Well, this has certainly been a morning, hasn't it?
It doesn't matter that today is the All-Star Game, right in the middle of the All-Star Break, so one would think the white-hot trade market would cool for a few days before action resumes on Friday. Well, those who thought that would be wrong. The MLB trade rumors have only intensified in the last 24 hours and even though the biggest domino will fall, the action is far from over.
The Baltimore Orioles finally seem to have found a buyer for shortstop Manny Machado, and a deal could be completed as soon as tomorrow. If the rumors are true, the playoff landscape in one particular area will mightily change.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies are pursuing a familiar face who could provide some excellent leadership to the young team as it fights to maintain its hold on first place in the NL East. In New York, Jacob deGrom's agent has issued the Mets an ultimatum. Even with Machado on the move, the story isn't over just yet.
Don't get too comfortable during the All-Star Break, baseball fans. This is the Rumor Roundup.
Phillies linked to JA Happ
Toronto Blue Jays lefty JA Happ is a free agent at season's end, so it's no surprise his team is looking to move him and what remains of his $13m salary. Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies have a "definite interest" in reuniting with one of their former top prospects. Happ came up with the Phillies and was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA en route to finishing second in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2009. He was sent to the Houston Astros as part of the Roy Oswalt trade the following year.
The Phillies could also, theoretically, talk to the Texas Rangers about bringing back fan favorite Cole Hamels, but he has a $22.5m salary this season and a club option for next year valued at $20m. Moreover, his numbers suggest a big decline could be coming. Happ, on the other hand, is cheaper and could be a prime fit for a leadership role in that young Philadelphia clubhouse. His 4.26 ERA can be attributed more to playing in the hard-hitting AL East, and his losing his last three starts is a mere blip on the radar.
If Philadelphia loses out on Machado, who we'll discuss shortly, then Happ would be a fine consolation prize.
Does deGrom want out of New York?
Mets ace Jacob deGrom leads MLB with a 1.68 ERA, but all is not well in the dominant righty's world. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported yesterday afternoon that deGrom's agent, one Brodie van Wagenen, wants "clarity" from the Mets front office about the team's future and deGrom's role in it. Van Wagenen also stated that if the Mets have no plans to sign deGrom to a long-term contract in the immediate future, then a trade should be explored immediately.
That said, deGrom's name just became one to watch as the deadline draws closer. The Mets are in the middle of a regime change in their front office and if they do grant deGrom an extension, they then risk not being able to retain Noah Syndergaard. Not only that, but the Mets haven't exactly developed a reputation for extending homegrown talent in recent years.
Nothing is definite on this front at all, but be sure to keep an eye on it.
The latest on Manny Machado
Finally, the Manny Machado sweepstakes appear to be over. How? Well, where do we begin?
Last night, it looked like the Phillies would be the team to land the two-time Gold Glove winner. Then, Jon Heyman of Fancred reported this morning the Los Angeles Dodgers had emerged as the new favorite to land Machado. ESPN's Buster Olney later confirmed that Baltimore did have a deal for Machado in place, but that medical reports needed to be combed through
But wait, there's more! Heyman later tweeted that outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz was part of the deal, which immediately swings the pendulum in LA's favor. The 21-year-old Cuban is batting .314 at Double-A Tulsa this season and slugged two homers in the Futures Game on Sunday. He isn't ready for the big-time just yet, but he gives Baltimore a fine prospect-in-waiting. There's no other word on who else Los Angeles included in their trade proposal, but it's safe to assume it includes young pitching.
One word: wow. The Dodgers hold a razor-thin half-game lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West, and it's also worth noting the Snakes have engaged in talks for Machado. The Dodgers landing Machado would be quite the power move, especially since they lead the fourth-place San Francisco Giants by a mere four games. The state of the division means that even acquiring Machado wouldn't guarantee a playoff run.
But the Dodgers appear to be throwing caution to the wind and appear ready to make the biggest splash of the summer. They showed interest in Machado dating back to last offseason, and it appears they might get their man.