Having trouble keeping up with all the Manny Machado speculation, are you?Don't worry, we've got you covered on the latest surrounding the star Baltimore Orioles infielder, who is not only the biggest but also the hottest name on the market.
Having trouble keeping up with all the Manny Machado speculation, are you?
Don't worry, we've got you covered on the latest surrounding the star Baltimore Orioles infielder, who is not only the biggest but also the hottest name on the market.
• As talk of a possible Machado trade to the Yankees increases, MLB Network insider Jon Heyman reports that New York has made a "strong offer" for Machado. Per Heyman's report Wednesday, it's not certain that the Yankees are the favorite to land Machado, but they're "clearly a player" in the sweepstakes.
Machado turned in a strong in-person audition against the Yankees in Tuesday's game in Baltimore, launching two home runs to help lead the O's to a comeback win.
• With more on Machado and the Yankees, MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reports: "The Orioles are inclined to trade Manny Machado to the Yankees if Justus Sheffield is in the deal, but there is skepticism the Yanks would move Sheffield for a rental. The Yankees already have made clear they won't trade Miguel Andujar for Machado. (Of course, there's the issue of Machado preferring to play shortstop, and third base is the available position in NY.)"
Sheffield, a 22-year-old left-hander, ranks as the No. 2 prospect in the Yankees' system and No. 39 overall per MLB Pipeline. Acquired from the Indians along with outfielder Clint Frazier -- also a potential trade chip -- in the July 2016 trade of Andrew Miller, Sheffield has a 2.44 ERA and 10.1 K9/ rate between Double-A and Triple-A this season. With his stock on the rise as he nears his big league debut, it's understandable why the pitching-starved O's would want Sheffield -- and why the Yanks would refuse to part with him.
• Looking ahead to Machado's impending free agency at the end of 2018, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the infielder has told friends the Yankees are "easily his first choice."
How that would fit for the Yanks, who have Didi Gregorius at shortstop through 2019 and Andujar holding down the hot corner as a rookie, remains to be seen. That said, Gregorius will be 29 next season and has slumped noticeably (.234/.277/.346) since a sizzling April. Would it be crazy to think New York could ink the younger, more offensively talented Machado and trade Gregorius this offseason?
• In talks with the Indians, Baltimore has expressed interest in young right-handers Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, Morosi also reports. Bieber, the club's No. 3 prospect and No. 90 overall per MLB Pipeline, has impressed in his first six MLB starts with a 3.47 ERA and 36-to-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
McKenzie, meanwhile, is even more highly regarded as the Tribe's No. 2 prospect and No. 21 overall. The 20-year-old is at Double-A, where he sports a 3.05 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP in seven starts (38 1/3 innings) this year. He missed the start of 2018 with forearm soreness.
• While it has been reported that the O's would like to move Machado sooner than later in order to maximize the return by giving the acquiring team more games with the star infielder, they also might have a reason to hold off ... at least for a few days.
The 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard, is Tuesday, and Machado is Baltimore's lone representative. That complicates things a bit, as MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal writes in The Athletic, pointing out that the Reds faced a similar situation with Johnny Cueto when they hosted the 2015 Midsummer Classic. Cincinnati ultimately waited until after the break to move the right-hander, in part so as not to disappoint the hometown fans.
If Machado were traded, the O's would no longer have an All-Star -- and it's possible he might not play in a game he was voted in as a starter for the American League. If he were dealt to the National League, well, things could get even messier, as it might become a matter of fitting an extra player on the Senior Circuit's 32-man roster.
• The Yankees aren't the only team in the AL East eyeing Machado. The Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday night that the Red Sox recently reached out regarding the star shortstop. Boston has been scouting Orioles closer Zach Britton, so it makes sense that the club would also inquire about Machado.
While the Red Sox lack the prospects and young starting pitching that Baltimore desires, they could entice the O's with a deal centered around third baseman Rafael Devers or outfielder Andrew Benintendi. Devers, 21, is hitting .241 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs in his first full season. Benintendi, 24, is batting .298 with 14 homers and 57 RBIs after finishing second to Aaron Judge in last year's AL Rookie of the Year voting.
• The Dodgers and Brewers -- both of whom have been linked heavily to Machado recently -- are in the process of discussing specific prospects the O's have their eyes on, as reported Tuesday afternoon by MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal in The Athletic (subscription required).
As centerpieces in a Machado deal, Rosenthal reports that Baltimore covets right-hander Corbin Burnes from the Brewers and righty Dustin May as well as infielder Gavin Lux from the Dodgers.
Burnes, 23, is the No. 2 prospect in Milwaukee's system and No. 56 overall per MLB Pipeline. Having spent all of 2018 at Triple-A, he was just called up to pitch out of the Brewers' bullpen -- and perhaps showcase his stuff on the big league stage.
May and Lux, meanwhile, are the Nos. 10 and 12 prospects in LA's system. Both are 20-year-olds at Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where May sports a 3.13 ERA and 8.9 K/9 mark and Lux is in the middle of a breakout campaign (.319/.396/.509).
So far, however, it appears both the Brewers and Dodgers have not been willing to part with these specific young players.
• Earlier on Tuesday, the Machado buzz grew louder as MLB.com's Jim Duquette spun a potential blockbuster trade proposal between the O's and their American League East-rival Yankees. The suggested swap? Machado and Zach Britton to the Yanks for righty Domingo German, infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Clint Frazier.
• That followed reports late Monday night -- including one from Rosenthal and one from Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun, who also linked the Yanks to relievers Britton and Brad Brach -- that New York was showing increased interest in Machado.
• One possible catch in a Yanks-O's trade -- or with any other club that might prefer Machado at the hot corner: The former third baseman once again made it clear, this time via Marc Carig of The Athletic, that he sees himself as a shortstop -- a position Didi Gregorius holds down in the Bronx.
• Another complication? Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated to MLB Network insider Joel Sherman, writing in the New York Post, that he is focused on improving the club's areas of need. In other words, the rotation -- not necessarily third base, where rookie Miguel Andujar has played well.
Buckle up. Stay tuned. Insert your cliché of choice here. There's bound to be more Machado news any minute now. We'll keep you in the loop.