Add this name to the list of players the Phillies believe can boost their offense: Adam Jones.
With the non-waiver trade deadline set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, the Phillies are targeting Jones as a possible upgrade in right field, according to major-league sources. Jones has spent 11 seasons as the Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder.
There would be a few hurdles to a deal for Jones. As a player with 10/5 rights (at least 10 years in the majors, the last five or more with the same team), Jones can veto any trade. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, and there’s a sense that he might want to stay in Baltimore, where he has become the face of the franchise.
But Jones also has connections with several Phillies executives who once worked for the Orioles. Phillies team president Andy MacPhail was running the Orioles’ baseball operations in 2008 when the club acquired Jones from the Seattle Mariners in one of the best trades in franchise history.
Jones, who turns 33 next week, is batting .277 with a .304 on-base percentage, 10 home runs and a .727 OPS that would be his lowest mark since 2008. But the Phillies entered play Wednesday with the second-lowest right field OPS (.640) in the National League and optioned struggling Aaron Altherr to Triple A earlier this week. Acquiring Jones would also enable the Phillies to strengthen their bench because it would relegate Nick Williams to a reserve role in which he excelled earlier in the season.
Although Jones hasn’t played right field since 2007, an NL talent evaluator suggested he would adjust well to playing a corner outfield spot at this point in his career, especially because many scouts believe he has lost a step in center field. Jones also has a reputation within the game as a positive clubhouse presence.
Phillies players have expressed confidence in their ability to score runs. But they also would welcome additions from the outside before Tuesday.
“This is my first deadline that’s been meaningful,” left fielder Rhys Hoskins said. “It’s interesting. But it just means that we’re ready to compete into October.”
HARTFORD — The New York Yankees have decided to boost their pitcher position by adding left-hander Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles for three prospects. This trade will definitely strengthen their bullpen.
Right-hander Dillon Tate will join the Orioles alongside with left-hander Josh Rodgers and right-hander Cody Carroll. The trade became official when the teams announced it. Britton will be a set up for closer Aroldis Chapman and other experienced veterans.
Current Yankees players such as Chapman are happy and excited for Britton to join the squad.
He’s looking to become a major contributor for the Yankees for the remainder of the season.
The Boston Red Sox have decided to bolster their pitcher position for their team. They acquired right-handed starter Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays for minor league lefty Jalen Beeks.
Eovaldi can become a free agent this season.
This deal was finalized less than 12 hours after Boston’s longtime AL East Rival have decided to acquire reliever Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles.
He has experience when it comes to this well know rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees. He went 23-11 with a 4.45 ERA in 51 games while playing for the Yankees during the 2015-2016 season.
The Orioles have had a very solid clubhouse culture during the Buck Showalter era, but in the wake of their first-half collapse, they have begun a major rebuild that will take away a lot of their veteran leadership.
Showalter has always favored the players policing themselves and he has had hard-nosed players such as Adam Jones and Darren O’Day to help him teach the younger players how the Orioles are expected to conduct themselves.
That might not be the case next season — or even next month, for that matter. Jones could be traded any day now, which would remove the most influential voice in the locker room. The Orioles soon figure to have a lot more young players and a lot fewer veterans.
So, will that change the disciplinary protocol when a player fails to run out a ground ball or forgets to line up for a cutoff throw?
“Of course, there are some different dynamics for each club and where you are as an organization,’’ Showalter said. “But, there’s an expression — ‘Effort should never go in a slump,’ right? — and then a lot of people, some players, define effort differently.
“You have a lot of guys when you get on them about something, they’ll say, ‘Well, you know I play every day.’ I think that’s part of the job description, right. That’s why my appreciation level for a guy like Adam Jones … Take a good snapshot because guys like him are hard to find.”
Showalter said that it’s hard to project what the leadership situation will look like in a month, and he’s not ready to concede that Jones will not still be one of his main men in the clubhouse.
“I think when the smoke clears from a lot of the stuff that’s going on, we’ll be able to look at things more down the road,’’ he said. “I think [executive vice president] Dan [Duquette] and his group upstairs are really about ‘Okay, let’s get the best players possible for this guy or that guy,’ and when it all clears, kind of see where you are.”
If Jones and some of the other high-profile veterans are no longer around, maybe Showalter will do what he did when he arrived in Baltimore and troll for some new leaders.
“I remember having a conversation with [Jones] in the first week or 10 days I was here,” he said. “I said I really need my best players to play the game right, otherwise everything we’re doing is not going to work. It’s not going to happen. I had that conversation with three or four of them, and Adam took that mantle very seriously.
“I told him I didn’t really care what had gone on with him in the past and what have you. You’ve got a chance to start. Showed him a couple of examples of what we’re talking about and the conversations with him have been few and far between since then. He took it and ran with it.”
With about a week left to do the major business in the first phase of their rebuild — namely, the trading of former All-Stars and pending free agents Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Brach — the Orioles might have already tipped their hand a bit with their trade demands for shortstop Manny Machado.
Their main ask will be a top prospect, as centerpiece center fielder Yusniel Díaz was in their deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. But it wasn’t just his rankings and pedigree that were attractive to the Orioles. As a Cuban prospect, Díaz represented the type of high-impact international prospect they don’t normally sign.
In both Díaz and infielder Rylan Bannon, plus pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop, the Orioles got young players enjoying breakout seasons who were either in or about to reach the high minors.
Considering the Orioles’ need to add quality depth and potential major league pieces to pretty much every level of their farm system, that’s a good area to target, considering the level of competition such players have faced and what their success at that level could mean for their futures.
With that in mind, as the Orioles make their trade requests through next Tuesday’s nonwaiver trade deadline, here’s a sampling of the types of players who fit the archetypes they might covet from Britton’s reported suitors.
International standout: center fielder Gilberto Celestino
Celestino, a $2.5 million signing in the Astros’ 2015 international-signing class from the Dominican Republic, is currently batting .322/.386/.492 with 14 steals in 14 attempts and a dozen extra-base hits in the New York-Penn League for Single-A Quad Cities. He was Houston’s 20th-ranked prospect this offseason, according to Baseball America, and was up to No. 22 in the MLBPipeline.com rankings.
Breakout bat: infielder-outfielder Osvaldo Duarte
Having started at least 20 games this year for High-A Buies Creek at second base, shortstop and left field, Duarte has the defensive versatility the Orioles will need going forward, and is finally hitting, too. He’s never batted above .275 in any full season, but is hitting .284/.336/.443 with 35 extra-base hits in 2018. Duarte, 22, also has tied a career high with 19 steals.
Breakout pitcher: right-hander Brandon Bailey
Acquired from the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Ramón Laureano last offseason, Bailey, a sixth-round pick in 2012, has struck out 97 batters in 83 2/3 innings, with a 2.90 ERA for Buies Creek this year. At 5 feet 10, the 23-year-old Bailey still runs his fastball up in the low 90s and misses plenty of bats.
The brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, the 20-year-old Contreras is seeing a power spike this year. He’s batting .284/.351/.429 with 10 homers and 11 doubles in 75 games for Low-A Rome. Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com had him ranked No. 18 in their preseason rankings.
Breakout bat: center fielder Drew Waters
A hometown pick for the Braves, who took him in the second round last season, the 19-year-old Waters has always played impressively in center field but is opening eyes hitting .303/.351/.522 with 30 doubles, six triples and nine home runs for Rome this summer. He might be too promising to give up for a rental, but is enjoying quite a season.
Breakout pitcher: left-hander Bruce Zimmermann
A Maryland native who went to Loyola Blakefield, pitched two years at Towson and finished his career at Division II Mount Olive, Zimmermann isn’t overpowering but skipped High-A this year and has a 2.88 ERA in 19 starts between Rome and Double-A Mississippi. He has 123 strikeouts to 36 walks in 106 1/3 innings, though a high walk rate at Double-A has skewed some of his stats.
International standout: right-hander Javier Assad
Assad, 20, signed out of Mexico in 2015 and has gone level to level in three seasons since. This year, he has a 3.40 ERA in 17 games for Low-A South Bend, with a track record of throwing strikes with a four-pitch mix. He was in the back end of several top-30 rankings last offseason, projected as a back-of-the-rotation starter.
Breakout bat: catcher Miguel Amaya
A 19-year-old out of Panama, Amaya has broken out at the plate in his first full season, batting .272/.343/.462 with 12 home runs and 19 doubles in 84 games for South Bend. He rose to No. 1 on the Cubs’ Baseball America midseason Top 10, a sign that he may be too valuable to give up for a rental in an increasingly thinning Cubs system.
Breakout pitcher: right-hander Tyson Miller
After posting unspectacular numbers in his full-season debut last year, the Cubs’ 2016 fourth-round pick is holding opponents to a .221 batting average with a 1.10 WHIP and a 3.62 ERA, along with 91 strikeouts and 23 walks at High-A Myrtle Beach. He has all of the Orioles’ target traits: Cape Cod League success, a sinker that lives in the strike zone and a record of keeping the ball in the park.
International standout: center fielder Shael Mendoza
A late bloomer in the Dominican Republic who didn’t sign until he was 19, Mendoza would be an athletic addition to the Orioles’ outfield prospects. He’s batting .261 without much power at Low-A Asheville, but runs well and can handle center field.
Breakout bat: center fielder Yonathan Daza
Though he hit .341 with 48 extra-base hits last year at High-A Lancaster in the California League, his .310/.336/.468 slash line and 23 extra-base hits at Double-A Hartford this season confirm his potential. He, too, can play a good center field and run well, with his bat determining just what kind of an impact he can have in the big leagues. He’s hitting well enough to make it worth finding out, though,
Breakout pitcher: right-hander Rico Garcia
The 24-year-old Garcia hasn’t exactly struggled at any level, but this year, he’s gone to another level with success in the launching pad that is High-A Lancaster, and then at Hartford. He has a 3.27 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 124 innings over two levels by commanding a four-pitch mix with a low- to mid-90s fastball.
International standout: right-hander Marcos Diplan
A $1.3 million signing by the Texas Rangers in 2013, Diplan had a 5.23 ERA last year at High-A Carolina. But he’s started to put it together, with a 3.40 ERA over two levels this year, including Double-A Biloxi. The 21-year-old is still struggling with his command, but is limiting damage and realizing some of his promise this year.
Breakout bat: shortstop Mauricio Dubon
This one is cheating a bit, considering Dubon has long been on the prospect radar and is out with a season-ending ACL injury. He was batting a career-best .343/.348/.574 when he went down, and while he’s an obvious part of the Brewers’ future, Dubon could be a buy-low candidate for the Orioles.
Breakout pitcher: right-hander Zach Brown
The Brewers’ fifth-round pick from 2016 has shot all the way to Biloxi, where he’s 9-0 with a 2.34 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, averaging 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings over 19 games. The 23-year-old right-hander has a career 2.98 minor league ERA and would fit tidily into the Orioles’ plans to add fast-moving pitching. He went on the disabled list with an apparent leg injury Monday.
Boston’s representative in this summer’s All-Star Futures Game signed for only $25,000 in 2013 but has a 3.42 ERA at High-A Salem at age 19. Mata is a projectable pitcher with a three-pitch mix and room to grow, though Boston has previously declined to include him in trade talks.
Breakout bat: shortstop C.J. Chatham
A second-round pick in the first draft that the Red Sox’s current regime put together, in 2016, Chatham can easily handle the demands at shortstop and has hit for average in each of the past two seasons. Now healthy, he has a career-high 18 extra-base hits while batting .302 this summer, mostly at Salem.
Breakout pitcher: left-hander Jalen Beeks
His tough major league outings aside, the 25-year-old Beeks is a bit of an outlier in a list like this. But he’d also fit a need for the Orioles as a high-minors starting pitcher who could bridge the gap to the future. He has a 2.89 ERA in 16 Triple-A starts, lowering his career minor league ERA to 3.63.
The 19-year-old García, signed for $200,000 in July 2015, is already at Low-A Charleston, where he has a 3.77 ERA, 44 strikeouts and eight walks in 28 2/3 innings. He was the Yankees’ No. 24 prospect this offseason, according to Baseball America, and he’s up to No. 14 on MLBPipeline.com’s list. The slight García still has a low-90s fastball and a plus curveball.
Breakout bat: infielder Abiatal Avelino
Avelino, 23, has split time between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, batting .303 with an .823 OPS, albeit with much better results at the lower level. He’s never hit consistently, but this would represent his best offensive season to date. He’s played primarily shortstop and second base, and he’s also been a stolen-base threat. The Orioles need all of that.
Breakout pitcher: right-hander Garrett Whitlock
The Yankees’ 18th-round pick last year, Whitlock was a draft-eligible sophomore coming off a down season last summer. He’s rebounded with a mid-90s fastball and a good slider coming from a 6-foot-5 frame. He has a 1.46 ERA, 98 strikeouts and 25 walks with a 0.99 WHIP in 92 1/3 innings this year.
Machado, who was dealt to L.A. on Wednesday for five prospects headlined by outfielder Yusniel Diaz, wrote a letter on Instagram to the team he spent more than eight years with, and the fans who cheered him along the way.
It reads in full:
“To my Baltimore family,
“I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart!
“To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you.
“To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! !
“Much love always,
The Dodgers activated Machado before Friday night’s game at the Milwaukee Brewers. In a corresponding move, the team optioned outfielder Andrew Toles to Triple-A Oklahoma City
Machado, 26, is batting .315 with 24 homers, 65 RBIs and a .963 OPS in the final year of his contract before becoming a free agent. With each of those figures on pace for career highs, he’s projected to fetch a long-term deal approaching $300 million on the open market this winter.
In laying out the steps that the Orioles will need to take to return to competitiveness after last night’s trade of All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers, executive vice president Dan Duquette said the first would be to try and swap out the rest of their veteran players who can help other clubs for prospects.
The next step on that front? Trying to trade closer Zach Britton.
“Clubs have become more interested in Zach as he has regained his velocity and particularly, the sink and movement on his pitch,” Duquette said. “He had a really good week this past week, so clubs have renewed their interest in Zach. We engaged other clubs on that front, but we’re not as far down the road in the process, and I think that’s partly because clubs were waiting to see how Zach was throwing, and exactly what role he could help on a pennant-contending team.
“I think Zach has re-established himself with his stuff as one of the top closers in the league. Now, we can turn our attention toward that.”
Britton, who had offseason surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles in December and was back in the majors by mid-June, struggled some early with his velocity and command of his sinker. But over his last seven outings, Britton hasn’t allowed a run and has struck out six against six baserunners. His fastball has averaged 95.4 mph and topped out at 97 mph.
Duquette said Britton wouldn’t be the only player who the Orioles would look to trade this month, with the focus being not on players with club control left beyond this year, but on those who are a few months from free agency. That list also includes Brad Brach, Adam Jones, and Danny Valencia.
“Well, we’re going to take a look at trading the veteran players,” Duquette said. “Our veteran players have done a nice job for us, but the ones that are nearing free agency, I think that we need to evaluate our club going forward and at this time of year, the competitors are looking for the veteran players that have been seasoned in pennant races, as have our players. We’re going to look to maximize that opportunity on the market and try to find as many good young players as we can to deepen our farm system.”
“In conjuncture with that, we’re also going to be making significant investments this offseason in technology, analytics. We’re going to become more active on the international market, and invest in our facilities, and strengthen our overall baseball operation. That’s part of a plan that we have to have to get the Orioles back to competitiveness. But this is just the first step in a new direction.”