Is Trevor Bauer time upon us? Maybe.
According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Joe Saunders was scratched from his scheduled start last night against the Cubs because he had trouble getting loose. Josh Collmenter got the call at the last minute and allowed one run over four innings. Brad Ziegler, Craig Breslow, Bryan Shaw and David Hernandez then combined for five shutout frames to lock down the 9-1 victory.
Saunders downplayed the severity of the situation after the game, but we should know more on his status in the next few days.
“It was just one of those weird fluke things where I just couldn’t get loose,” Saunders said. “Maybe I slept on it wrong or something like that. I felt great my last outing, felt great in my bullpen session on Wednesday, so I think this is just kind of a fluke thing. Strength-wise [the training staff] said I was off the charts, so I’m not worried about anything structurally.”
Saunders, 31, has a 3.44 ERA and 53/21 K/BB ratio in 81 innings over his first 13 starts this season. He’s been the subject of trade rumors recently, as the Diamondbacks consider ways to make room for Bauer in the starting rotation. The 2011 first-round pick has a 2.79 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 42 innings since being promoted to Triple-A Reno last month.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.