Trade talks heat up in July, and the past few days were no exception in the wild and wonderful world of Major League Baseball. Just yesterday, the first trade of the month was made and even though it was a small one, it served as a reminder that anything can happen as the July 31 deadline approaches.
Meanwhile, in the AL East, the market for Manny Machado seems to be taking shape despite the Baltimore Orioles' exorbitant asking price. Will a buyer eventually emerge and make a great deal for one of the game's best, or will GM Dan Duquette and owner Peter Angelos become victims of their own demands?
And that's not all, baseball fans. Strap in, because it's time for the Rumor Roundup!
Austin Jackson traded to Texas Rangers
First things first, let's get into the trade that happened just yesterday! John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle tweeted that the San Francisco Giants traded Austin Jackson, reliever Cory Gearrin, and minor league righty Jason Bahr to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later or cash. Jackson was earning $3m this year and hit just .242 in 59 games for the Giants, so this appears to be a cost-saving move on San Francisco's part.
But wait, there's more! Per Gerry Fraley of The Dallas Morning News, Rangers GM Jon Daniels has told Jackson to hold off on reporting to the team for a couple of days since there isn't more than a reserve role for him in Texas. This sounds like the Rangers are looking to move Jackson in another potential deal, or they could just release him.
Regardless of what happens with Jackson, he is the first significant player to be moved this month. This deal isn't exactly a tone-setter, but it should be interesting to see what his fate is nonetheless!
JA Happ still drawing interest
We noted in our last Rumor Roundup that the New York Yankees were interested in Toronto Blue Jays lefty JA Happ. For those of you who saw his start against the Bronx Bombers on Saturday, it'd be a safe assumption that interest in him has cooled. Happ lasted just 2.2 innings and allowed six runs (all earned) on four hits, walking six and striking out five.
But despite his poor start, the Yankees are still interested in trading for Happ. Per ESPN's Buster Olney, both sides are still talking and "haggling over the price tag," but the Yankees aren't the only team interested in trading for Happ. Bob Elliott of Canadian Baseball Network and CBC Sports reported the Chicago Cubs as possibly being interested, and Happ could certainly help them as they continue their battle with the Milwaukee Brewers for first place in the NL Central.
That said, it's refreshing to know teams still see the value in Happ despite his bad start, but there is still little clarity on where he'll end up come July 31 or sooner.
Machado's market heats up
Oh, what a week Manny Machado and the rumors surrounding him had. ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reported on Friday that teams weren't willing to meet Baltimore's high asking price which, if the team's demands haven't changed since the winter, includes young pitching with plenty of team control attached.
Everything changed on Saturday when Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun reported the Orioles as fielding offers from the Los Angeles Dodgers and "six other teams" regarding Machado. Those six teams include the Milwaukee Brewers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Philadelphia Phillies, among others.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic chimed in on Sunday, reporting the Dodgers and Brewers as being the "most serious" for Machado. Rosenthal also mentioned the Cleveland Indians as being interested, but balking at taking on the remainder of the star shortstop's $16m salary. Either way, trade talks for Machado are heating up, and fast.
And just what Baltimore's return package will look like is unclear. Yes, Angelos wants to be compensated accordingly for giving up his best player, but the Orioles aren't exactly in a position to make demands. Machado will be a free agent at the end of the season and unless he immediately signs an extension following a trade, teams will not be willing to give up their top prospects for a rental. Yes, the Chicago Cubs did that in trading Gleyber Torres to the New York Yankees for closer Aroldis Chapman in 2016, but they knew to have a top closer was the key to reaching and winning the World Series. Of the teams currently in the playoff hunt, there doesn't appear to be one that is a single player away from guaranteeing itself the pennant.
Either way, Machado remains the hottest name on the market, so pay attention to his name over the rest of the month.