyorko at third. Martinez is under control through 2022, and his career .870 OPS could be enticing to a lot of teams if he becomes available.

Teams shopping: Yankees, Astros

The Yankees' need for a first baseman has dissipated somewhat, as Greg Bird's production picked up in the final week before the All-Star break.

The Astros' need isn't pressing, but they could look to add a left-handed bat, either at first base or in the outfield.

Video: Scooter Gennett continues to amaze in 2018

SECOND BASEMEN

Top names: Scooter Gennett, Brian Dozier, Asdrubal Cabrera, Starlin Castro

Gennett, a first-time All-Star and free agent after next year, is a candidate to be extended or traded by the Reds. With Dozier, the possibility of a long-term deal never seemed to gain much traction, meaning a trade has become increasingly likely. The difference between the two is that Dozier will be a free agent this offseason, while Gennett has one more year of arbitration remaining.

And while the Mets will agonize over whether to trade Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, there's no such dilemma with Cabrera. He's having arguably his best offensive season at age 32, and he's not under contract for 2019.

Teams shopping: Dodgers, Red Sox, Brewers, Giants

The Dodgers and Twins engaged in protracted trade talks regarding Dozier two offseasons ago. A trade fit still exists between the teams, as a result of Logan Forsythe's poor first half in Los Angeles, though the Dodgers' need is not as great with Machado in the fold as they can now slide Chris Taylor over to second. The Red Sox (Dustin Pedroia) and Giants (Joe Panik) will look at second basemen, depending on the health status of their injured starters.

Video: Josh Donaldson carries clutch bat, glove

THIRD BASEMEN

Top names: Eduardo Escobar, Mike Moustakas, Adrian Beltre, Matt Duffy, Josh Donaldson

Escobar has been one of baseball's most underrated infielders in 2018. Beltre, like Mauer, has full no-trade rights and can determine if he wants to leave and pursue a World Series title.

Donaldson, limited by injuries to 36 games and a .757 OPS this season, remains on the disabled list due to left calf problems. The longer his health questions linger, the more likely it is that he will remain on Toronto's roster into August -- and perhaps longer than that. Given Donaldson's uneven season, the Blue Jays might be best served by giving him a qualifying offer this offseason and taking the Draft-pick compensation should he sign elsewhere. Duffy, like his Tampa Bay teammate Cron, is an overlooked trade candidate who has posted career-best offensive numbers this season.

Teams shopping: Phillies, Red Sox, D-backs

Philadelphia looked like a fit for Machado, but the Phils could still target a guy like Moustakas. The D-backs (Jake Lamb) and Red Sox (Rafael Devers) could add a veteran right-handed hitter to complement a lefty-swinging regular who had a disappointing first half.

Video: Jose Iglesias impressive at shortstop and at the dish

SHORTSTOPS

Top names: Jose Iglesias, Jordy Mercer

It's a thin list with Machado no longer available. Iglesias has been more durable, and slightly more productive, in 2018 than in recent years. Mercer, meanwhile, has continued producing nearly the same offensive numbers every year. Both Iglesias and Mercer are free agents after the season.

Teams shopping: Phillies, Brewers

The Phillies have gotten terrible production from shortstop, which is why they were in on Machado. They could still make a move for a short-term upgrade and hope for more from J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery in 2019 and beyond. Meanwhile, it will be a mild surprise if the Brewers do not upgrade their middle infield in the coming days. Their shortstops and second basemen have combined for wRC+ of 64, which ranks 30th among all middle-infield production.

Utility players

Top names: Whit Merrifield, Jedd Gyorko, Josh Harrison, Yangervis Solarte, Yolmer Sanchez, Derek Dietrich, Miguel Rojas, Wilmer Flores

Merrifield is the player virtually every contender wants, because he's controllable through 2022 and can play nearly every position on the diamond. Harrison's production is down this season, but his energetic style would fit nicely on a contender like the Dodgers. He's an ideal change-of-scenery candidate.

Donaldson's health woes mean that Solarte has become Toronto's most marketable position player on the trade market. But he is a popular teammate and under control (through team options) until after the 2020 season, so the Jays have little urgency to trade him.

Teams shopping: Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies

The Red Sox factor prominently into this market, given the injuries to Devers and Pedroia and poor production from Eduardo Nunez. Boston has shown interest in Merrifield, the only player in the Majors this year to start five or more games at first base, second base, center field and right field.

CENTER FIELDERS

Top names: Adam Jones, Tommy Pham

Jones has not played a corner outfield spot in the regular season since 2007, but the number of interested teams will expand if he's willing to move from the position where he has won four Gold Glove Awards. As a 10-and-5 player, he has full no-trade protection.

Pham declined to sign a long-term contract with the Cardinals prior to this season, and his numbers have regressed. Combine those factors with the overall turmoil with the organization, and a trade is plausible.

Teams shopping: Indians, Athletics

Cleveland's .565 OPS in center field was the Majors' second worst during the first half. The A's, meanwhile, had six players start in center field during the first half. Dustin Fowler and Mark Canha have split time there recently.

CORNER OUTFIELDERS

Top names: Nicholas Castellanos, Shin-Soo Choo, Curtis Granderson, Adam Duvall, Dexter Fowler, Corey Dickerson, Jose Bautista

The Tigers are willing to move Castellanos as their rebuild continues, but his market hasn't fully developed yet. Granderson, the one-time Tiger, has been exactly what the Jays expected on and off the field and is a good candidate to be moved to a contender for the second straight year.

The emergence of Jesse Winker with Cincinnati has made Duvall expendable. Elsewhere in the National League Central, Fowler is a buy-low candidate after his production and playing time have diminished in St. Louis, but he has three years and more than $40 million left on his deal.

Video: CIN@CLE: Winker smashes a 2-run homer to right field

Teams shopping: Giants, Nationals, Phillies, D-backs

Left field continues to vex the Giants, who have struggled for years to find a productive, everyday solution at the position. San Francisco's .648 OPS in left field was the NL's worst mark in the first half.

The Astros also could look to upgrade in left, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic has reported. One reason: Left fielder Kyle Tucker, Houston's top position-player prospect, has posted a .419 OPS thus far in the Majors.

And while there are other metrics by which to evaluate players, here's something to consider: The right fielders for both the Phillies and D-backs have combined to hit below .200.

Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.

Cards could shake up market with Jose Martinez

Should St. Louis decide to sell, slugger could be a top target
MLB.com

When it comes to the trade market, the St. Louis Cardinals' status is very fluid. Given their hovering-around-.500 record and surprising recent managerial change, they could buy, hold or sell. If they choose to do the latter, the Cards have at least one very intriguing piece to dangle in Jose Martinez.

The righty slugger's role with the team has shifted under new skipper Mike Shildt, which at least raises the possibility that St. Louis could look to move Martinez, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. As an in-his-prime bat who has owns a .307/.375/.497 career slash line and comes with a whopping four-and-a-half years of club control, players like Martinez don't often get traded.

When it comes to the trade market, the St. Louis Cardinals' status is very fluid. Given their hovering-around-.500 record and surprising recent managerial change, they could buy, hold or sell. If they choose to do the latter, the Cards have at least one very intriguing piece to dangle in Jose Martinez.

The righty slugger's role with the team has shifted under new skipper Mike Shildt, which at least raises the possibility that St. Louis could look to move Martinez, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. As an in-his-prime bat who has owns a .307/.375/.497 career slash line and comes with a whopping four-and-a-half years of club control, players like Martinez don't often get traded.

So why might it happen, and where might Martinez fit?

Video: CLE@STL: Jose Martinez crushes a 3-run homer to left

For one, Shildt through three contests has chosen to start Matt Carpenter at first base, and the versatile vet has started the second half on fire, including a historic three-homer, two-double performance Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field.

First base had been Martinez's primary position this season, as he'd started 75 of the Cards' first 93 games there despite ranking among the worst with the glove. That points to the organization's renewed focus on solidifying the defense, as MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch writes:

"Cleaning up the defense was an impetus for some of Shildt's changes -- most notably in nudging Martinez out of an everyday role. Shildt has talked to Martinez about the change, as the organization evaluates whether he might best fit as a trade chip this month."

For another, despite his offensive production in the Major Leagues, Martinez already will turn 30 years old on July 25 and has a history as a journeyman who bounced around the Minors before finally getting his break in St. Louis last year.

What does this mean for Martinez going forward? "Right now, that asset could be a great bat off the bench," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "Obviously, long term, that is something we need to think through."

If that's how the Cards are viewing Martinez -- as a bench bat behind the red-hot Carpenter -- then it behooves other clubs to inquire about his availability. Given Martinez's defensive limitations, he might best be utilized as a designated hitter who occasionally handles first base. So here are a few American League teams who could benefit from bringing aboard Martinez's big bat.

Seattle Mariners
The Mariners traded for Ryon Healy last offseason, but Martinez unquestionably would be an upgrade as Healy has power (18 homers) but lacks plate discipline (.270 OBP). Not to mention, longtime slugger Nelson Cruz is due to hit free agency this offseason, so Martinez could be a ready-made replacement at DH for years to come. If the Mariners want to end their 17-year postseason drought -- MLB's longest-active streak -- they have to think big and make any improvement they can.

Houston Astros
The defending champs appear to be in the market to bolster their lineup, as they've been linked to White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu already. While Yuli Gurriel holds the spot for now, he's 34 years old and has seen his pop drop this year (.486 SLG in 2017 to .444 in '18) after a broken left hamate bone. Meanwhile, regular DH Evan Gattis has been hitting for power (.538 SLG since June 1) but lacks on-base skills (.285 OBP over the same span) and will hit the open market in a few months.

New York Yankees
Considering the Yankees were connected to Manny Machado, they might be aiming to load up their already potent lineup if they can't land rotation help. Although Martinez hits well against both right-handers and left-handers, he's especially dangerous against southpaws (.348/.430/.598 in his career). That makes him a candidate to complement to Greg Bird, who is no stranger to the DL.

Los Angeles Angels
The Angels are on the outside of the AL postseason picture but very much in win-now mode. Sure, this is an unlikely fit, because Albert Pujols remains under contract through 2021 (yes, really) and some rookie named Shohei Ohtani is in the mix at DH. That said, the 38-year-old Pujols -- currently on the DL with left knee inflammation -- continues to show his age (98 OPS+) and Ohtani's Grade 2 ulnar collateral ligament sprain puts his health in question for the rest of 2018 and possibly into 2019.

Jason Catania is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JayCat11.

New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros, Jose Martinez

Enjoy the start of the 2nd half with free MLB.TV

MLB.com

Baseball's stretch run is right around the corner, and there's no better time to jump in on wall-to-wall live streaming on MLB.TV.

MLB.TV, Major League Baseball's live streaming service, is free and available for all out-of-market games through Sunday's schedule. Viewers can simply create an MLB.TV account and enjoy the pitches, hits, catches and celebrations during the first weekend of the season's crucial second half.

Baseball's stretch run is right around the corner, and there's no better time to jump in on wall-to-wall live streaming on MLB.TV.

MLB.TV, Major League Baseball's live streaming service, is free and available for all out-of-market games through Sunday's schedule. Viewers can simply create an MLB.TV account and enjoy the pitches, hits, catches and celebrations during the first weekend of the season's crucial second half.

Watch live games on MLB.TV

There's no shortage of intrigue as baseball gets back underway. Four-time All-Star shortstop Manny Machado plays his first series with the Dodgers as they take on the Brewers in Milwaukee. The Orioles sent shockwaves through baseball when they traded Machado, the face of their franchise, to Los Angeles for a package of five prospects on Wednesday.

Former Padres closer Brad Hand, one of baseball's best high-leverage relievers, joins the Indians following his Thursday trade to Cleveland.

There's more to watch other than intrigue surrounding the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Mets are in the Bronx for another chapter of their Subway Series rivalry with the Yankees, with Mets star Yoenis Cespedes returning from his prolonged stint on the disabled list. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Cardinals continue their four-game series this weekend in Chicago with another installment of their timeless rivalry. Elsewhere, the Nationals try to make up ground in the National League East in a home series against the Braves, and the reigning World Series-champion Astros have gone west to take on Mike Trout and the Angels in Anaheim.

All live games streamed on any MLB.TV product and available via MLB.com At Bat are subject to local, regional or national blackouts. If a game is blacked out in an area, it is not available for live game viewing via MLB.TV. For MLB.TV subscribers within an area subject to blackout, applicable games will be available as archived games approximately 90 minutes following their conclusions.

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB.

Machado, Stras, Subway Series kick off 2nd half

Cards, Cubs continue 5-game set; Rox try to pick up where they left off
MLB.com @castrovince

The All-Star break might have slowed the Major League schedule for a few days, but it didn't cease the significant action. Not with superstar shortstop Manny Machado getting dealt to the Dodgers literally as the All-Star festivities were unfolding and with the Indians dealing for All-Star closer Brad Hand from the Padres on Thursday.

So the ceremonial "second half" began with a transaction-wire bang, and now we're back up and running with a full slate of games this weekend. Here are five topics to track:

The All-Star break might have slowed the Major League schedule for a few days, but it didn't cease the significant action. Not with superstar shortstop Manny Machado getting dealt to the Dodgers literally as the All-Star festivities were unfolding and with the Indians dealing for All-Star closer Brad Hand from the Padres on Thursday.

So the ceremonial "second half" began with a transaction-wire bang, and now we're back up and running with a full slate of games this weekend. Here are five topics to track:

Video: David Vassegh weighs in on the Manny Machado deal

1. Mannywood, Part Deux: Hey, look, Machado wound up in Milwaukee, after all. Just not the way Brewers fans hoped.

The Brewers were motivated suitors in the Machado sweepstakes, with the second-lowest OPS (.567) from the shortstop position in the Majors this year. But we know well how difficult it can be for a smaller-market club to go all-in on a rental acquisition (which is what made the Brewers' in-season swap for CC Sabathia a decade ago so striking).

And so it's the Dodgers who scored in the Machado market, and his instant assignment against a potential postseason foe at Miller Park in a three-game series that begins at 8:10 p.m. ET tonight is must-see stuff.

Machado will be throwing on that Dodger blue for the first time and trying to do his part to help L.A. maintain the momentum we witnessed in the first half, when the Dodgers went from 10 games below .500 to 10 games above in a span of just 52 games, thanks to the unexpected impact of guys like All-Stars Max Muncy and Matt Kemp. Now they've got a bona fide superstar at short to fill the void Corey Seager left behind when he underwent Tommy John surgery.

Let the Machado era, however brief it might be and however much it might frustrate clubs like the Brewers, begin.

Video: Bryce Harper talks after 2018 Home Run Derby win

2. Nats more like it: The Washington Nationals did not expect to be here, looking up at the Phillies and Braves in the NL East standings. But even as they're looking up, maybe things are looking up.

Right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who has been on the disabled list since June 10 with right shoulder inflammation, returns to the Nats' rotation for tonight's 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Braves at Nationals Park. It's an increasingly tense division battle, and Strasburg is just the kind of guy who, if healthy, can help the Nats reassert themselves within it. Washington entered the All-Star break an even 48-48, trailing the surprising first-place Phillies by 5 1/2 games and the equally surprising Braves by five. Though hardly the only issue, injuries were undoubtedly a factor in the Nationals' first-half demise, and getting both Strasburg and Ryan Zimmerman back in action this weekend could put the Nats on the path toward repair.

The other lingering storyline, in the wake of that All-Star experience at Nationals Park, is Bryce Harper's swing. So often the concern with an electric T-Mobile Home Run Derby performance like the one Harper put together in his adopted "hometown" is that it will throw a guy out of whack in the second half. With Harper, whose batting average has declined by more than 100 points this year, the hope in Washington is that it puts him back on track and that the love affair between player and town that we witnessed on Derby Day will carry into the final months before his free agency.

Video: Bader, Pham headline Cardinals' first-half Statcasts

3. What's in the Cards? The relative constancy of the Cards was shaken up a week ago when they dismissed manager Mike Matheny and hitting coaches John Mabry and Bill Mueller in the midst of a winning-but-unfulfilling 2018 season. Because of the magnitude of a move like that and the urgency of a proud organization trying to avoid missing the playoffs three straight years (for the first time since '97-99), there would have been considerably more attention placed upon the immediate second-half results no matter who they were playing.

But they're playing the Cubs! That's always a big deal, especially now, with the Cubs having achieved a measure of momentum in their quest for a third straight division title and with the Cards, as catcher and leader Yadier Molina said at the All-Star break, "trying to move on, trying to move forward."

The four-game series continues at 2:20 p.m. ET today. The Cards are 8 1/2 games back in the division and 4 1/2 back in the NL Wild Card race. They got a significant wakeup call just before the break, and this weekend will tell us a lot about their ability to answer it.

Video: deGrom strikes out 7 over 8 innings in his last start

4. (From) New York, (to) New York? The rental market at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline doesn't have too many guys of the season-changing ilk like Machado, unfortunately, but wouldn't it be something if the Mets took advantage of a weak starting pitching field and capitalized on the value of a controllable starter like Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz or -- the most valuable chip of all -- Jacob deGrom? And while we're at it, wouldn't it really be something if it were the crosstown Yankees who swung such a swap?

We're probably just dreaming, of course, but, if nothing else, the Yankees will get a first-hand look at those three guys in succession this weekend (Syndergaard opposes Domingo German in tonight's 7:05 p.m. ET opener at Yankee Stadium). deGrom's agent, Brodie van Wagenen, made some noise this week with the release of a statement to The Athletic essentially saying that if the Mets have no intention of extending deGrom, who is already under contractual control through 2020, they should trade him. (He later clarified that he was not demanding a trade).

So it adds another layer of intrigue to the Subway Series, given how well these two clubs seem to match up trade talks, if you can get past the whole "dealing within your city" taboo like the Cubs and White Sox did last summer in the Jose Quintana swap.

Video: Must C Curious: Marquez hits first HR off infielder

5. Rox stars: Issues with what was supposed to be a super 'pen had the Rockies in an eight-game hole in the NL West as recently as June 28. But the Rox went on a roll just before the break, winning 13 of 16 and each of their last five.

They'll look to continue that run in Arizona this weekend against the division-rival D-backs. When these two clubs met last week, things got so crazy that a pitcher (German Marquez) hit a home run off a position player (Daniel Descalso) in a lopsided Rockies' win.

Doubtful we see something that rare again (though Marquez is starting tonight's 9:40 p.m. opener at Chase Field), but we do expect to see an intense showdown between two clubs who are both within two games of the division-leading Dodgers.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, New York Mets, Arizona Diamondbacks

Trade Talk: Familia, Archer, Bumgarner, Abreu

The latest news and rumors leading up to July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline
MLB.com

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Mets "exchanging names" with clubs interested in Familia
July 20: Among Mets trade chips, Jeurys Familia doesn't hold the same cache as Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but he's much more likely to be moved by the end of this month. In fact, the club has advanced discussions to where it reportedly is exchanging names with as many as eight suitors, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

As the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches, we'll keep you up to date with the latest news, buzz, rumors and more.

Mets "exchanging names" with clubs interested in Familia
July 20: Among Mets trade chips, Jeurys Familia doesn't hold the same cache as Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, but he's much more likely to be moved by the end of this month. In fact, the club has advanced discussions to where it reportedly is exchanging names with as many as eight suitors, according to SNY's Andy Martino.

Tweet from @martinonyc: Mets have gotten to the point of exchanging names with teams on Jeurys Familia trades. Nothing is imminent but bet on him moving well before deadline. 7-8 teams have shown varying degrees of interest, plenty of scouts to see him tonight

A free agent this offseason, the 28-year-old closer is having a strong campaign with a 2.88 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and a 9.5 K/9 rate. Familia has been even better in July, though, as he's bounced back from a shaky June (8.22 ERA) by allowing just one hit and one walk over seven scoreless frames.

That puts Familia, who could be a good fit for the Cubs, Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, Mariners and Astros, among MLB.com's Mark Feinsand's latest list of trade candidates improving their stock.

Keep or deal: What should Rays do with Archer?
July 20: Is Chris Archer on the trade market … or not? That could be one of the key questions as we hurtle toward the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. And it's not necessarily easy to answer.

The case for holding Archer: The Rays open the second half with a winning record thanks to a promising young core, and Archer -- in the middle of a somewhat disappointing 2018 due in part to an abdominal injury that cost him more than a month and also undercut his value as a trade chip -- is inked to a contract that allows the cost-conscious club to keep him around.

The case for trading Archer: That team-friendly contract -- which pays him $7.5 million next year and includes club options for 2020 ($9 million) and '21 ($11 million) -- is extremely appealing, and the Rays could take advantage of a market that lacks much in the way of impact starting pitching.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times suggests that the Rays should consider dealing Archer, who turns 30 in September, but notes: "The Rays aren't going to get as much for Archer as they would have a couple of years ago, but that always has been the risk as they operate with a sliding scale. And he's probably going to have to pitch well in the couple of starts he makes before the July 31 trade deadline just to generate a return the Rays would even consider."

If that happens and Archer is dangled, a number of teams -- both contenders and even some on-the-upswing rebuilding organizations -- would be interested, including the Yankees, Mariners, A's, Brewers, Cubs, Phillies, Braves and Padres.

Heyman: Yankees 'holding out some hope' for ace; Bumgarner not available
July 20: The Yankees are known to be in the market for a starting pitcher and are "holding out some hope" they can land an ace, but Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ remains the starter New York is "most likely" to acquire, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman for Fancred Sports.

Among aces, Heyman considers the Cardinals' Carlos Martinez "the best that [the Yankees] could hope for," noting that Mets right-handers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are doubtful to be traded.

Per Heyman, one hurler that definitely isn't available is the Giants' Madison Bumgarner, as San Francisco is trying to win this season and has the southpaw on a reasonable $12 million team option for 2019. Bumgarner, 28, has recorded a 2.90 ERA in eight starts since returning from surgery on his fractured left hand.

Martinez's availability is also in question, as Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said he doesn't "envision" trading any of the club's high-end pitchers.

Happ, who is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, made his first All-Star team this year and recorded a save -- the first of his career -- in the American League's 8-6 win. However, the 35-year-old has posted a 9.75 ERA for the Jays this month, perhaps putting a damper on his trade stock.

Astros showing interest in Abreu
July 20: While the Astros have one of the highest-scoring lineups in baseball, president of baseball operations and general manager Jeff Luhnow may still be looking to add a big-name bat before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Among the players Houston is exploring? White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, according to MLB.com's Richard Justice in an appearance on MLB Network's "MLB Central."

Though Justice acknowledges that Luhnow might simply be "casting a really wide net," the Astros' interest in Abreu provides a glimpse at Luhnow's thought process as he attempts to load up the roster for a second straight World Series title run.

The Astros have also been connected to Orioles closer Zach Britton, and they were believed to be discussing Rays catcher Wilson Ramos before he went on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain earlier this week.

Of course, it's unclear if the White Sox would even consider trading Abreu, as they reportedly place great value in his clubhouse presence and influence over many of Chicago's young players, including fellow Cuban Yoan Moncada. Abreu, 31, is under team control through 2019.

Video: Justice on Astros' interest in Abreu, Archer rumors

Twins "not ruling anything out" with Dozier
July 20: Brian Dozier is in his seventh season as a member of the Twins, but will the power-hitting second baseman remain in Minnesota all the way through 2018?

"We're not ruling anything out in the future with Brian," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said on MLB Network Radio, indicating that the club could consider signing him to an extension or dealing the free-agent-to-be by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: With the Trade Deadline approaching, how much longer will Brian Dozier be in a #MNTwins uniform? @CaseyStern asked Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey that very question. pic.twitter.com/Gb2zbJ8kNC

"We also have to recognize where we are in the season," Falvey added, alluding to Minnesota's 44-50 mark entering Friday, "and that if something presents that we have to consider, that's our job."

Dozier has heated up of late -- he's hitting .298/.369/.632 with five homers and 17 RBIs in 15 July games -- just as trade rumors surrounding the slugging second-sacker have popped up. MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal reported earlier this week that the Brewers, after missing out on Manny Machado, would shift their focus to Dozier to help improve their middle infield.

Realmuto's price remains lofty
July 20: As one of the best catchers in baseball, J.T. Realmuto also is one of the most desirable trade chips around -- that is, if he's even available. It's no secret the Marlins are looking toward the future in their first year under new ownership. What is less certain, however, is whether they actually would consider dealing Realmuto, who makes it onto MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi's list of top hitters on the market.

"The Marlins have maintained they will listen on all players, but they also have made it clear the asking price for their All-Star catcher is extremely high," MLB.com's Joe Frisaro writes. "The club also has internally discussed exploring a contract extension with him in the offseason."

Just how valuable is Realmuto, a 27-year-old who leads all catchers in both wOBA (.384) and wRC+ (145) and is an elite defender? On FanGraphs' 2018 Trade Value rankings, Realmuto checks in at No. 24 in all of baseball. In other words, he's indeed an extremely valuable commodity -- and one the Marlins don't have to trade anytime soon, considering he's under club control through 2020.

The Astros, Brewers and Nationals are among the clubs in the market for catching help, as Morosi notes, with Washington most often and most closely linked to Realmuto. More >

Britton's market is starting to move
July 20: The Manny Machado trade? That's so 48 hours ago. The Orioles have shifted their focus to their next big trade piece -- closer Zach Britton. And plenty of contending clubs are interested, as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick points out.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Orioles are barreling ahead with Zach Britton trade talks now that they���ve moved Machado and officially declared a rebuild. #Cubs, #Yankees, #Redsox, #SfGiants, #Astros and #Phillies are among the teams in the mix.

The Cubs -- who placed injury-prone closer Brandon Morrow on the DL on Thursday with right biceps inflammation -- reportedly are at the front of the line as a "main player," Bruce Levine of 670 The Score notes.

Britton, who is a free agent this offseason, has made 15 appearances since returning from offseason surgery to repair a ruptured right Achilles. Though he got off to a rough start, the 30-year-old has not given up a run over his past seven outings (seven innings) while showing a dramatic increase in velocity.

As many as eight teams have been connected to Britton, an industry source recently told Levine. More >

Could Hand trade lead to Reds dealing Iglesias?
July 20: With left-hander Brad Hand now a member of the Indians after being dealt by the Padres on Thursday, the Reds' Raisel Iglesias is arguably the best reliever on the trade market. And as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand writes, the Hand trade reaffirmed the lofty return the Reds might be able to get by moving the right-hander.

In exchange for Hand and righty reliever Adam Cimber, the Padres landed catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia, MLB Pipeline's No. 15 overall prospect.

Iglesias, 28, has been one of the best relievers in the National League since he moved to the bullpen on a full-time basis in 2016, and he has posted a 2.36 ERA with a 1.02 WHIP and a 9.9 K/9 rate this season.

But if another team, such as the Astros or the Braves, offers a prospect on the same level as Mejia, the Reds could be tempted to deal the closer, who is owed slightly over $11 million across '19-20 (though he can opt into arbitration this offseason).

Rosenthal: Why Rox could target deGrom
July 20: Imagine Jacob deGrom with the Rockies. OK, it might be unlikely but that didn't stop MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal from suggesting as much in a story for The Athletic (subscription required).

Given that the Rockies -- just two games out of a National League Wild Card spot after wrapping the first half with five straight wins -- are on a never-ending hunt for pitchers, making a play for the MLB ERA leader would be something. And as Rosenthal explains, it would give star third baseman Nolan Arenado reason to think about sticking in Colorado when he hits the open market after the 2019 season.

From the Mets' point of view, the Rockies could be one club to entice them into actually making their ace right-hander available, by dangling top-notch youngster Brendan Rodgers, among others. The 21-year-old 2015 first-round pick ranks as MLB Pipeline's No. 6 overall prospect and has 17 homers and an .846 OPS at Double-A this year. While Rodgers is in line to replace free-agent-to-be DJ LeMahieu at second base in 2019, the Rockies also have infield prospect Garrett Hampson as a candidate.

Tigers' plan for Fulmer, Castellanos
July 20: The rebuilding Tigers have a handful of players they could consider swapping, but it seems their biggest names aren't at the forefront for now.

Right-hander Michael Fulmer (under club control through 2022) and slugging outfielder Nicholas Castellanos (through 2019) have been mentioned often as trade candidates, but Fulmer hit the DL with a left oblique strain Friday afternoon. Detroit appears more likely to focus on moving others first, anyway, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick.

Tweet from @jcrasnick: The #Tigers are focusing their efforts on trying to move Francisco Liriano, Mike Fiers and Leonys Martin at the deadline. Fulmer and Castellanos are more on the back burner. Al Avila will listen, but a team will have to make a big push to land one of those guys.

None of southpaw Francisco Liriano (.088/.200/.193 vs. lefty batters), righty Mike Fiers (3.70 ERA, 1.22 WHIP) nor outfielder Leonys Martin (.281/.356/.452 vs. righty pitchers) are premium pieces, but each has the ability to help a contender down the stretch. Detroit could consider packaging two or more to provide depth and utility in specific situations, which would come in handy in September and October.

As for Fulmer, his ailment certainly puts his trade status in doubt for this month. The Tigers will have to weigh his value to them versus his value on the market going forward given his growing injury issues.

Cardinals unlikely to move Carlos Martinez, but Jose Martinez could go
July 20: The Cardinals are unlikely to trade right-hander Carlos Martinez, or any of their high-end pitchers, as the Trade Deadline draws near, according to president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.

"For us, the one core we have is pitching," Mozeliak said before Thursday's series opener at Wrigley Field. "And to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special-type deal, otherwise it would make no sense to us. None of that has presented itself to me. No one has called me with any great ideas that way. One of the responsibilities is us looking at potential trades, potential partners, but nothing that I've looked at would make sense in that regard. I don't envision us moving pitching."

As far as what St. Louis might do before the Deadline, Mozeliak, for the second time this week, responded with the succinct answer of "TBD." Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests the Cardinals could look to trade first baseman Jose Martinez, who is set to move to a bench role as the club puts more emphasis on defense.

"Yeah, at some point," Mozeliak said about considering trading the slugger. "Right now, that asset could be a great bat off the bench. Obviously, long term, that is something we need to think through."

While Martinez is a poor defender, he has posted a 130 wRC+ this season and could be of particular interest to a American League teams. More >

Rangers deal Chavez, other relievers could follow
July 19: The Rangers traded righty reliever Jesse Chavez to the Cubs in exchange for Minor League southpaw Tyler Thomas on Thursday night.

The 34-year-old Chavez owns a lifetime 4.61 ERA, but he has posted a 3.51 mark along with a career-best 4.2 K/BB ratio across 56 1/3 innings in 2018. Chavez, who has started 68 times in his past 192 appearances, provides the Cubs with some versatility, though he has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen this year.

The 22-year-old Thomas -- a seventh-round pick in last year's June Draft -- has posted a combined 2.77 ERA with 105 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings between Class A Short-Season Eugene and Class A South Bend since his 2017 professional debut.

After Chavez, closer Keone Kela and lefty Jake Diekman could be on the move next, according to MLB.com's TR Sullivan.

Tweet from @Sullivan_Ranger: Rangers are getting more interest in their relievers than anything else. Closer Keone Kela and left-hander Jake Diekman are intriguing to clubs

Kela would be a valuable addition to any club looking to shore up the bullpen now and for the future, considering he is under team control until 2022. Kela has thrived in the ninth-inning role, going 23-for-23 in save tries with a 3.27 ERA (2.51 FIP) and a 10.9 K/9 rate in 33 innings. The 25-year-old righty has established himself as a top-notch reliever across the past two seasons, posting a 3.01 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP and 91 strikeouts in 71 2/3 innings since the beginning of '17.

Diekman, meanwhile, could provide short-term help, as he is set to be a free agent this offseason. The 31-year-old southpaw missed most of last year while recovering from colon surgery, but he's fared well with a 3.21 ERA and an 11.0 K/9 rate in 33 2/3 innings this season.

As evidenced by Thursday's trade, the Rangers are seeking young pitching as the Deadline approaches, given their starting rotation ranks second-to-last in baseball with a combined 5.31 ERA.

Hand deal could spark flurry of moves for Padres
July 19: By now, you're aware the Padres made a big move by trading closer Brad Hand and righty reliever Adam Cimber to the Indians for top catching prospect Francisco Mejia on Thursday morning. It looks like that could set off a flurry of deals for San Diego, who has a number of available arms, as MLB.com's Mark Feinsand points out.

Tweet from @Feinsand: The Hand deal could be just the first of many for the Padres. A source says San Diego has drawn significant interest in RHP Kirby Yates, and to a lesser degree, RHP Tyson Ross.

After years of injuries, the 31-year-old Kirby Yates started to emerge after arriving in San Diego last season, and he has come into his own this season with a 1.43 ERA, a 0.88 WHIP and a 11.5 K/9 rate. His lack of track record (just 192 MLB innings in his career) raises some questions, but Yates' stuff and years of club control (through 2020) are appealing.

Similarly, Tyson Ross is 31 and has a laundry list of injuries in his nine-year career, so suitors rightly could be somewhat skeptical. While his ERA is 4.32 this year, Ross has shown flashes of his former All-Star self with 10 starts (of 19 total) in which he's allowed two or fewer runs, plus he's struck out 97 batters over 108 1/3 frames.

Beyond those two, fellow righty Craig Stammen -- who has a 2.91 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 mark and is due just $2.25 million in 2019 -- has been mentioned as another reliever the Padres could dangle.

Mets not budging on trade demands for deGrom, Syndergaard
July 19: As they continue to receive calls regarding Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, the Mets aren't backing off from their lofty asking price for either hurler, James Wagner of The New York Times reports via Twitter.

Tweet from @ByJamesWagner: Hearing more of the same re: Mets at the trade deadline. Teams have called on Jacob deGrom & Noah Syndergaard, but Mets most interested in elite prospects (close to the majors) and/or MLB players.

Per Wagner, the Mets want elite prospects and/or MLB players for each of their two aces, but contenders either lack high-level prospects (D-backs, Giants), are unwilling to move them (Yankees, Braves) or don't have a pressing need for a starting pitcher (Astros).

deGrom (controllable through 2020) and Syndergaard (controllable through '21) aren't close to free agency, and the Mets haven't shown any sense of urgency in shopping them.

The club could revisit trade discussions for deGrom and Syndergaard in the offseason, when a new general manager is expected to be in place in the Mets' front office and more teams (such as the Padres) are likely to be interested, according to Wagner.

At this point, impending free agents Jeurys Familia and Asdrubal Cabrera are the most likely Mets to be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, and Wagner notes that Zack Wheeler (controllable through 2019) is drawing "strong outside interest" as well.

Video: deGrom on his future with the Mets, trade rumors

Daniels: Rangers won't consider Beltre trade unless it benefits 'all parties involved'
July 19: Adrian Beltre can become a free agent after this season, but that doesn't mean the Rangers are actively shopping him.

In a Q&A session with Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels said the club will need to be "motivated to even have the conversation" about dealing the veteran.

"If someone has real interest and wants us to consider it and talk to ownership and talk to Adrian, we will based on their level of interest," Daniels said. "But if it's more of tire kick, that doesn't appeal to us. For us to consider anything, it's got to be beneficial for all parties involved."

Although Beltre is one of the best remaining players available for clubs looking to boost the left side of their infield after the Dodgers acquired Manny Machado on Wednesday, contenders may not be lining up to trade for him.

For one, Beltre can veto any trade due to his 10-and-5 rights, and he reportedly wants to play with the Rangers next season. Furthermore, he has been spending more time at designated hitter due to injury concerns, and he's produced just four homers with a .739 OPS over 261 plate appearances in 2018.

Machado in tow, Dodgers not done dealing
July 19: Yes, the Dodgers landed the biggest name on the trade market in Manny Machado on Wednesday. No, they're not done dealing.

"The Dodgers are still buyers on Thursday," as MLB.com's Ken Gurnick writes. "The firepower of a deep system allows management to pivot and address the bullpen." That remains true even after Los Angeles sent outfielder Yusniel Diaz (their former No. 4 prospect) and four other young players to the Orioles for Machado.

While Kenley Jansen has overcome his early season hiccup to regain his status as one of the best closers in the business, the Dodgers don't have much in the way of reliable depth in their bullpen. Even after lefty relief weapon Brad Hand and righty Adam Cimber went from the Padres to the Indians on Thursday morning, there's no shortage of quality late-inning arms for the Dodgers to make a play for, including: Raisel Iglesias of the Reds, Jeurys Familia of the Mets, Zach Britton of the O's and Keone Kela of the Rangers.

One factor to consider with the Dodgers, however, is that they are bumping up against the $197 million Competitive Balance Tax threshold after acquiring Machado. That doesn't mean the front office can't add more salary to the club's payroll, but it might make Dodgers execs more mindful of targeting cost-efficient options. More >

Indians put other AL contenders on notice
July 19: Having missed out on landing Manny Machado, the Indians reacted quickly by pulling off their own blockbuster to acquire Padres relievers Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, arguably the best bullpen piece on the trade market. The deal cost them their top prospect -- and MLB Pipeline's No. 1 overall catching prospect -- in Francisco Mejia, but it also put other American League contenders on notice, as MLB Network Radio host Jim Duquette discusses.

Tweet from @MLBNetworkRadio: The #Indians addition of Brad Hand puts the onus on other AL contenders to answer according to @Jim_Duquette #RallyTogether pic.twitter.com/U5IxPBFXW0

The Astros and Red Sox, specifically, were in play for Hand because of their need for an elite lefty reliever. With that no longer an option, perhaps those clubs will turn their attention to the next-best candidate in O's southpaw Zach Britton, whose market is gaining momentum now that Machado has been moved.

While the Yankees weren't linked closely to Hand, they are still very much looking to upgrade their rotation. Plus, the Indians' bullpen -- with Hand and Cimber joining Cody Allen and Andrew Miller (once healthy) -- could rival the Yankees' collection of relievers, which might give New York something else to think about as it battles Boston for the AL East down the stretch.

Video: Antonetti on acquiring Hand, Cimber for Mejia

CC intends to pitch next year if 'knee holds up'

MLB.com @jonmorosi

CC Sabathia will celebrate his 38th birthday on Saturday. Among all starting pitchers in the Major Leagues this year, only Bartolo Colon and Rich Hill are older.

But Sabathia isn't talking about retirement yet. In fact, the Yankees left-hander told MLB.com recently that he would like to play one more season.

View Full Game Coverage

CC Sabathia will celebrate his 38th birthday on Saturday. Among all starting pitchers in the Major Leagues this year, only Bartolo Colon and Rich Hill are older.

But Sabathia isn't talking about retirement yet. In fact, the Yankees left-hander told MLB.com recently that he would like to play one more season.

View Full Game Coverage

"I'm [going] start to start," Sabathia said in Cleveland last weekend, prior to his final start of the first half. "I go out one start and feel like I can pitch five more years. I go out another start and I'm [feeling] done. But if I can stay healthy -- if my knee holds up -- hopefully I'll play one more."

Sabathia is in his 10th season with the Yankees. By playing in 2019, he could pursue a World Series ring with one of the best teams in baseball while adding to his Hall of Fame resume. Sabathia's 3,417 innings pitched and 243 victories are the most among all MLB pitchers this century.

Asked how aware he is of his place in the Cooperstown discussion, Sabathia replied, "I don't think about it. It's out of my control. Whatever it is at the end, it is. I never pitch for numbers or [individual] wins or strikeouts, things like that. I can't try to do that now. I have to continue to do my thing."

Ten years ago this month, Sabathia was the most coveted pitcher leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline. The Brewers acquired him from Cleveland for a package that included current Indians All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley. Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts for Milwaukee, helping the franchise to its first postseason berth in 26 years.

"I remember the first half, I didn't pitch good," Sabathia recalled when asked about his 2008 experience. "By the end of June, I wanted to get traded already. I was tired of hearing where I might go. I was ready for it to be done. It was good that I got a chance to go to Milwaukee and pitch twice before the All-Star break."

Sabathia signed with the Yankees during the subsequent offseason and has pitched in pinstripes ever since, including a World Series ring in 2009. The Yanks have the second-best record in the Majors and are coming off their best first half since the historic 1998 season.

And notably, Sabathia thinks the 2018 Yankees have yet to hit their stride.

"We had that [good] stretch early, but I still feel like we're going to play better," he said. "I'm still waiting for us to play well, if that makes sense. It's encouraging."

Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com.

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia

Best Deadline ever? Story behind CC, Manny, Tex

MLB.com @castrovince

Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline is at its transaction-wire-rattling best when a team in contention frees itself from the fear of rental repercussions and truly goes for it, bringing in a temporary-but-tangible roster upgrade that fires up the fan base. And sometimes, that hired gun not only shows but shines, giving his all for his new town as if it were his baseball birthplace and making an instant impact on the run to October.

Such deals don't come along often. But in July 2008, in the span of just 25 days, we had three of them -- CC Sabathia to the Brewers, Mark Teixeira to the Angels and Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

Baseball's non-waiver Trade Deadline is at its transaction-wire-rattling best when a team in contention frees itself from the fear of rental repercussions and truly goes for it, bringing in a temporary-but-tangible roster upgrade that fires up the fan base. And sometimes, that hired gun not only shows but shines, giving his all for his new town as if it were his baseball birthplace and making an instant impact on the run to October.

Such deals don't come along often. But in July 2008, in the span of just 25 days, we had three of them -- CC Sabathia to the Brewers, Mark Teixeira to the Angels and Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers.

Any one of those three swaps is capable of standing on its own among the top in-season acquisitions of all-time. Put them together and you've got a Deadline-dealing period for the ages -- one so loaded that the fact that two future Hall of Famers were dealt (Ken Griffey Jr. from the Reds to the White Sox and Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez from the Tigers to the Yankees) is probably the least interesting thing about it.

The swaps of CC, Tex and Manny had dramatic repercussions not just for those teams at that time but for other, future All-Stars and MVP Award winners, including the greatest player of his generation.

And so, 10 years later, here's a look back at the three biggest deals from the 2008 Trade Deadline, told by those who lived it.

(Note: All job titles are from the time of the trades.)

July 7: Big Brew
After losing Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in 2007, the Indians had unfruitful contract extension negotiations with Sabathia, a pending free agent. They hoped to make one last run with their homegrown ace, but they were five games under .500 going into June.

Sabathia: I thought we were going to win the World Series and that I was going to get a contract to stay in Cleveland. But that first half, if you look back at my numbers, I was terrible [4.81 ERA through June 5]. So I got off to a bad start, the team got off to a bad start. And after that, I was just kinda waiting to get traded.

Mark Shapiro, Indians general manager: He and I were talking pretty openly about it. We knew we couldn't just let him walk away for a Draft pick.

Chris Antonetti, Indians assistant GM: The calls started on June 10. Milwaukee was one of the first teams to call. As we narrowed things down the next few weeks, Milwaukee [which erased a seven-game gap in the National League Wild Card standings over the course of June] was one of the most aggressive teams, and [Brewers GM] Doug Melvin made it clear they placed a premium on him the sooner they could get him.

Melvin: I told Mark, "If we do this earlier, I'll give up more." We knew [outfielder] Matt LaPorta [this was prior to MLB Pipeline's organizational prospect rankings, but LaPorta was ranked by Baseball America as the Brewers' top prospect and No. 23 overall in MLB] was the kind of player Cleveland would like. College player, good on-base percentage, had some power. We had just drafted him [seventh overall in 2007], but we were OK with it. We decided to build the deal around him, and that energized Mark to keep going.

Antonetti: Milwaukee and the Dodgers seemed to be the most motivated.

Ned Colletti, Dodgers GM: We were in San Francisco on the 5th of July. That afternoon, I felt we were getting close. We would give up four or five prospects and we were going to get CC, [third baseman] Casey Blake and [utility infielder] Jamey Carroll and take back a lot of money [combined, Sabathia, Blake and Carroll had nearly $10 million remaining on their '08 contracts]. I thought it could be a really good deal. [In his book, "The Big Chair," Colletti lists third baseman Andy LaRoche (No. 2 Dodgers prospect, per Baseball America), right-hander James McDonald (No. 7), catcher Carlos Santana (No. 25) and either infielder Chin-Lung Hu (No. 2) or infielder Ivan DeJesus Jr. (No. 13), as the pieces going to the Indians.]

Antonetti: Ned was pretty transparent about a complicated dynamic with ownership and trying to get final authorization.

Melvin: They thought they had a deal, and [owner Frank] McCourt just couldn't buy into it. But our owner, Mark Attanasio, was supportive. It wasn't the kind of deal people felt the Brewers would make. Why would you give up the so-called controllable guys for half-a-season [of Sabathia]? Well, the reason you do it is to get over the hump. It had been 26 years since we had made the playoffs.

The Indians and Brewers had agreed on some basics. In exchange for Sabathia, Milwaukee would send LaPorta, Zach Jackson and Rob Bryson (who was chosen from a list that had included catcher Jonathan Lucroy). But the two clubs had trouble deciding on the fourth and final prospect piece.

Melvin: So then we got into talking about [outfielder/first baseman] Michael Brantley [No. 24 in the Brewers' system, per Baseball America] and [third baseman] Taylor Green [No. 17] to complete the deal. Cleveland liked both, and we liked both. They couldn't agree on who they wanted, and I couldn't decide who I wanted to give up.

Antonetti: We went back and forth on the player to be named later and came up with a creative solution.

Melvin: I said, "If we get to the playoffs, you get to pick. If we don't, I get to pick." Because if we got in, we'd be excited and happy, and it wouldn't matter who we gave up. Mark was agreeable to that.

Shapiro: I don't know of another trade like that.

Melvin: Our trade was all on board. It wasn't done with a couple of Jack Daniel's.

Carl Willis, Indians pitching coach: We were in Minnesota, and we got word the trade was going to go down. We were flying back to Cleveland, so we talked with CC after the game [on July 6] so that on the plane he was able to spend that last time with his teammates.

Sabathia: I was ready to go. I was fed up with everything. I felt like the Indians didn't want me anymore. It's emotional. I was young, I had been there my whole life, and my plan was to play in Cleveland my whole career. So I was frustrated. But finding out I was going to go play with my best friend again was the key. David Riske's my boy. That was the first person I met when I signed, and we've been best friends ever since. So when I found out I was going to play with him again, I was good.

Melvin: We made the deal on a Sunday, and he pitched on Tuesday for us, which was really impressive. It was just a few days before the All-Star break, and a lot of times the guy wants to get his family settled and join you four days later. But this guy showed up in two days and started pitching his tail off. That sent a message.

Before Sabathia threw his first pitch for the Brewers, his representatives had a message: They asked the Brewers to officially list him as "CC" Sabathia. Up to that point, he had been "C.C." Sabathia.

Mike Vassallo, Brewers public relations director: I remember announcing it in front of the whole media interview room, drawing a laugh.

Sabathia: That was such a weird thing. They asked me if I want the periods in my name. Me and Amber [Sabathia's wife] were just sitting in bed, like, "Ah, don't worry about it, go without the periods." Then it was a big story, like, "CC dropped the periods!"

CC has been punctuation-free ever since. But he put an exclamation point on the Brewers' 2008 season. Miller Park ticket sales surged for his starts, and he went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 games down the stretch, taking the ball on three days' rest in each of his last three starts and throwing 335 pitches in the last nine days of the regular season. On the last day of the season, he threw a complete-game victory against the Cubs to seal Milwaukee's one-game edge over the Mets in the NL Wild Card race.

Video: Brewers clinch 2008 NL Wild Card

Craig Counsell, Brewers infielder: What he did at the end of the season was just superhuman.

Melvin: I remember going downstairs after one of the games he pitched on three days' rest and I ran into his agent, Brian Peters. He says, "Doug, what are you guys doing?"

Sabathia: It was no conversation between me and the Brewers. We didn't have pitching, so I just told them, "I'm pitching." It was me telling them I'm pitching on three days' rest. I was young, I felt good, I was having fun, the team was good, and I didn't want the season to end. If that meant I had to pitch on three days' rest, then that's what I had to do.

Antonetti: He was willing to do whatever was best for the team, even when he had hundreds of millions in the balance. I think that says a lot.

Sabathia, who would finish fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting, was invested in the Brewers' playoff pursuit, and so were the Indians' front-office members.

Antonetti: As the season progressed, it became more and more clear which of the guys we preferred. We were pulling for Milwaukee anyway, but our interest grew. At the time of the deal, Michael was coming back from an injury and hadn't played a whole lot, so we were having a difficult time putting all of the pieces together.

Brantley: I had heard rumors about possibly being involved. But after the trade went down, I thought it was over. I didn't think the player to be named was going to be me.

Shapiro: We felt strongly about Matt LaPorta. But the deal ended up being a good deal because Brant had such a high ceiling.

Melvin: Our player development people all wanted to win, of course, but they didn't want to give up Brantley. Brantley's still playing [he just made his third All-Star appearance], and Taylor Green's a scout.

LaPorta, who posted a .694 OPS in just shy of 1,000 at-bats with Cleveland, is working in the mortgage and real estate industry.

LaPorta: A friend of mine was shooting a commercial for the Yankees in Spring Training and texted me a photo with CC. I texted him back and said, "Tell him I'm the guy that made him famous!" Obviously, my career didn't go the way I wanted, but to be associated with a great player like him means a lot to me. It was an honor to even be included in that trade.

Sabathia's move to Milwaukee had ripple effects that went beyond those directly involved.

Melvin: Jim Hendry is a good friend of mine. People say the Cubs reacted to the deal. Jim probably doesn't want to say that. But they did go out and get Rich Harden [from the A's, the day after the CC deal].

Hendry, Cubs GM: People always saw it as a reactionary thing. It really wasn't. I had talked to Billy [Beane] before the CC thing was finished. I didn't have the ammunition to get CC. But we had been talking to Billy, and it was [second baseman/outfielder and No. 12 Cubs prospect] Eric Patterson, [right-hander and No. 5 prospect] Sean Gallagher, [outfielder] Matt Murton and [catcher] Josh Donaldson for Harden. Gallagher was the main guy. We liked Donaldson, but it was a year or so after the Draft. We thought he was a big-league guy, but nobody thought he was a future MVP, including Billy.

Melvin: It would be interesting to know now, if the Cubs would have gone after CC, is Donaldson the kind of player who could have gotten it done?

By the time October arrived, Sabathia and the Brewers were done. Their wild ride ended at the hands of the Phillies in the Division Series, in which Sabathia took the loss in his lone start.

Video: Myers makes Sabathia work, adds a single

Sabathia: I was out of gas (laughs).

That's how Sabathia's brief-but-memorable tenure in Milwaukee ended. That December, he agreed to a record-setting seven-year, $161 million contract with the Yankees, and the Brewers were left with a second-round Draft compensation pick (outfielder Max Walla, who never reached the bigs) and many memories.

Melvin: I went to a fundraising golf tournament the other day. Two guys were talking about it and said, "I was really surprised, because CC said he liked Milwaukee." I said, "He liked the $160 million a little better than Milwaukee."

July 29: Halo Effect
The Rangers traded Mark Teixeira to the Braves on July 31, 2007, for a prospect haul that included Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia -- a group that would help form the backbone of the Rangers' back-to-back AL pennants in 2010 and '11. A year later, Tex was back on the block, though this time the club acquiring him would get the better end of the deal, with the returns still pouring in to this day.

Frank Wren, Braves general manager: I think we knew coming out of Spring Training that we had very little chance of signing him. Once we knew that, we were going to let the season dictate our direction. We just didn't have the pitching, and the season unraveled for us.

Teixeira: I kind of knew I was going to be trade bait once again.

Wren: When you have a player of Mark Teixeira's ability, you think there's going to be a robust market. But we got to the Trade Deadline and there was none. No market. We had one team interested, and that was the Angels.

Tony Reagins, Angels GM: We had Kendrys Morales and Casey Kotchman as first basemen, and we liked both players a great deal. But we felt if we can get a piece that puts us over the top, let's do it.

Wren: As we got down to the last two days, we pretty much had exhausted every effort to expand the market. It was down to Anaheim, and we couldn't be too hard or aggressive. Nick Adenhart [less than a year before he was tragically killed by a drunken driver in 2009, Adenhart ranked 18th on MLB.com's Top 50 prospects list and No. 24 on Baseball America's Top 100] was the first guy we asked for, and they were just not going to move him. At the end, the driving force was our organization wanted to get the $4 million [owed to Teixeira] off the books.

The Angels sent Kotchman and right-hander Stephen Marek, their No. 6 prospect, to Atlanta, adding an All-Star slugger to a team that already had a double-digit lead in the division.

Reagins: Knowing that we had Kendrys or Casey if we moved one or the other, we had that organizational depth where we'd be OK if Mark were to sign elsewhere after the season.

Sabathia: I remember Tex getting traded and thinking, "Oh, he's going to stay in Anaheim."

Teixeira: It was a perfect storm for me. Number one, I went from a team that wasn't very good to a first-place team headed to the playoffs. Number two, I got to live in Orange County, Calif., which is maybe the most beautiful place in the country. Getting to put on an Angels uniform as a home player was super cool and a shot of adrenaline.

In 54 games with the Angels, Teixeira went off for a .358/.449/.632 slash line with 13 homers, 14 doubles and 43 RBIs. The Angels nailed down their large lead in the AL West.

Video: Teixeira hits a grand slam off the Yankees

Reagins: It was a great fit. His baseball IQ was off the charts. In our clubhouse, he talked a lot about hitting and his approach to hitting, and that kind of made its way around our clubhouse.

Teixeira: That Angels team might have been better or at least as good as the '09 Yankees team that I won a World Series with. But you get to the playoffs, and it is an absolute crapshoot. Unfortunately, we lost to the Red Sox in that short series.

After hitting .467 in the Angels' Division Series defeat, Teixeira signed an eight-year, $180 million contract with the Yankees. This was back when rules stipulated that teams signing players tied to Draft-pick compensation directly forked over those Draft picks to the team that lost the player, in addition to the latter team getting a pick in the supplemental round. (Under current rules, the signing team can lose a pick, but it disappears, as opposed to changing hands, and the only compensation pick for the team that lost a player comes in the supplemental round). So the Angels received the Yankees' 2009 first-round pick -- No. 25 overall -- when Teixeira went to the Bronx.

Reagins: We made our best effort to sign [Teixeira]. But we had Kendrys in the background, which was a comfort for us. If you don't re-sign Tex, then you start to look at the Draft and the opportunities that lie there with that pick.

With their pick at No. 24 overall, which was obtained as compensation from the Mets for Francisco Rodriguez's departure, the Angels selected Texas high school outfielder Randal Grichuk. With the pick at No. 25, they took a New Jersey prep outfielder named Mike Trout.

Video: On Millville to MVP, Mike Trout gets drafted

Reagins: That ended up turning out pretty well for the Angels.

Teixeira: I've heard reports that if they had only one pick at 24, they would have taken Trout first and that the reason they took him second was to offer him less money.

Reagins: What would we have done with one pick? Fortunately, we don't have to deal with "what-ifs." But we really liked Randal, we were very certain about what Randal's skill set was and our ability to sign him. We had convictions about it. With Mike, on the other hand, there wasn't the certainty that we had with Randal.

Teixeira: It's a really cool story, right? To think that a guy who's arguably the greatest player in the game right now was a compensation pick is amazing.

Video: Reflecting on Teixeira trade to Angels 10 years later

In hindsight, the Braves could have fared far better with the compensation pick than they did in the trade.

Wren: You just never know. We went through a period right after that where Draft picks became much more valuable.

Reagins: It's a lot different now. In terms of [signing bonus] allocation, you have to be very mindful of what you want to do going in. If back then we had the system we have today, there's a chance that Mike Trout is not an Angel. But, fortunately, we were working under the system that was in place at the time, and now you're looking at the best player in baseball.

July 31: Mannywood
After the Dodgers' deal for Sabathia fell through, Colletti went back to the Indians to complete a trade for Blake to aid his injury-riddled infield (he had to give up aforementioned prospect Carlos Santana, who went on to a long and productive big-league career, to get Cleveland to pay Blake's salary). He wasn't done searching for cost-effective upgrades.

Colletti, Dodgers GM: As we're getting through the month of July, talking to [Red Sox GM] Theo [Epstein] every so often, he keeps asking me about [third baseman and No. 2 prospect] Andy LaRoche. I'm thinking, "He's got Kevin Youkilis and Mike Lowell, so he must have another deal he's trying to use LaRoche in."

Neal Huntington, Pirates GM: Boston had expressed interest in [left fielder] Jason Bay, contingent on moving Ramirez.

Terry Francona, Red Sox manager: We had gotten to a point with Manny … he had pushed our traveling secretary [Jack McCormick, after a dispute over a ticket request by Ramirez]. I was kind of at my wit's end. And I don't want to trash Manny now, because that's not really even how I feel. But at the time, I just felt dirty. I had turned my head plenty, but Jack was a guy that I loved. So I was having a hard time with it.

Mike Lowell, Red Sox third baseman: Manny had his heart set on his two option years [worth $20 million each in 2009 and '10]. He rarely spoke to the media, but he held court one day and said, "My two options should be picked up. And if not, I don't want to be here." After he left his locker, his questions became our questions. It becomes a distraction. When you're making $20 million and upset about your contract, it starts rubbing people the wrong way. And the thing with Jack put things beyond that. It was getting to a point where it was going to get uglier before it got better.

Francona: Manny could be a sweetheart, like a little kid. But when you're in charge and trying to balance team concept and things you believed in, some of the things he did could fly right in the face of that.

Huntington: We knew what Boston was willing and not willing to give up for Bay well in advance of the Deadline, and it was not sufficient for a Bay stand-alone deal. It became a matter of finding a third team that was willing to add players to the pool in exchange for Ramirez.

Colletti: On the 30th of July, early evening, Theo calls and is asking me about Andy again. I look up at the TV, and the scroll [on ESPN] says there's a deal in the works to send Manny to Florida, with Florida sending prospects to Boston and Boston sending prospects to Pittsburgh for Jason Bay. I'm watching that as I'm talking to Theo, and I say, "Oh, I see you've got this deal going on, good for you." I could tell by his tone that it was a premature report.

Antonetti, Indians assistant GM: It's really difficult to make a two-team trade. When you layer on the complexities of involving other teams -- and then the other factors around what your motivations might be -- it just complicates things further.

Colletti: I went downstairs to talk to [manager] Joe [Torre] and mentioned to him, "Any interest in Manny?" He says, "Manny? Are you kidding me?" I said, "I don't know if I'm going to get a call back or not, but I know Theo wants to move him." I got home at 1 or 2 in the morning, then ended up waking up early, coming back to the office, and I had a message from Theo to call him.

Video: Manny hits a two-run home run to center

Ramirez had agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to the Dodgers, but, in order for him to go to L.A., the Red Sox had to waive his two option years, making Ramirez a pending free agent with around $7 million remaining on his 2008 salary.

Colletti: I told Theo, "You're going to have to pick up the entire salary." There's silence on the other end of the phone. He said, "All of it?" I said, "If I had that money, I'd have CC Sabathia here right now!"

It was closing in on 3:30 p.m. ET -- a half an hour to the deadline -- when Epstein informed Colletti of his plan to involve Pittsburgh in a three-way deal. The Pirates would receive outfielder Brandon Moss (Boston's No. 11 prospect, per Baseball America) and right-hander Craig Hansen (No. 18) from the Red Sox. From the Dodgers, the Pirates wanted LaRoche and one of two pitching prospects -- James McDonald (No. 7) or Bryan Morris (No. 12).

Colletti: I had my inner circle [of front-office people] assembled, and we had to have the Morris or McDonald debate at like 15 or 20 minutes before the Deadline. We chose Morris.

Huntington: We were all pushing to make sure everything was submitted in time.

Colletti: I'm running back and forth from my office to Frank McCourt's office, where we set up a conference call with the three teams and the Commissioner's Office to complete the deal. When I came out of Frank's office, everybody just kind of looked at me like, "Well?"

Mitch Poole, Dodgers clubhouse manager: A couple of us in the food room were counting down, "Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Well, that's it, the Dodgers do nothing."

Colletti: Everybody needed to call the people involved before it could be announced publicly. I remember coming out and ESPN was saying, "The Red Sox couldn't move Manny." That went on for like 45 minutes to an hour.

Francona: I was parked, waiting to pick my daughter up at the airport, and you know how the police keep telling you to keep going around? It was 4:15, and I figured it had come and gone. Then Theo called and told me what we did. I remember a policeman coming by to tell me to move. I rolled my window down, and he said, "Are you OK?" Because I had tears in my eyes. I was so overcome, because it had gotten so hard for me with him there.

Bob Melvin, Diamondbacks manager: You're waiting to see what they're going to do, and then it looked like nothing had happened. And then, all of a sudden, you find out they picked up a guy like that. For other teams to know that a team as talented as the Dodgers were adding a player that was really the MVP of the league at that point in time was significant, even psychologically.

Poole: We start getting phone calls from people affiliated with Manny, the agents and stuff. They're saying, "This is the number he wants."

Colletti: He was wearing 24, but that's Walter Alston's number. He asked about 11, and that's Manny Mota's number.

Poole: He's asking for 34, but that was Fernando Valenzuela. So then I was actually making number 28, because we thought that would work out best for him. Then somebody from [Boras Corporation] chose 66, and I made that.

Colletti: Then somebody -- I can't remember if it was Manny or me -- suggests 99.

Poole: So we had to rush to do that. And when I had his number 99 hanging in his locker when he arrived, he looked at me and joked, "Where's 28?"

Video: Ramirez cranks a homer to knock in three runs

According to the L.A. Times, by season's end, attendance at Dodger Stadium had increased by more than 4,000 per game, and more than 14,000 Ramirez T-shirts, 6,000 dreadlocks and 500 authentic jerseys had been sold at the ballpark alone.

Poole: If you think about it, there's only one guy that wears 99, and it was Wayne Gretzky. Everybody forgot about him wearing 99, because it was Manny wearing 99.

Colletti: Manny was franchise-changing. The stadium was alive Aug. 1. Whoa! There was a buzz in the air.

Reagins: Manny had that place rocking.

Colletti: As soon as he came in, he wanted to get off on the right foot. We had somewhat of a dress code. So when he arrived, Joe says, "You gotta cut the hair a bit." Manny says, "Yeah, no problem." And then he just takes off. He's hitting home runs, and the city's going off. People are asking me, "What about the hair?"

Poole: His hair was so big, we had to hollow out his helmet so he didn't have any padding in there. He wore, like, a size 8. Nobody wears that.

Colletti: So I run into Manny in the clubhouse one day and say, "What are we going to do about the hair?" He says, "Papi, I'm doing good! It makes you look like a genius! I've been growing my hair a long time!" I say, "Manny, we can't be changing rules. How about if you cut it this much?" I put my index finger and thumb maybe an inch or two apart. He hugs me and says, "I like it here! We can do this!"

Ramirez hit .396 with a 1.232 OPS, 17 homers and 14 doubles with the Dodgers. He finished fourth in the NL MVP Award voting, despite playing only 53 games with L.A. The Dodgers took the division lead for good with a 7-2 win over the D-backs on Sept. 6, with Ramirez driving in five runs.

Bob Melvin: It was as dominant a stretch as I've ever seen. I don't know that there's been a bigger trade pickup. That was crucial for them and really put them over the top.

Hendry, Cubs GM: That was Babe Ruth [stuff].

Bay turned out to be a strong solution for the Red Sox, who went to the ALCS that year. But they of course still kept tabs on what was going on in "Mannywood."

Lowell: It shows that when he's happy, he's possibly the best hitter I've ever seen. He was otherworldly.

Francona: When his switch flipped, there was no going back. It makes you mad, because we thought he could do that for us, and we couldn't get him on the field.

The Dodgers swept the Cubs in the Division Series, thanks in part to Ramirez going 5-for-10 with two homers. In the NLCS, they were, much like Sabathia's Brewers in the NLDS, humbled by the eventual World Series champion Phillies. On March 4, 2009, the Dodgers re-signed Ramirez for two years and $45 million. But on May 7, Ramirez was suspended 50 games for use of a banned substance, leading to many questions about the legitimacy of his 2008.

Colletti: People don't necessarily know when things start and end. I don't have any idea, really, where he was at in July, August, September, October of the 2008 season. I don't know.

Hendry: Would we have beat them without Manny? I don't know. You can't say "What if?" and "We got screwed" and all that crap. The Los Angeles Dodgers, with or without Manny, were prepared and played great and pitched great against us. I'd say they even out-scouted us. So I don't like to blame it on one guy. But Manny made a huge difference for the Dodgers, and he probably cost Bob Melvin his job.

When the D-backs started slowly in 2009, Melvin, whose leash had shortened as a result of Arizona's inability to hold on in the division, was let go. Manny's suspension