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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

No Machado? No problem: Good hitters abound

MLB.com @jonmorosi

Two things you should know about Manny Machado:

He is a great baseball player.

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, the Rays 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. Cardinals 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 winter, 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-ever 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 the Toronto roster into August -- and perhaps longer than that. Given his 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 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 exact 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 different 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 in Cincinnati has made Duvall expendable. Elsewhere in the NL 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 National League'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, the Astros' 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.

Wearing No. 8, Manny set to play short in debut

Facing Miley in Milwaukee, newly acquired slugger expected to hit 2nd or 3rd
MLB.com @MannyOnMLB

Superstar slugger Manny Machado will be in the Dodgers' starting lineup tonight as Los Angeles opens the second half of the season, according to general manager Farhan Zaidi. The Dodgers play the Brewers in the first of a three-game weekend series at Miller Park, with first pitch scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.

The newest Dodger -- acquired Wednesday in a blockbuster trade with the Orioles that sent five prospects to Baltimore, including three of the Dodgers' top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline -- will wear No. 8 as he makes his Dodgers debut. The No. 13, which Machado wore throughout his six-plus seasons with Baltimore, is currently worn by Max Muncy.

Superstar slugger Manny Machado will be in the Dodgers' starting lineup tonight as Los Angeles opens the second half of the season, according to general manager Farhan Zaidi. The Dodgers play the Brewers in the first of a three-game weekend series at Miller Park, with first pitch scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.

The newest Dodger -- acquired Wednesday in a blockbuster trade with the Orioles that sent five prospects to Baltimore, including three of the Dodgers' top 30 prospects per MLB Pipeline -- will wear No. 8 as he makes his Dodgers debut. The No. 13, which Machado wore throughout his six-plus seasons with Baltimore, is currently worn by Max Muncy.

Machado will likely start at shortstop, which will probably be his primary position with the Dodgers since the club is without Corey Seager for the season due to Tommy John surgery. But with third baseman Justin Turner missing the final four games prior to the All-Star break with a tight adductor, Machado could make his Dodgers debut at third base. The Dodgers have utilized several players flexibly on defense, including Chris Taylor, who has played shortstop in Seager's absence. And Zaidi said Thursday that Machado could be utilized in a similar fashion.

"He's going to move around, like a lot of our guys do," said Zaidi. "[Manager] Dave Roberts has already spoken to him about how much we value flexibility. We pointed out that every position player on our roster has played multiple positions. Manny being willing to move between shortstop and third, we believe he can be an asset at both positions. It's less about evaluating Manny at those positions and more about giving [Roberts] options. He understands the way we manage the roster. He's told us he wants to do whatever he can to help this team succeed and win. So, he's on board."

Machado primarily hit third in the batting order for the Orioles this season, with a few games in which he batted second in the lineup. He will likely hit either second or third in the lineup for the Dodgers -- Seager usually hit second when he was healthy.

The Brewers, opening the second half neck-and-neck with the Cubs atop the National League Central, are scheduled to have left-hander Wade Miley take the mound in the series opener. In 11 career plate appearances against Miley, Machado is 3-for-9 with a solo home run and two walks. The homer came off Miley while he was pitching for the Red Sox on June 11, 2015 at Camden Yards. It was a 415-foot shot to left-center field with an exit velocity of 103.1 mph, per Statcast™.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Manny Machado

Latest: Archer, Familia, Rangers, C-Mart

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.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

Familia's trade stock is on the way up
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.

A free agent this offseason, the 28-year-old closer is having a strong season 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.

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).

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 Detroit appears more likely to focus on moving others first, 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.

If the Tigers can get the market moving soon on that trio, perhaps then Castellanos or even Fulmer would be put in play. But as Cranick notes, the price for those two is steep.

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 an American League team.

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

Could Brewers land Dozier?
July 18: After falling short in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, the Brewers could turn their pre-Deadline attention to Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Tweet from @Ken_Rosenthal: Among the players the #Brewers are expected to target now that they have lost Machado: #Twins 2B Brian Dozier. Team also will explore pitching upgrades as well.

With Machado no longer available after the Orioles traded him to the Dodgers on Wednesday night, Dozier would be a quality consolation prize for the contending Crew. The 31-year-old Dozier has struggled in 2018 -- batting just .230 -- but he's still notched 16 homers, 60 runs and five steals in 93 games. Dozier ranked among the baseball's top keystone men over the previous two seasons, batting .269/.349/.522 with 76 homers, 210 runs and 34 steals in 307 contests.

If acquired, Dozier would be a significant upgrade over Hernan Perez, who has reached base at just a .282 clip in 2018, and Jonathan Villar, who has struggled when healthy (.315 OBP) and is currently on the DL with a sprained right thumb. Dozier would likely only serve as a half-season rental for Milwaukee, though, as he is set to be a free agent after this year.

The Brewers could also look to bolster their pitching staff, which currently ranks fourth in the National League with a combined 3.65 ERA. Despite the strong numbers, Milwaukee could use an ace to shore up a rotation that currently consists of Chase Anderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Wade Miley and Brent Suter.

Ramos may not return by Trade Deadline
July 18: A strained left hamstring already cost Wilson Ramos a chance to start the All-Star Game. Now it could impact the Rays' chances to trade the backstop.

Ramos, who was voted in at catcher but missed the Midsummer Classic due to the injury, is having a strong season with a .297/.346/.488 line to go with 14 home runs. The 30-year-old, however, was placed on the 10-day DL Wednesday and appears likely to be out beyond the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Tweet from @TBTimes_Rays: #Rays officially put Ramos on DL with left hamstring strain, as expected. He is likely to miss extended time, past July 31 trade deadline. Also reinstated LHP Jose Alvarado from family medical emergency list.

While Ramos' trade value already had taken a hit, it's now even lower, which is a tough outcome for the Rays. Not only could Ramos have brought back a nice return in a depleted catching market, but he also is a free agent at season's end, thus limiting the Rays' opportunity to get anything of real value for him. Perhaps they'll revisit shopping him in August, before the waiver Trade Deadline at the end of next month.

Phillies turn attention elsewhere after missing out on Machado
July 18: After heavy pursuit, the Phillies missed out on Manny Machado -- who is heading to the Dodgers -- but that doesn't mean they're going to sit still. As they exit the All-Star break with a half-game lead over the Braves in the National League East, the Phils are aiming to add ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Among their top targets now? Mike Moustakas of the Royals and Eduardo Escobar of the Twins, MLB.com's Todd Zolecki writes. The Phillies are looking for an upgrade on the left side of their infield, where youngsters Maikel Franco, Scott Kingery and J.P. Crawford have struggled with injuries and inconsistency. Although both Moustakas and Escobar primarily play third base, Escobar has experience at shortstop.

Both Moustakas, who has 19 homers and a .772 OPS, and Escobar, who owns an .834 OPS and an MLB-high 35 doubles, can be free agents at season's end. As rental players, they could help the Phillies' quest to make it back to the postseason for the first time since 2011 -- and may not require a huge return that would dent their promising future. More >

Video: Slugger Moustakas delivering at the plate, in field

Cardinals among clubs on buy-or-sell bubble
July 18: The second half is about to start and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is less than two weeks away, but there still are a handful of teams who can't clearly be labeled as buyers or sellers … yet.

The Cardinals -- sitting four games out of a National League Wild Card spot at 48-46 and coming off the dismissal of longtime skipper Mike Matheny just before the break -- are one such club. St. Louis has a few intriguing trade chips, as MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi points to versatile infielder Jedd Gyorko (signed through next season with a club option for 2020) and 2017 breakout outfielder Tommy Pham (under club control through 2021).

The 29-year-old Gyorko's power is down this season -- he's slugging .411 after posting .495 and .472 marks in 2016 and '17, respectively -- but his ability to play all four infield positions could prove useful to a contender.

Pham is an especially interesting name to float, given that he came from nowhere to slash .306/.411/.520 while compiling 23 homers and 25 steals last year. He is, however, already 30 years old and has slumped to a .243/.326/.396 line so far in a streaky 2018 campaign. Morosi notes that the Cardinals' outfield depth, including rookie Harrison Bader's emergence, could make Pham worth dangling for a sizable return. More >

Dodgers complete deal for Machado
July 18: While the expectation since late Tuesday night has been that the Dodgers will be the winners of the Manny Machado sweepstakes, nothing had been finalized as of Wednesday afternoon. However, the blockbuster deal is now complete.

In exchange for Machado, Baltimore will receive outfielder Yusniel Diaz, third baseman Rylan Bannon, right-hander Dean Kremer, righty Zach Pop and second baseman Breyvic Valera . Ranked as Los Angeles' No. 4 prospect and the No. 84 prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline, Diaz is the most talented player in the group, with Bannon (No. 27) and Kremer (No. 28) also ranked among the club's Top 30.

The 21-year-old Diaz is slashing .314/.428/.477 at Double-A this season, and he showed off his power by homering twice in Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, joining Alfonso Soriano (in 1999) as the only players to pull off that feat in the showcase's 20-year history.

Video: WLD@USA: Diaz clobbers 2-run jack, game-tying HR

Though there was a reported snag involving an issue with the physical of one (or more) of the prospects headed to Baltimore, according to MLB Network Radio host and former Mets GM Steve Phillips, the Orioles and Dodgers have worked past any medical issues.

Will teams wheel and deal well before Trade Deadline?
July 18: Conventional wisdom says front offices tend to wait until the last week -- or even the last day -- before making massive moves at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. But that no longer appears to be the case, as activity has picked up sooner over the past several years, including during the All-Star break on occasion.

With Manny Machado on his way to the Dodgers, this could be the latest in a recent run of blockbuster-caliber trades to happen well ahead of the Deadline. In fact, we could see a big-name player change teams before the second half resumes for the third straight season, after Jose Quintana (to the Cubs) and Drew Pomeranz (to the Red Sox) did so in 2017 and '16, respectively. More >

Happ picks up save in Midsummer Classic
July 18: J.A. Happ had never made an appearance in the All-Star Game or a notched a save in his 12-year MLB career, but both of those changed Tuesday night.

The Blue Jays lefty, who hadn't pitched in relief since one outing in 2015 with the Mariners, came into the game in the bottom of the 10th with the American League ahead of the National League, 8-5. After giving up a home run to Joey Votto on his first pitch, the first-time All-Star settled down to register his first career save by striking out Christian Yelich, then getting Charlie Blackmon to ground out and Lorenzo Cain to fly out.

Although Happ has hit a bit of a rough patch with a 9.75 ERA in his past three starts, the 35-year-old free-agent-to-be remains one of the bigger trade targets for teams seeking mid-rotation help, including the Phillies, who have "definite interest" in Happ, according to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies have also been connected to the Rangers' Cole Hamels, another lefty who began his career with Philadelphia, but Salisbury notes "there has been no evidence to date that the Phils are pursuing Hamels." The 34-year-old has a $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout for 2019.

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 sapped much of the electricity from "Mannywood." In August 2010, the Dodgers let him go to the White Sox on a waiver claim.

Epilogue: Average Joe
Sabathia, Teixeira and Ramirez were huge additions. And yet, because baseball is baseball and October is October, perhaps the most meaningful acquisition of that summer -- at least in terms of its direct effect on the World Series result -- was the Phillies' low-profile trade for Joe Blanton on July 17. He rounded out the rotation and then picked up the victory -- and even homered -- in Game 4 of the Fall Classic against the Rays. 

Pat Gillick, Phillies GM: Baseball's funny. Sometimes guys surprise you not only during the season but during the playoffs, and we had some guys step up and surprise us. We were able to prevail.

Hendry, Cubs GM: It's hard to find a deal like the Verlanders [with the 2017 Astros], you know? It's hard to find one guy to hang your hat on. Some years there aren't those kind of guys remotely available, no matter how much you want to give up. But there's nothing more fun than when you're in the race and you deliver a good player in that clubhouse after those guys have been busting their tail for you all year. You reward them with something back.

Gillick: You don't see guys like [Sabathia, Teixeira and Ramirez] move at the Deadline too often. Certainly not all at once. And when they do move, sometimes you get a performance and sometimes you don't. In these particular cases, those teams got their money's worth.

Sabathia: That's gotta be the best Trade Deadline ever.

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.

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.

10 players whose trade stock is rising

MLB.com @feinsand

It finally happened. Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers on Wednesday, ending the months-long saga that was destined to end with the All-Star shortstop playing for an organization other than the Orioles for the remainder of 2018.

While the Machado deal was hardly a surprise, the trade market was busy again Thursday, when the Padres dealt All-Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Indians for top prospect Francisco Mejia. Hand had been a rumored trade target for weeks, though given his contract status (he's under control through 2021), it was far from a lock that he was going to be moved.

It finally happened. Manny Machado was traded to the Dodgers on Wednesday, ending the months-long saga that was destined to end with the All-Star shortstop playing for an organization other than the Orioles for the remainder of 2018.

While the Machado deal was hardly a surprise, the trade market was busy again Thursday, when the Padres dealt All-Star closer Brad Hand and reliever Adam Cimber to the Indians for top prospect Francisco Mejia. Hand had been a rumored trade target for weeks, though given his contract status (he's under control through 2021), it was far from a lock that he was going to be moved.

With only less than two weeks until the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, whose stock is on the rise? Here's a look at some players who have seen their value increase:

Jeurys Familia, Mets
The Mets' closer is nearly perfect this month, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out six in seven scoreless July innings. The Mets seem unlikely to trade either of their big-name starters (Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard), but Familia is headed for free agency, making him a near-lock to get moved. He's the best rental reliever on the market.
Potential fits: Astros, Red Sox

Video: NYM@TOR: Familia retires Granderson to earn the save

Brian Dozier, Twins
Dozier had a monster game last Sunday, homering and driving in five runs to end his first half on a high note. Dozier has a 1.001 OPS with five homers and 17 RBIs in 15 July games, looking like a player headed for a big second half. With Machado off the market, Dozier -- who is owed about $4 million for the rest of 2018 -- could be a popular target for teams seeking middle infield help and are OK taking on a half-season rental.
Potential fits: Brewers, Red Sox

Video: MIN@CWS: Dozier opens the scoring with a solo homer

Zach Britton, Orioles
Britton started out slowly after returning last month from right Achilles surgery, but Baltimore's closer has been effective in July, posting six scoreless innings with a sub-1.000 WHIP and a strikeout per inning. Britton is holding hitters to a .158 average and a .449 OPS during the stretch, thrusting himself back into the conversation for best rental reliever. With the Machado deal done, the Orioles can now turn their attention to moving Britton, who is owed about $5 million for the remainder of the season.
Potential fits: Astros, Braves

Video: Zach Britton among best left-handed relievers?

Kirby Yates, Padres
The Padres dealing Hand opened the door for Yates to become San Diego's new closer. Of course, the Padres have been getting plenty of calls about the 31-year-old, making him the odds-on favorite to be the next San Diego player traded. Yates has allowed a run in only one of his past 17 outings dating back to the beginning of June, and with only about $500,000 owed to him for the rest of 2018 season and two more years of arbitration-eligibility, he's a valuable trade chip.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Braves

Video: Kirby Yates is having a career year for the Padres

Tyson Ross, Padres
In a relatively weak starting pitching market, Ross remains an intriguing option -- especially since the free-agent-to-be is owed less than $1 million for the rest of the season. Ross had a solid outing against the Dodgers (two runs in 6 1/3 innings) before the break, but scouts will surely be watching him closely in his starts leading up to July 31.
Potential fits: Mariners, Red Sox

Video: Tyson Ross putting up solid numbers this season

Asdrubal Cabrera, Mets
Cabrera has been on fire in July, slashing .293/.420/.634 with four home runs in 14 games this month. The teams that lost out in the Machado sweepstakes will turn to other infield options, and given that the versatile 32-year-old can play either middle infield spot, Cabrera figures to be attractive. He's also owed a little less than $4 million this season before becoming a free agent, giving the Mets reasons to move him.
Potential fits: Brewers, D-backs

Video: NYM@TOR: Cabrera belts a 2-run home run to right

Mike Moustakas, Royals
The Royals have been trying to stir up interest in Moustakas for a couple weeks, though Machado was holding up the infield market. He's quietly putting up a solid season (19 home runs, .772 OPS), though his July has been relatively quiet. With only about $3 million owed for the rest of the season, Moustakas -- who can't be given a qualifying offer this offseason -- should be a relatively inexpensive rental in terms of prospects it will take to deal for him. (His deal has a mutual option for 2019, but at this point, it's a near certainty he'll test the market, especially with the qualifying offer out of the way.)
Potential fits: Phillies, Indians

Video: Slugger Moustakas delivering at the plate, in field

Raisel Iglesias, Reds
Thursday's Padres-Indians trade shows the value teams put into controllable relievers. It's still unclear whether the Reds will move Iglesias, but it will be awfully tempting if another team offers a prospect on the same level as Mejia. The closer is owed about $13 million total through 2020.
Potential fits: Astros, Braves

Video: CIN@CHC: Iglesias retires Heyward to notch 5-out save

J.T. Realmuto, Marlins
The Marlins don't appear motivated to move the All-Star catcher, but with Wilson Ramos and Francisco Cervelli on the disabled list, a catcher-desperate team might try to pry Realmuto away from Miami this month. The catcher market is pretty dry beyond those three, and while Ramos is headed for free agency and Cervelli is signed for one more year, Realmuto is under control through 2020.
Potential fits: Astros, Nationals

Video: MIA@WSH: Realmuto tallies 5 singles and 3 RBIs

Joakim Soria, White Sox
The 34-year-old overcame an early-May stumble, posting a 0.83 ERA in 22 appearances since May 21. Soria is owed about $4 million for the rest of this season and has a mutual $10 million option (with a $1 million buyout) for 2019, but the White Sox are focusing on youth and would surely move the reliever for the right price.
Potential fits: Dodgers, Cubs

Video: Soria has proven to be a solid option at closer

Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.

Zach Britton, Asdrubal Cabrera, Brian Dozier, Jeurys Familia, Raisel Iglesias, Mike Moustakas, J.T. Realmuto, Tyson Ross, Joakim Soria, Kirby Yates

Ohtani cleared to start throwing progression

MLB.com @mattkellyMLB

The Angels announced Thursday that Shohei Ohtani has been medically cleared to begin a throwing progression after going through a scheduled evaluation with Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles.

Ohtani, 24, has not thrown a Major League pitch since June 6, when an MRI revealed a Grade 2 sprain in the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow. The right-hander received both a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injection at the time, and he spent nearly a month on the disabled list before returning in early July as the Angels' designated hitter.

The Angels announced Thursday that Shohei Ohtani has been medically cleared to begin a throwing progression after going through a scheduled evaluation with Dr. Steve Yoon at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles.

Ohtani, 24, has not thrown a Major League pitch since June 6, when an MRI revealed a Grade 2 sprain in the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow. The right-hander received both a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injection at the time, and he spent nearly a month on the disabled list before returning in early July as the Angels' designated hitter.

The budding star has hit .250 and slugged .458 since his return, knocking a home run and a pair of doubles over 28 plate appearances. Ohtani is hitting .283 with an .887 OPS over the entirety of his rookie season.

Video: LAD@LAA: Ohtani's pinch-hit 108.8-mph, 443-foot homer

But the intrigue surrounding Ohtani has centered on his singular ability as a two-way player, and Thursday's announcement lends hope to fans clamoring for his return to a big league mound in 2018. Though a Grade 2 sprain has often directly led to season-ending Tommy John surgery for many pitchers, a select few -- including Ohtani's countryman Masahiro Tanaka -- have been able to pitch regularly with the injury without undergoing surgery.

Ohtani has often dazzled when he has been healthy enough to pitch, pairing a fastball that routinely touches triple digits with a hard slider and a nearly unhittable splitter. The phenom is 4-1 with a 3.10 ERA on the mound, striking out 61 batters over 49 1/3 innings and holding opponents to a .202 batting average.

Video: LAA@DET: Ohtani fans 5 over 5 innings of one-run ball

Ohtani was an early front-runner for the American League's Rookie of the Year Award as he attempted to become the first player since Babe Ruth to successfully pitch and hit on a regular basis. His club begins the second half a game over .500 at 49-48 and nine games back of the division-rival Mariners for the AL's second Wild Card spot.

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

Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani

Goldschmidt, Ward maintain deep friendship

Dodgers hitting coach gifted All-Star's 2015 Silver Slugger Award
MLB.com @SteveGilbertMLB

Walk into Paul Goldschmidt's Phoenix-area home and you won't find any of the numerous baseball awards he's won during his eight years in the big leagues.

Ask to see one, though, and the D-backs first baseman will gladly let you. And while you look at it, he'll tell you about the teammates from that year who helped him win it. You'll hear tales about the veterans who welcomed him with open arms as a rookie in 2011 and helped mentor him. He'll remind you that there were coaches who worked hard to help him improve.

Walk into Paul Goldschmidt's Phoenix-area home and you won't find any of the numerous baseball awards he's won during his eight years in the big leagues.

Ask to see one, though, and the D-backs first baseman will gladly let you. And while you look at it, he'll tell you about the teammates from that year who helped him win it. You'll hear tales about the veterans who welcomed him with open arms as a rookie in 2011 and helped mentor him. He'll remind you that there were coaches who worked hard to help him improve.

"Any awards that I've won or success that I've had, a lot of people have contributed to it," Goldschmidt said. "It lets me tell a story about the year and my teammates and the people that helped me."

One award that is no longer in his possession is the 2015 National League Silver Slugger Award. That one belongs to Dodgers hitting coach Turner Ward. It tells the story of a deep friendship that began well before Goldschmidt became a six-time All-Star and seemingly annual MVP candidate.

Video: Paul Goldschmidt wins 2015 Silver Slugger Award

An early lesson that stuck

The first time their paths crossed in 2011, Ward was managing the D-backs' Double-A affiliate in Mobile, Ala. It was Goldschmidt's third year in the system after being selected in the eighth round of the 2009 Draft.

Ward had one ironclad rule, which he made clear early on: No excuses or complaining. That included things like the weather, the travel or missed calls by umpires.

"If he heard an excuse, no matter what it was, or any complaining, he would jump on it," Goldschmidt said. "It was the first time I kind of changed my mindset. It was the first time someone called me out and I realized how much I was worrying about stuff that didn't matter or was out of my control."

Reunited

Goldschmidt was called up to the big leagues in August 2011, and in September 2012, Ward got to spend the month as the D-backs' extra coach.

"I loved playing for him as a manager and learned a lot from him, but we didn't start connecting until he came up in September of 2012," Goldschmidt said. "That's when we first started spending a lot of time together."

The discussions started with baseball, but quickly progressed into talks about family, faith and life lessons.

"Goldy never stops learning," Ward said. "He is better than anyone I know at taking the strengths other people have and incorporating them into his own life."

How can I get better?

Ward was promoted to assistant hitting coach the following year. Near the midpoint of the season, Goldschmidt, who was on his way to winning his first Silver Slugger and finishing second in the NL MVP race, approached Ward.

"He asked, 'What do I need to do to get better?'" Ward said. "I told him to give me a couple of weeks and I'd get back to him. I wanted to make sure I had my thoughts together."

Ward laid out three areas of improvement for Goldschmidt. The first two dealt with his personal life and the third involved baseball. Each of the areas was then broken down into challenges.

"If you challenge him with something, he will take it on like no one I've ever seen," Ward said. "He's fearless of any challenge. He did everything we talked about."

Video: Paul Goldschmidt wins second career Gold Glove Award

The gift

When he won his second Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards in 2015, Goldschmidt wanted to share them with those most important to him.

He gave his parents, David and Kim, his Gold Glove Award for all of the sacrifices they made for him growing up. The Silver Slugger went to Ward, along with a handwritten letter detailing just how much he meant to Goldschmidt.

"I thought it would be cool for Turner to have in his house," Goldschmidt said. "So if he showed it to people, he could tell them, 'Paul Goldschmidt gave me this award and we're very close and we've taught each other so many lessons and our relationship is growing and we're still staying in touch and still talking a lot.'

"Let me put it this way: If I didn't win any of my awards, I don't feel like my life would be any different. But if I hadn't met Turner, my life would be completely different. I wanted him to know how much I care about him and love him and how much he means to me. Yes, he had a big effect on my baseball career, but he completely changed my life trajectory."

Ward, who played parts of 12 seasons in the big leagues and has now managed or coached in pro ball for 11 years, said that influence goes both ways.

"I can honestly say that I've never been around a player as coachable, selfless and impactful than Paul," Ward says, his voice breaking a bit. "He makes everyone around him better and it's not by accident. He does it intentionally. I can't tell you how much he's meant to me."

Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.