There Goes My Childhood
- Chase Utley will be hanging up his spikes at the end of the season. My favorite player of all time, and a legitimate hall of fame candidate, Utley currently carries a .231/.313/.331 batting line for the 2018 season with the Dodgers.
- Over a 16 year career, Utley’s counting stats aren’t where many would expect them to be. While 1880 hits, 259 home runs, and 153 stolen bases are certainly impressive, he will fall short of the totals that would have cemented him a spot in Cooperstown.
- Luckily for the six-time All-Star, he plays in an era where Bill James‘ hall of fame statistics are available. Based on wins above replacement, he is essentially a guarantee. Another thing that could help him is his gritty, old school style of play, and influence on young players such as Dodgers’ shortstop Corey Seager. It will be interesting to see how the voters stand.
- It was reported yesterday that the Phillies have upped their offer to the O’s and that the O’s are doing more in-depth analysis on the Phillies’ system. The following day, there was an update that the Orioles were beginning to narrow the field in the Machado-derby, with the Phillies and Brewers leading the pack, while the Dodgers, Yankees, Diamondbacks and Indians are still in it.
- It appeared on Sunday, however, that it is down to the Phillies, Dodgers and Brewers for the Machado sweepstakes. It was reported that the Yankees’ interest was typically overblown, and while Cleveland and New York were mentioned earlier in the day by Jon Heyman, they were later omitted by Buster Olney.
- I wouldn’t overpay for Machado. Don’t get me wrong, the kid’s a star, but two months of him is not enough to dole out an outstanding return. I also don’t see his expected lengthy contract seeming like a wise investment based on his tendencies to struggle with plate discipline. The biggest concern that I have is the .317 on-base percentage that he put up last season. While he has improved upon it this season, years down the line, I don’t have faith that he can keep it up. When a guy’s bat starts to go, it’s the plate discipline that keeps the OPS up. Here are some examples of players classified as “power hitters”, who played into their late 30’s or early 40’s and remained even somewhat relevant.
- Jason Giambi (age 35-43)- isolated on base percentage .133
- Todd Helton (age 35-39)- isolated on base percentage .089
- Jim Thome (age 35-41)- isolated on base percentage .122
- Chipper Jones (age 35-40)- isolated on base percentage .099
- Edgar Martinez (age 35-41)- isolated on base percentage .107
- Barry Bonds (age 35-42)- isolated on base percentage .192
- Fred McGriff (age 35-40)- isolated on base percentage .087
- Manny Ramirez (age 35-39)- isolated on base percentage .105
- David Ortiz (age 35-40)- isolated on base percentage .090
- Alex Rodriguez (age 35-40)- isolated on base percentage .088
- and as a reference, Manny Machado (age 19-25)- isolated on base percentage .054
- According to Jon Heyman, some of the names that have been tossed around are Jhailyn Ortiz, Ranger Suarez, Adonis Medina, Arquimedes Gamboa and Franklyn Kilome.
- Breaking this down, if I’m the Phillies, I’m trying to focus the Orioles attention on a group of players including Mickey Moniak, Maikel Franco, Arquimedes Gamboa, Cornelius Randolph, Jhailyn Ortiz, Ben Lively, Jake Thompson, Dylan Cozens and Roman Quinn. I would be willing to include any three or four of these guys in a deal for the rental Machado. I would only deal Medina, Suarez or Kilome in a deal for a more controllable player.
- Meanwhile, Bob Nightengale reported that rival execs expect that the Dodgers will come away with Machado. This could be that Dustin May or Gavin Lux were placed onto the table in discussion. We have heard that the O’s are especially fond of the pair, but the Dodgers were hesitant to part with them.
- If I’m Los Angeles, I’m completely fine trading Lux. While he’s having a nice season, his BABip is very high and suggests regression, but I’m putting May in the same category as Keibert Ruiz, Alex Verdugo and Walker Buehler, as a very likely major league contributor, who should not be traded for a rental. The kid is 20-years old, has never walked more than 2 batters per nine innings at any levels, sits in the upper 50’s to low 60’s in groundball percentage, and has very high strikeout numbers. That is the recipe for an ace, and one who should not be flipped for a rental.
Indians Trade Rumors
- The Indians have been connected with two Orioles trade chips over the past week: Adam Jones and Mychal Givens.
- From the Indians perspective, both of these guys make total sense, as Lonnie Chisenhall can’t stay off of the disabled list, and the bullpen, aside from Oliver Perez has been shaky. As for the Orioles, I don’t think it would be smart to trade Givens just yet. Right now, Givens is a solid set-up man with control, but with Brad Brach and Zach Britton on their way out, with Darren O’Day likely to follow, Givens should be in line for a good amount of save chances, which could drive up his asking price. If I’m Dan Duquette, I’m doing my best to sell the Tribe Brach or Britton in a deal with Jones, unless, of course they make an unreasonably large offer for Givens.
Miscellaneous Trade Rumors
- The Angels are considering selling this month, and according to multiple reports, starters Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney have both drawn interest. It would make sense for the Angels to begin to restock the system. While they have some prospects that are close to ready including Griffin Canning, it is a very top heavy system. At this time, they would only need a retool, based on the fact that they have an outstanding and relatively young core of Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons, Justin Upton and of course, Mike Trout. While they have reinforcements on the way offensively, including Luis Rengifo, Matt Thaiss and Taylor Ward who all happen to play positions that could use some upgrades, they could certainly use some more young pitching.
- The Rays have had a horrible week. First of all, Nathan Eovaldi got demolished in his last start bringing both his ERA and FIP up more than a full point. While one start doesn’t typical make or break a person’s trade value, the demolition of his statistics hurt the Rays’ leverage based on his situation. Furthermore, Wilson Ramos will be placed on the disabled list with a hamstring issue. Obviously, the Rays are hoping that he’s back right after the ten days are up, but it makes the situation rather complicated. If he’s on the DL, he can’t be traded, and an August trade would limit what they Rays could get back, as they lack leverage.
- In this situation, if I’m the Marlins, I’m ramping up J.T. Realmuto talks. While I’m not making the deal unless I’m blown away, this gives Miami so much more leverage, as Ramos was the biggest alternative to Realmuto. If a team is desperate enough for a good backstop, the Fish could really cash in here.
- The Astros are apparently very high on Raisel Iglesias. While its not particularly surprising, it could be a good fit. I personally don’t believe the Reds trade Iglesias,but if any team can put together an enticing enough package, it’s Houston.
- Jake Odorizzi is on the block, as the Twins find themselves buried. While his 4.45 ERA and $6.3 million salary don’t inspire the hopes of a huge return, it shouldn’t be hard for the Twins to get more than they gave up, as Jermaine Palacios, while solid, has something of a questionable bat and looks to me like a utility infielder long-term based on a lack of plate discipline and consistent power. While he hit 13 home runs last season, he has hit five home runs combined, excluding 2017.
Tampa Acquires Milner
- As anticipated, Hoby Milner did not make it through waivers. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even make it to waivers, as he was traded by the Phillies to the Rays in exchange for cash considerations.
- I love this deal for both the Rays and for Milner. The Rays have relied heavily on relief pitching this season, and should be able to give Milner a shot at the major league level. While I don’t think Milner is a closer by any means, I think we’re looking at an exceptionally effective major league middle reliever, specialist type.
- Here is a projection that I ran for Milner.
- The A’s designated reliever Santiago Casilla for assignment on Saturday. Initially, I was surprised and a bit confused, as his bottom line numbers have been rather solid, with a 3.16 ERA and a palatable 4.03 FIP, but then I took a look at some of his other stats: 6.32 K/9, 5.74 BB/9, .209 BABipa and a 0.7 mph drop in average velocity from last season. While I expect him to latch on elsewhere in rather short order, he has definitely had lady luck on his side.
- J.B. Wendelken was recalled to take his spot. Wendelken is a 25-year old reliever coming back from Tommy John surgery that kept him sidelined for the entire 2017 season. He has pitched very well in Triple-A this season throwing 28.1 innings of 3.49 ERA ball (in the PCL) despite a .381 BABipa. Due to this fact, his FIP is an impressive 2.36 and even more impressive, he has posted a 14.29 K/9 compared to a 2.54 BB/9. I’m definitely pulling for the kid.
- Fun fact: Wendelken cleared waivers following the 2016 season.
The Indians DFA Merritt
- I truly don’t understand this at all. With Merritt, you have a 26-year old lefty starter with elite control and above average ground ball rates. He seems like a shoe-in to be claimed, but with the wire been working as it has been, nothing would shock me.
- He has a four pitch arsenal: Fastball (92), cutter, change and curve.
- Here is a projection that I did on Merritt.
Interesting Minor Moves
- The Giants brought in Peter Bourjos on a minor league deal. I don’t love the fit for Bourjos, as Mac Williamson, who is in Triple-A, is already on the club’s 40-man roster, and Hunter Pence and Austin Slater are on the bench for the Giants. He seems like a depth piece for the Sacramento River Cats.
- The Rangers released Austin Jackson making him a year and a half bargain at the league minimum on the free agent market. Kansas City, Baltimore Miami or even the Indians would benefit from signing him, although the Indians should probably go for someone with more upside.
- The Orioles signed Sean Gilmartin to a minor league contract. Gilmartin was once a first round pick, a rule V draft selection and a part of the Ryan Doumit deal from a few years ago. He will report to Triple-A Norfolk, and serve as depth with a very solid chance to see some time in the majors with the looming sell off.
- The Reds brought in a guy who I am rather fond of, outfielder Logan Taylor. He was released by the White Sox a month ago, despite being drafted last season, and hitting .310/.406/.406. At 24-years old, he was given something of a promotion by the Reds, as he was assigned to Class A Dayton. He strikes me as a guy who could be a solid enough fourth outfielder based on his speed, defense and outstanding plate discipline, but could have difficulty finding a starting job based on a lack of power.
Bullpen Market Rumors
- The Phillies are on the look out for some additional relief depth and have been connected to Britton and Jeurys Familia. Both are very highly coveted pieces around the league, with the Giants and Red Sox showing a significant interest in Familia with the Yankees and Cubs looking at Britton.
- I’m not enthused with Britton as a trade candidate. While he’s throwing harder, he has really struggled with control over the past two seasons, and with his injury history, doesn’t seem like a very reliable bet to hold up down the stretch. With the Orioles being an organization typically unwilling to eat money, nobody should give up too much in prospect capital to take on the remainder of a $12 million contract.
- Familia looks like a considerably more reliable option who makes sense for any contender. While rentals aren’t typically my first choice, Familia is consistent enough, with a low enough salary (about $4,000,000 less than Britton) to make him worth a shot. Before seeing a potential return, I would imagine Familia could be the bargain of the deadline.
- Meanwhile, the Padres seem likely to cash in on their relievers over the next two weeks as Kirby Yates and Brad Hand have both been attracting interest, which shouldn’t be considered a surprise. The Yankees and Cubs are two teams that have been connected to the pair of Padres, with New York also showing interest in starter Tyson Ross.
The Wild Cards
- Speaking of Yates, the man who was claimed off of waivers by the Angels on the same day as him back in 2016, Blake Parker, seems likely to wind up on the block along with fellow Angels’ relievers Justin Anderson and Cam Bedrosian.
- The Angels, along with the Cardinals, are the biggest wildcard of the deadline. While it seems likely both teams tip in favor of selling, it’s something that could change the entire trajectory of the market based on their pieces.
- Joel Sherman reported on Sunday that Carlos Martinez, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney could all wind up on the block in short order. Martinez, in particular, could be huge. He’s a guy who I would mortgage the farm for. If you want a young, consistent, cost controlled ace, then he’s the guy that you want. Whoever trades for Martinez is going to have to give up a lot, but it seems likely to be worth it.
Additional Trade Rumors
- It seems as though Mike Moustakas will not be traded until after the Machado deal has been made, according to Mark Feinsand. This makes perfect sense, as he represents an inexpensive consolation prize for those who miss out on Manny. Boston and Atlanta have been involved, with Philly, Arizona, Cleveland, New York, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee all candidates to join in on the fun.
- While the Royals should get something back, don’t forget that it was just a few months ago that teams didn’t even want him as a free agent. While he has been solid, the on base percentage concerns are still alive and well, and while his defense has been acceptable, it doesn’t seem like much of an improvement for the majority of the aforementioned clubs. Don’t expect the Royals to make a mint on Moose.
- While the M’s had shown some interest in Cole Hamels, it was reportedly overblown, according to Ryan Divish. While you can never count out Dealin’ DiPoto at deadline time, I wouldn’t anticipate a Hamels deal.
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