MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Reports Before 2018 All-Star Game

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJuly 17, 2018

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 25:  J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 25, 2018 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's not often that Major League Baseball sees a seismic move prior to the trade deadline, but that will be the case this season as it looks like Baltimore Orioles slugger Manny Machado is headed out of town.

Per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, "the Baltimore Orioles, barring a last minute snag, will trade All-Star shortstop Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday."

While the biggest name on the trading block appears to be off the table, a few other notable players should be on the move. You can take a look at three of them below.


J.A. Happ

At 43-52, the Toronto Blue Jays are playing out the string. They sit 23.5 games back in the American League East race and 14 behind the Seattle Mariners for the AL's second wild-card spot.

Therefore, it's no surprise that their No. 1 pitcher, J.A. Happ, could be headed out as the Blue Jays look toward the future. Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, "there is definite interest" in the southpaw.

While Happ has done fairly well this year (121 strikeouts in 106 innings, 4.02 FIP per Baseball Reference), a glance at the Phillies' depth chart reveals that bullpen help may be a bigger need. Salisbury noted the Phils are interested in Orioles lefty reliever Zach Britton (more on that in a minute), and that would likely take precedence over any Happ deal.

However, Happ would give the Phils their only lefty in the starting rotation, and he would presumably be the team's No. 3 starter behind ace Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta.

Philadelphia would then have a good problem on its hands, as it would have four solid candidates (Zach Eflin, Enyel De Los Santos, Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta) for the final two rotation spots during the stretch run. Presumably, De Los Santos, a 22-year-old prospect with just two starts under his belt, would be an odd man out, leaving three right-handers for two roles.

It's never much of a problem to have an overabundance of pitching options, so the surprising Phillies would be set up quite well for a playoff race should they land Happ.


Zach Britton

Baltimore Orioles left-hander Zach Britton was the subject of trade rumors last year, but nothing ever materialized.

Given how poorly Baltimore has done this year (28-69), one has to figure that he'll be on the move as the team begins an extensive rebuilding process.

A few rumors have been reported. Per Bruce Levine of 670 The Score, "the Cubs are one of eight contending teams talking to the Baltimore Orioles about reliever Zach Britton, according to a source."

Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia added some information about the Phillies' interest in the left-hander:

Jim Salisbury @JSalisburyNBCS

I am getting the vibe that the Phillies are angling to land Machado AND Britton is same deal. https://t.co/VaSulQpHjn

At his best, Britton was one of the best relievers in the game. According to Baseball Reference, Britton earned 120 saves in addition to a microscopic 1.38 ERA from 2014-2016. He was also called upon nearly every other day, as the O's reliever made 204 appearances.

However, Britton has battled injuries over the past two years, notably forearm tightness in 2017 and a ruptured Achilles tendon that kept him out for the first part of the 2018 campaign.

Since his 2016 campaign, which saw Britton post a 0.54 ERA and 47 saves, the southpaw has fallen back to Earth a bit to the tune of a 3.19 ERA. However, if Britton stays healthy, gets into a groove and returns closer to his mid-decade form, then whichever team gets him at the deadline will receive a tremendous asset toward the stretch run.


Jeurys Familia

Per Buster Olney of ESPN, New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia could be going elsewhere:

Buster Olney @Buster_ESPN

NL teams appear to be at the forefront of the talks about the Mets' Jeurys Familia, who is among the best available relievers. Phillies interested (although they may wait until Britton/Machado talks resolved), Giants, etc.

The Mets' season has been an absolute disaster, as they sit in last place in the National League East with a 39-55 record. The issue is that the team needs to undergo a massive organizational rebuild, as the farm system isn't stacked with potential MLB prospects. Of note, Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com ranked the Mets' farm 26th out of 30 MLB teams prior to the season.

At this point, the Mets need to go on a fire sale, which is why trading Familia makes sense. For the season, the 28-year-old has 17 saves and a 2.88 ERA.

Either the aforementioned Phillies or Giants can work: Both teams could use relief help, although Philly's bullpen ERA ranks in the bottom half of the league (4.08, which is 17th). The Phils may be more desperate than San Francisco to make a move for Familia.

Ultimately, don't expect Familia to be a Met by the end of the month. He's likely joining a team in the middle of a playoff race.


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