TORONTO - Manny Machado has been traded and Orioles closer Zach Britton could be next, with multiple teams seeking relief help at a time when Britton is gaining velocity and has put together seven straight scoreless appearances.
I asked Britton if he or his agent have been seeking information from the club on the state of trade talks.
“Scott Boras kind of lets them do their thing,” said Britton. “If there is anything important, they normally reach out. But we’ve had enough conversations last year, this year, to where I know what their mindset is and the direction they want to go. So I don’t think we have to have a formal conversation. Dan (Duquette) and Buck (Showalter) have always communicated well with me. If there is anything I need to know I’m sure they’ll tell me.”
Will it be tough for Britton to leave the Orioles if a deal is completed?
“I try not to think about it until it happens,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll have a lot of thoughts at that time. I just want to continue to pitch well as long as I’m here. My focus has been pitch well and stay healthy and get stronger as I get more innings.”
Britton had plenty of praise for Machado, both as the talented player he is and how he handled the trade rumors this year. It provides Britton a framework to handle his own situation.
“You know, we’ve kind of been bracing for it,” Britton said. “I had a chance to talk to Manny other day. I told him it was a pleasure to watch him grow from that young player when he first came up. I’ve known Manny since the minors. He’ll do well wherever he is. He did a great job for us. We were prepared for it and we had time to say a drawn-out goodbye to him.
“You watch the way he went about his business with all the talk and that’s kind of the way you have to go about it. You’ve got to continue to play until they tell you you are going somewhere else and that’s my mindset. If it happens, I’ll embrace it and go from there. Manny set a good example for how you go about your business with that.”
Showalter’s pregame comments/updates: Orioles manager Buck Showalter has Tim Beckham starting at short tonight and Renato Núñez at third base. Beckham, Showalter said, will be the regular at short but third base could be a more open position moving forward.
“We’ve got other people that can play over there, but I want to get a look at Renato. He’s been with some clubs, but he’s only 24 and can do some things with the bat,” Showalter said.
Showalter was asked about pitcher Chris Tillman being designated for assignment today by the Orioles. While Showalter watched Machado leave the organization, he is not saying a firm goodbye to Tillman just yet.
“He’s not gone yet. Maybe this whole thing goes through and he returns to us and is pitching at Triple-A in a few days,” Showalter said. “That has to play out first. That is what I hope happens. Chris has been a big part of some things here and could be again.”
Showalter said outfielder Craig Gentry (left rib fracture) and utility man Steve Wilkerson (left oblique strain) are progressing well, with Gentry a bit ahead of Wilkerson at this point. They are both doing baseball activities. Earlier, Showalter thought both could be back early in August, but Gentry might beat that timeline. Both players will need to get some at-bats in Florida before rejoining the team.
Showalter, of course, had his take on the Machado trade.
“I think my first (reaction) is how proud we are of him and everything he’s been a part of in our success here,” Showalter said. “We’ve had some great times with him here and I’m happy he’s going to a place he’ll really enjoy. He and his wife have been a big part of the organization. Turner Ward, their hitting coach, called me. I told him how much smarter he’ll get the next few months, maybe longer.”
Showalter was asked about Dan Duquette’s comments about the club beginning to rebuild.
“We’re excited about the direction we’ll be going now,” Showalter said. “I’ve done this a few times. If you embrace it and we’ll be consistent to the message and what we’ll try to do. (Want to) put something together here that everyone can be proud of. In our situation, we wish the industry allowed you to keep guys like Manny. But we were able to acquire a lot of good players as opposed to a comp pick and that is exciting.”
“Bad players are not coveted,” he said. “They are great pieces. I have a lot of confidence in Dan and the front office, and I’ll stay focused here to make sure that I’m delivering what the players are in need of each day.”
Other clubhouse reactions from today:
Chris Davis on Machado: “Sad to see him go. Knowing that we won’t be around every day will be tough, but you have to move on and move forward. We realized it would probably happen, but at the same time, we didn’t want to take for granted the time you have with him. We love Manny and we support him no matter whether he is an Orioles uniform or Dodgers uniform.”
Trey Mancini on Machado: “It will be a little weird, even though we knew it was likely to happen, but it doesn’t make things easier. We spend more time with each other than our families during the season. Everyone here is part of your family. I know he’ll do a great job out there in L.A. We lose one of the best players in baseball. I don’t know if anyone can fill that void but you still have to win games.”
Beckham on getting his chance at short: “I am excited about moving back. Even when I played third, you are expected to produce and play good baseball. I know I speak for everyone here and we wish Manny the best. Maybe he’ll get a ring. He’s done a lot for this organization, but it’s a business and life goes on. We have to worry about the 25 guys in here now and how we are going to play winning baseball.”
At Double-A Bowie today, the Baysox have activated outfielder Yusniel Díaz and pitchers Dean Kremer and Zach Pop who came from the Dodgers in the trade. Infielder Rylan Bannon had not arrived at Bowie as of earlier in the afternoon. Outfielder Jaycob Brugman has been sent to Triple-A Norfolk and pitcher Cameron Ming moves to Single-A Delmarva.
Toronto takes the lead: The Blue Jays took a 1-0 lead in the last of the third when shortstop Aledmys Díaz homered to left. He hit No. 9 to break the scoreless tie. Jays starter Sam Gaviglio needed only 47 pitches to blank the Orioles through the fourth.
O’s move ahead: The new left side of the infield combined to provide the Orioles a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Third baseman Núñez doubled to left and one out later shortstop Beckham homered to center. O’s 2, Jays 1 in the fifth.
But not for long: The O’s lead didn’t survive even one batter in the bottom of the fifth. Russell Martin’s leadoff homer tied it 2-2. Randall Grichuk followed with a homer for a 3-2 lead and Bundy has allowed three longballs. He would go on to allow two more runs on a Teoscar Hernández sac fly and Justin Smoak’s double. Toronto led 5-2 after five.
With the Orioles down 7-2, Chris Davis hit a two-run homer in the eighth to pull Baltimore within 7-4. It was No. 10 for Davis.
Bundy allowed five runs in five innings and has given up 16 runs (15 earned) in 12 1/3 innings over his past three starts.