Oakland’s bullpen is close to adding left-hander Eric O’Flaherty, who was a dominant setup man in Atlanta from 2009-2013.
O’Flaherty is coming back from Tommy John elbow surgery, which is why he managed only a two-year, $7 million contract from the A’s as a free agent despite posting a 1.99 ERA in 250 innings for the Braves.
He’s exactly 12 months removed from surgery, so the A’s may ease him into the bullpen mix with a middle relief role, but if healthy O’Flaherty is a late inning-caliber southpaw with the ability to shut down left-handed and right-handed hitters.
While rehabbing in the minors O’Flaherty made seven appearances at Triple-A with a 4.32 ERA and 5/3 K/BB ratio in 8.1 innings.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Orioles “are moving aggressively on Manny Machado trade talks and now believe they can trade him by the end of the week.” There are reportedly “strong offers” for Machado from both the White Sox, per Ken Rosenthal, and the Cardinals, per Nightengale. The Giants, Red Sox, Phillies, and Yankees are also reportedly involved in talks, though it does seem unlikely that the O’s would trade Machado to a division rival.
Machado, 25, is a guy around which a team could build a franchise. The Orioles, however, seem resigned to the notion that they will not be able to sign him to a long term contract once he hits free agency a year from now. If they do deal him, it would not be terribly shocking to see the O’s just go all-in with a full rebuild, putting relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton and outfielder Adam Jones on the market, given that they too can become free agents following the 2018 season.
Machado had a down 2017, hitting .259/.310/.471, but still hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs. In the two years prior he posted OPSs of .876 and .861. As such, the price for a team to acquire him will be high, even if he’s entering his walk year.