X

MLB Trade Rumors: Top Reports After 2018 All-Star Break

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 18, 2018

San Diego Padres pitcher Brad Hand (52) throws in the eighth inning during the Major League Baseball All-star Game, Tuesday, July 17, 2018 in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/Associated Press

With the first domino of the Major League Baseball trade market set to fall, 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 Hand

Brad 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 @jcrasnick

Add the #Indians to list of teams with interest in #Padres closer Brad Hand. He's 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 Press

In 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 Britton

With 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 MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli, the interest in the 30-year-old reliever is gaining steam:

Brittany Ghiroli @Britt_Ghiroli

When 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 @JonHeyman

Whatever 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, 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 Diamond

With 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 Press

In 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, especially on the left side of the infield.

According to MLB.com'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.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.