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With the first domino of the Major League Basebal
04-15-2019, 12:09 PM,
With the first domino of the Major League Basebal
l trade market set to fall Tyler Clippard Jersey , the frenzy leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline will focus on improvements other contenders can make to match the Los Angeles Dodgers.As long as no last-minute snafus come about, Manny Machado will be a Dodger by the time the All-Star break ends, with a potentially large haul of prospects going back to Baltimore, per Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal.With Machado off the market, teams in need of help at the plate will turn to other trade prospects on struggling teams, while some ballclubs will go after in-demand pitchers.One of the first hurlers off the market could be one of Machado's teammates, and a few fellow All-Stars could be on the move as well for the right price.Below is a look at the latest buzz surrounding the top trade targets with the second part of the regular season in sight. Indians Among Teams Interested in Brad HandBrad Hand is in a similar situation to a year ago, as buzz is circulating around a potential exit from the San Diego Padres after he appeared in the All-Star Game.The 28-year-old is a valuable commodity to teams in need of bullpen help because he is a left-handed reliever.The market for Hand should continue to grow in the coming days and weeks, and the Cleveland Indians could be one team in the mix for him, as ESPN's Jerry Crasnick noted:Jerry Crasnick jcrasnickAdd the #Indians to list of teams with interest in #Padres closer Brad Hand. Hes signed for $6.5M and $7M the next two years, with a $10M club option for 2021. So he could be a nice hedge against Andrew Miller and Cody Allen leaving through free agency. Price very high, though.However, Hand's potential suitors might be turned away by his cost, as he is set to earn $6.5 million and $7 million in the next two seasons.In addition to the Indians, the New York Yankees might be involved in the Hand sweepstakes, as they've checked in on Hand and teammate Tyson Ross, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.Hand has 24 saves in 41 appearances for the Padres, who sit 14.5 games back of the Dodgers in the National League West.Lynne Sladky/Associated PressIn 54 duels against left-handed hitters, Hand conceded eight hits while striking out 26 batters and walking four.Since Hand is under contract for a few years, his situation could differ from other players on the market , as teams must be willing to take on his deal while giving up prospects to the Padres.However, if teams like the Indians and Yankees feel like it's the right move, Hand won't spend another August in San Diego.Talk Heating Up Around Zach BrittonWith the Orioles expected to offload Machado soon, their next order of business is to find a trade partner for Zach Britton, who, like Hand, remained with his current team despite heavy interest at the trade deadline 12 months ago.According to's Brittany Ghiroli, the interest in the 30-year-old reliever is gaining steam:Brittany Ghiroli Britt_GhiroliWhen Machado is officially traded, Orioles could move quickly on Britton. Interest in him has picked up steam.The market for Britton could be one of the largest in the majors, as Fancred's Jon Heyman noted a handful of teams are expected to pick up negotiations with the Orioles:Jon Heyman JonHeymanWhatever happens with manny (and dodgers lead), phillies are expected to pick up talks regarding Zach Britton. Big market there: cubs, yankees, red sox, maybe astros, indians, dodgers, others.The Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, Yankees and Indians could be among the potential suitors taking a swing at acquiring Britton.Philadelphia is in desperate need of bullpen reinforcements Yuli Gurriel Jersey , as it looks to solidify its status on top of the NL East, and it must find a way to improve its roster after losing out on the Machado sweepstakes.The risk involved with trading for Britton is he's coming off an Achilles injury and appeared in 15 games so far this season.However, teams could see that as a plus, as the left-handed reliever is fresh with plenty of meaningful baseball left on the schedule.Since the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Cubs possess established closers and the Phillies are relying on a young bullpen, the NL East leader could throw more at the Orioles in an attempt to stave off the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. Phillies in Pursuit of Upgrades Across the DiamondWith the bidding war for Machado not going the way they expected it to, the Phillies will be searching the market for potential additions to their lineup.As we mentioned above, the Phillies are also in the market for pitching, and one of their options could be a former member of the team.Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ, who recorded a save for the American League in the All-Star Game, sits behind Britton on the Phillies' wish list, but there is interest in him, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.Michael Dwyer/Associated PressIn addition to the interest being there from the Phillies, the Blue Jays spent time scouting prospects in the Philadelphia farm system as part of their preparations for potential negotiations, per Salisbury.The 35-year-old, who started his career with the Phillies, is 10-6 with a 4.29 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 19 starts, and he'd be a perfect veteran addition to a rotation headlined by Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.Don't expect the Phillies to just hunt for upgrades to their pitching staff, as position players will be a priority as well Jake Marisnick Jersey , especially on the left side of the infield.According to's Todd Zolecki, the Phillies are ready to turn their attention to Mike Moustakas, Eduardo Escobar and other hitters on the market.However, the only problem with a potential deal for one of the sluggers mentioned above is the Phillies would have to juggle their infield rotation, as Maikel Franco currently starts at third base.The move for Machado would've been ideal since he could've taken over for the underperforming players at shortstop.Although it might not be a perfect fit positionally, the Phillies need to bolster their roster, and if a trade for a third baseman comes about, they could always solve the problem by shifting Franco to shortstop.Follow Joe on Twitter, JTansey90.Statistics obtained from Baseball Reference. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez was Houston’s do-everything utility player for the last few years.Replacing him is probably going to be a team effort.Gonzalez signed a $21 million, two-year deal with Minnesota on Monday, making official what the Astros seemed to know all offseason: they’re going to need new depth around the diamond. Gonzalez played every position except pitcher and catcher during his seven seasons with Houston.The player most likely to mimic Gonzalez is 2016 All-Star Aledmys Diaz, who was acquired from Toronto in November. Houston is also hoping first baseman Yuli Gurriel can bounce around the infield a bit more.“I want to see Diaz play all four infield positions and potentially two outfield positions on the corner,” manager AJ Hinch said. “We may not have enough time to do that as much as we want. As fun as it sounds, that’s lot to ask out of one guy, but I would like to move him around a little bit.”Diaz has experience at most of those positions. The 28-year-old has primarily been a shortstop with the Cardinals and Blue Jays, but he’s also comfortable at third base and has appeared at second base and in left field.“I think it’s a challenge to play different positions every day, but at the same time, I’ve played all over the infield in the past,” he said. “So for me Joe Jimenez Jersey , I’ve never played first base at this level and only a little bit in the outfield. So that’s one thing I’m going to try to improve on and work on is in the outfield.”Diaz said he’s been chatting with Houston outfielders George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick about the position, though he anticipates the best preparation is in-game reps.“Having the experience is the most important thing at this level,” he said. “So for me having the chance to play a little bit in the outfield in spring training is going to help me going into the season to be more ready when he puts me in the outfield.”Hinch believes one of the most important qualities a utility player must have is a willingness to do whatever is asked of him. In that category, Diaz is already just fine.“I love his mindset,” Hinch said. “He’s willing to do anything. He’s going to start playing a different position virtually every day for the next four or five rotations that he plays. I do love the eagerness to fit in as opposed to the stubbornness of making demands and being upset over his reality.”Diaz’s reward will be more playing time. There aren’t any everyday openings in the infield — Carlos Correa is entrenched at short, 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve plays second, Alex Bregman is a budding star at third and Gurriel is locked in at first.“As soon as I heard about the trade, I talked to AJ in the offseason and told him I was motivated to play like every position the team needs me,” Diaz said. “It’s a long season, so the everyday guys might need a rest day. Also it will give me a chance to have more at-bats and be in the lineup more often.”Gurriel could also be a fill-in option at second or third base, although he’s played those positions sparingly over two-plus season with Houston following a 12-year career in Cuba and Japan. Hinch will give him some reps around the infield this spring in anticipation of a more versatile role.NOTES: Rookie RHP Josh James has a strained quadriceps that will cause him to miss time. He was vying for the fifth spot in Houston’s rotation, but Hinch said the setback effectively takes him out of that conversation. “I still think he’s going to get enough outings to factor in the bullpen conversation,” Hinch said. … RHP Collin McHugh left after one inning on Wednesday because of a sore back, but he said it isn’t anything serious and he doesn’t expect it to cause him to miss any time.

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