Jon Heyman shares his news and notes from around Major League Baseball:
The Royals, a realistic group, will sell. Andrew Benintendi may be their top piece and Carlos Santana may draw interest. The Royals are talking “more seriously” about the versatile Whit Merrifield in trade discussions than ever before, one rival exec said. He’s a free agent after next year.
The Orioles have a terrific pen, and should do well if they trade star closer Jorge Lopez and others. Trey Mancini will also likely go. The price tag will be higher on non free agents Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and much higher on Cedric Mullins.
The Rangers could try to sign late-blooming starter Martin Perez to a multiyear deal before considering any trade for him. Back with Texas, he’s pitching like a star, though years after predicted.
The Padres’ offense has surged lately with Jurickson Profar, Jake Cronenworth and Luke Voit heating up, but they will likely seek a hitter – most likely an outfielder. They’ve tried for Joey Gallo in the past, but no team is likely to offer much at the moment.
“Untradeable,” one exec calls Gallo.
One longtime baseball person speaks for many when he says he can’t see AL MVP front-runner Aaron Judge leaving the Yankees. “It’s too perfect a scenario. He ain’t going anywhere. ” That person guessed the Cubs, who are expected to finally spend, would be the biggest threat to sign him.
Shouldn’t the Astros extend Dusty Baker now? His contract goes only through this year.
One rival GM said he could see the Marlins shopping Pablo Lopez, as they are very deep with young pitchers, have shown a willingness to do so in the past and would be selling high (2.85 ERA). They have a stockpile of young arms, but Eury Perez and Max Meyer are the two rivals believe they won’t consider trading, plus off course Sandy Alcantara.
The D-Backs want to keep pitcher Zac Gallen and second baseman Ketel Marte, and Merrill Kelly won’t be easy to get. Meantime, Zach Davies, Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy are expected to go. Madison Bumgarner has pitched decently, but the D-Backs would have to offset his contract to deal him.
Rarely mentioned but deserving of mention among the best trades was ex-Marlins GM Michael Hill getting Alcantara and Gallen (later traded for Jazz Chisholm) for Marcell Ozuna.
The Tigers’ best piece is lefty reliever Gregory Soto, an All-Star last year, but one rival GM said that while he anticipates they will ask for a haul, they shouldn’t expect one; although he’s talented, that exec said he’s been somewhat “erratic.” Robbie Grossman and Michael Fulmer are Tigers likely to be moved.
One Tigers person, on the $ 275 million, 10-year offer to Carlos Correa, said, “He should have taken it.” That may be so (but Correa has multiple opt-outs that give him a chance to get there following his $ 105.3 million Twins deal), but what isn’t arguable is that Correa would look a lot better than the alternative way the Tigers spent the money. Javier Baez for $ 140 million hasn’t been himself. And Eduardo Rodriguez, who signed for $ 77 million, is on the restricted list after requesting time to deal with a marital issue. There’s no timetable for his return. But at some point, the Tigers may press on that issue.
If this is it for Lorenzo Cain, congrats on a terrific career. He is a pro and a gentleman.
Award leaders, as heard on The Post podcast “The Show:” AL MVP; Aaron Judge, Jose Ramirez; NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt, Manny Machado; AL Cy: Shane McClanahan, Alek Manoah; NL Cy: Sandy Alcantara, Joe Musgrove.
Player of the Week: Shohei Ohtani, Angels SP / DH. Runner-up: Anthony Rizzo, Yankees 1B.