Upping the Ante
As the trade deadline creeps closer with each passing day, some of the trade rumors seem to be gaining momentum.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Phillies are one team that seems to be gaining traction here. He notes that the Phillies increased their offer on Machado on Friday, and that the Orioles sent out representatives to do some ground work on a few Phillies’ prospects that may be of interest to them.
One of those prospects that the Orioles have interest in, according to Rosenthal, is minor league right-hander Adonis Medina. The 21-year-old hurler is currently toiling at High-A Clearwater, where he owns a 4.92 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 75/26 K/BB ratio in 71 ⅓ innings spanning 15 starts.
While the Phillies have picked up some momentum here, they aren’t the only team in the mix. The Dodgers and Yankees remain among the most fervent suitors for Machado’s services, while the Brewers and Diamondbacks continue to poke around as well.
One potential selling point for Machado on the Phillies, is that they would likely keep him at shortstop, his preferred position. Many of the other clubs that are interested in acquiring him would seemingly play him at third base.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia added to the rumblings, that the Phillies may be looking to acquire both Machado and Orioles’ closer Zach Britton in one fell swoop.
Like Machado, the 30-year-old southpaw is a free agent at season’s end and a near certainty to be flipped prior to the trade deadline. Injuries have limited him to just 12 ⅔ innings this season, but when he’s healthy and on his game he’s among the top relievers in all of baseball. He’d certainly provide a major boost to the back-end of the Phillies’ bullpen that is relying on rookie right-hander Seranthony Dominguez in the closer’s role.
As is the case with Machado though, the competition could be fierce. The Yankees and Red Sox are both in the market for bullpen upgrades and each have been linked to the Orioles’ left-hander.
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Righting the Wrongs
On Sunday, in this very space, after the initial rosters were announced for the upcoming Mid-Summer Classic, I pointed out what I felt were some of the most egregious snubs. Since then, many of those wrongs have been righted.
Jed Lowrie was added to the roster earlier this week as an injury replacement for Gleyber Torres. It’s the first All-Star appearance for the 34-year-old infielder who is slashing .289/.360/.499 with 16 homers and 62 RBI.
Jesus Aguilar was voted onto the squad by the fans in the National League Final Vote.Not only has the 28-year-old emerged from relative obscurity to become an All-Star, he’s also a legitimate candidate for the National League MVP award. Aguilar is slashing a mighty .302/.370/.634 with 24 homers and 68 RBI in only 305 plate appearances.
Two more players who were major snubs in the American League had their tickets to Washington punched on Friday.
Blake Snell will be heading to his first All-Star game, taking the place of the injured Corey Kluber. The Rays’ left-hander owns a 12-5 record, 2.27 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 134/47 K/BB ratio across his 119 innings.
Joining him on the American League pitching staff will be Astros’ right-hander Charlie Morton who is taking the place of the injured Aroldis Chapman. Another first-time All-Star, Morton becomes the third member of the Astros’ rotation on the All-Star squad joining teammates Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole. The 34-year-old hurler sits at 11-2 on the season with a 2.96 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 145/45 K/BB ratio in 112 ⅓ innings.
Now we just need to find a way to get Andrew Benintendi an Ross Stripling there as well, and I’ll have no further gripes.
Max Muncy is one other player who I would have liked to see have a chance to participate in the game, and at least he’ll be there for the festivities.
He’ll be a part of the T-Mobile Home Run Derby on Monday night. The #3 seed in the bracket-style tournament, he’ll take on Cubs’ infielder Javier Baez in the first round for the right to play the winner of the Bryce Harper vs. Freddie Freeman matchup.
On the other side of the bracket, it’ll be Jesus Aguilar taking on Rhys Hoskins, while Alex Bregman will try to out-slug Kyle Schwarber.
End of an Era
Chase Utley called a press conference prior to Friday’s game against the Angels to announce that he will retire following the 2018 season.
“But the thing I’m having the most difficult time with is being a part-time dad,” he said. “So that’s really the reason I’m shutting it down, because I’m ready to be a full-time dad. It is a difficult decision, but it’s one I’m comfortable with and I’m confident that I’m doing at the right time.”
The 39-year-old is under contract for 2019, but he’s batting only .231/.313/.331 this season for the Dodgers and has seen his playing time dry up. Utley has had a marvelous career that’s seen him bat .276/.358/.466 with 259 home runs and 1,025 RBI.
He has made six All-Star teams and finished in the top-15 in National League MVP voting five times. Utley was also a key component of the 2008 Phillies’ team that defeated the Rays in five games to win the 2008 World Series.His seven career World Series home runs are the most for any second baseman in MLB history.
American League Quick Hits: Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that the Orioles and Indians continue to have dialogue on multiple players, with Adam Jones chief among them… After getting designated for assignment several times by the Yankees, David Hale signed a one-year contract with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization… Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (knee) returned to game action on Friday with the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays… James Paxton was placed on the 10-day disabled list with his back issue, but he’s expected to rejoin the Mariners on July 24 against the Giants… Corey Kluber will be shut down for a week, and will miss the All-Star game, after receiving a PRP injection in his right knee… Marco Estrada landed on the disabled list with a strained left glute… Jose Iglesias missed his second straight start due to a hand injury… Jacoby Ellsbury has still yet to be cleared to resume baseball activities… Carlos Correa (back) is hopeful to begin a minor league rehab assignment over the All-Star break… Teoscar Hernandez was scratched from Friday’s line with left heel soreness… Albert Pujols was placed on the 10-day DL with left knee inflammation. He’s only expected to require a minimum stay there… The Angels signed Junichi Tazawa to a minor league deal… The Rangers will release veteran outfielder Austin Jackson on Saturday… Ryan Rua clubbed a pinch-hit, go-ahead three-run homer to sink the Orioles… Dallas Keuchel blanked the Tigers for six innings to earn his seventh victory… Alex Bregman blasted his 20th home run in that win… Jed Lowrie left Friday’s game with a bruised leg after colliding with teammate Stephen Piscotty… Mookie Betts went 3-for-4 with a pair of triples as the Red Sox had their 10-game winning streak snapped by the Blue Jays… Kevin Pillar went 4-for-5 with four RBI to lead the charge for the Jays… Justin Smoak homered from each side of the plate and plated four runs in that victory… Leury Garcia went 3-for-5 with a homer and three RBI as the White Sox beat the Royals… Kole Calhoun slugged a pair of home runs in a losing effort against the Dodgers… Joe Mauer homered and drove in four runs, leading the Twins past the Rays.
National League Quick Hits: According to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com, the Reds are no longer likely to trade Scooter Gennett, and are instead interested in signing him to a contract extension… Michael Wacha (oblique) has year to be cleared to resume throwing… Harrison Bader has been hampered by a right hamstring injury. He’s considered day-to-day… Lewis Brinson has been shut down with a hip bone bruise… Jon Gray will be recalled from Triple-A to start against the Mariners on Saturday…Shelby Miller (elbow) plans to seek a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed his Tommy John surgery last season. For the time being, they do not believe there is a new tear in his UCL… Justin Turner missed his second straight game with a hip/groin issue… Rich Hill will not make his scheduled start this weekend, and may not have a place in the Dodgers’ rotation after the All-Star break… The Giants signed Peter Bourjos to a minor league deal…Eric Thames was forced to leave Friday’s game with right hamstring tightness… Josh Bell went 4-for-4 with a double, triple and two RBI in a win over the Brewers… Wei-Yin Chen fanned eight over six innings of one-run ball in a tough-luck loss against the Phillies… Jake Arrieta fired seven shutout innings to earn a victory there… Noah Syndergaard struck out three over five innings of one-run ball as he defeated the Nationals in his return from the disabled list… Tommy Pham went hitless for the fifth straight game and has seen his average fall to .240… Matt Harvey allowed just one run over five innings in a win over the Cardinals… Jesse Winker went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI as the Reds slaughtered the Cardinals… Trevor Story homered, doubled and drove in four runs in a win over the Mariners… Zack Godley struck out seven over six innings of one-run ball in a victory over the Braves… Max Muncy clubbed his 22nd home run in a win against the Angels… Billy Hamilton made perhaps the catch of the year, scaling the wall to rob Matt Carpenter of a home run… Madison Bumgarner allowed just one run on three hits over six innings in a win over the Athletics.