Editor’s note: From now until the MLB trade deadline on July 31, we’ll be giving you the juiciest rumors and recapping the done deals. Come back often, because the chatter changes all the time.
July 31: Now that it’s done, here are the five biggest deals
The 4 p.m. ET MLB Trade Deadline has come and gone and it almost felt like a dud — that is, until the Houston Astros swooped in and acquired Zack Greinke at the last minute in a massive deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lots of other big names and big teams didn’t make any notable moves. Madison Bumgarner, Mike Minor, Robbie Ray and Zack Wheeler stayed put. The Yankees, Red Sox and Dodgers didn’t do much.
This post will serve as a complete run down of trade deadline day, but we’ll start with the five deals you need to know about most:
GREINKE GOES TO ASTROS
Zack Greinke was the biggest deal of the day, as the D-backs dealt him to the Astros for a package of four prospects, including their No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 prospects. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
The Astros also grabbed relief pitchers Aaron Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Blue Jays. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
BRAVES LOAD UP THEIR BULLPEN
All-Star closer Shane Greene, pursued by a number of teams, was dealt from the Tigers to the Braves. The Braves also swung a deal for Mark Melancon of the Giants after that. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
RAYS ADD JESUS AGUILAR’S BIG BAT
The Brewers traded first base slugger Jesus Aguilar to the Rays for reliever Jake Faria. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
CUBS TRADE FOR NICK CASTELLANOS
The Cubs added some depth to their outfield with Nick Castellanos, who came over from the Tigers. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
NATIONALS RE-LOAD THE BULLPEN
The Nationals got some bullpen help, acquiring veteran right-hander Daniel Hudson from the Blue Jays, then Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland from the Seattle Mariners in separate deals. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
Other Done Deals
• Corey Dickerson was sent to the Phillies from the Pirates for a player to be named later and international bonus money. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
• The Giants sent starter Drew Pomeranz and reliever Ray Black to the Milwaukee Brewers for 25-year-old infield prospect Mauricio Dubon. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
• Tanner Roark is headed from the Reds to the A’s, a day after the Reds acquired Trevor Bauer. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
• The Astros traded for catcher Martín Maldonado from the Cubs in exchange for utilityman Tony Kemp. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
• The Indians, Padres and Reds made official their seven-player blockbuster that’s sending Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati, Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes to Cleveland and top prospect Taylor Trammell to San Diego. [Read more on Yahoo Sports]
Cubs send Carl Edwards Jr. to Padres
There were last-minute deals galore at the trade deadline. Another saw the Chicago Cubs trade struggling reliever Carl Edwards Jr. to the San Diego Padres.
Cubs also traded Carl Edwards Jr. to the Padres, per source— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) July 31, 2019
Edwards, 27, has a 5.80 ERA in 15 1/3 innings this season. That's quite a departure from the impressive 3.06 ERA he'd posted over the first 159 innings of his career. The Padres likely view Edwards as a bounce back candidate who can help beyond the 2019 season. While the Cubs probably felt he needed a fresh start.
The D-backs replace Greinke with Leake
The Arizona Diamondbacks found a replacement for Zack Greinke quickly. The team acquired Mike Leake from the Seattle Mariners just moments before announcing they had traded Greinke to the Houston Astros.
#DBacks acquire Mike Leake, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2019
Leake, 31, has a 4.40 ERA in 137 innings. He’s under contract through the 2020 season, and is set to make $15 million next year. As part of his deal with the Mariners, Leake had full no-trade protection. He agreed to waive that clause to join Arizona.
The Giants add a bat in Scooter Gennett
An 18-6 July pushed the San Francisco Giants into buyer status at the trade deadline. In order to stay in the hunt, the team picked up infielder Scooter Gennett in a deal with the Cincinnati Reds, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Scooter Gennett to #SFGiants, source tells The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 31, 2019
The 29-year-old Gennett has battled injuries this season, and is hitting just .212/.232/.258 over 69 plate appearances. He’s set to be a free agent at the end of the season.While Gennett has struggled this season, he’s been a productive hitter in the past. In 2018, Gennett hit .310/.357/.490, with 23 home runs.
The Giants aren’t giving up much to see if Gennett can return to form. The team only parted with cash consideration in the deal.
Rays get Trevor Richards, Nick Anderson from Marlins
The Tampa Bay Rays didn't have to search far for pitching help. They completed a deadline-day deal with the Miami Marlins that netted starter Trevor Richards and reliever Nick Anderson. The Marlins will receive right-hander Ryne Stanek and outfielder Jesus Sanchez.
Marlins acquire Jesus Sanchez and Stanek from Tampa Bay for Nick Anderson and Trevor Richards.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) July 31, 2019
Richards gives Tampa Bay another true starting option. He's posted a career 4.46 over 45 starts and three relief appearances. Anderson has stuff that will fit in the late innings for any bullpen. He has a 3.92 ERA and 14.22 K/9 over 43 2/3 innings this season.
Dodger add Adam Kolarek
It's not the big move everyone expected, but the Dodgers did added one arm to the bullpen on Wednesday. Left-hander Adam Kolarek is coming over from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for outfielder Niko Hulsizer.
Reliever Adam Kolarek is headed to the Dodgers, source tells ESPN.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
Kolarek, 30, has a 3.95 ERA through 43 1/3 innings this season. He'll give manager Dave Roberts a lefty-on-lefty option to consider when the Dodgers need a big out. Kolarek has held lefties to a .187/.238/.293 batting line this year.
Twins get reliever Sam Dyson
The Minnesota Twins needed some pitching help, and they got it in the form of Giants relief pitcher Sam Dyson, according to Dan Hayes of The Athletic.
The Twins could have used more help than Dyson, especially the rival Indians making big moves, but it’s better than no bullpen reinforcements.
Back-up catchers on the move
Three back-up catchers are on the move, as the Rays have traded for Rocky Gale of the Dodgers and the Braves have acquired John Ryan Murphy from the D-backs, according to Robert Murray of The Athletic. The third was Max Stassi, who was traded from the Astros to the Angels, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.
Angels are on the verge of a small deadline deal with the Astros for C Max Stassi, per source. @Joelsherman1 on it first.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2019
Dodgers add Jedd Gyorko from Cardinals
The Dodgers haven’t done anything splashy yet at the trade deadline, but they did swing a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals utilityman Jedd Gyorko, according to Ken Rosenthal.
Gyorko can play first, second and third base, plus hit for power when he’s healthy. He only played 38 games for the Cardinals this year and is currently on the injured list.
Remains to be seen whether L.A. will get the bullpen arm it sorely needs.
D-backs and Marlins trade young talent
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins pulled off a surprising trade Wednesday, as neither team is competing for the postseason — and in fact, it looks like a long play.
The Marlins traded promising young pitcher Zac Gallen to the D-backs for shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm, who is Arizona’s No. 1 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
Right-hander Zac Gallen is headed to the Arizona Diamondbacks from the Miami Marlins for shortstop prospect Jazz Chisholm, source tells ESPN. Gallen has been very good, with a 2.72 ERA in seven major league starts.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
The D-backs are still active in Robbie Ray trade talks, so there’s a chance this could be a precursor to something else.
The Nationals add three bullpen arms
The Washington Nationals, who have made themselves contenders in the NL again, came into Wednesday with a clear need for relief pitching. So they’ve added three relief pitchers — Daniel Hudson from the Toronto Blue Jays, plus Roenis Elias and Hunter Strickland from the Seattle Mariners in separate deals, according to various reports.
Roenis Elias is indeed headed to the Nationals, sources confirm to ESPN. That's two moves already for Mike Rizzo to improve a bullpen that needed it.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2019
The Nationals have acquired Hunter Strickland from the Mariners for Aaron Fletcher, per sources. Deal is pending physicals.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2019
The Nationals were said to be interested in Shane Greene from the Tigers, but Detroit wanted Nats top prospect Carter Kiebroom, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, which was a non-starter for the Nats.
Zack Wheeler looking like the Astros’ best bet
The Astros need to add a starter before the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline and it’s looking more and more like Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler will be their man. Here’s the latest from Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
Source: #Astros are most comfortable with Zack Wheeler’s acquisition cost, among the possible rotation trade options. Houston’s farm system has thinned, constraining the team’s ability to land Bumgarner or Ray without giving up Kyle Tucker. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2019
Matthew Boyd not close to moving from Tigers
Another intriguing starting pitcher is Matthew Boyd, who is having a breakout season for the Detroit Tigers. He’s under contract until 2023, so would have a higher price than some others. But that’s also going to make it tougher to swing a deal, and it doesn’t sound like anything is close, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
Matthew Boyd isn’t close to being dealt anywhere, sources say. I’ll be curious to see if #Padres engage with #Tigers in next 3 hours, especially with Noah Syndergaard staying in New York, per @Joelsherman1. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 31, 2019
Ken Giles still getting inquiries
The Ken Giles trade chatter all but died earlier this week when he started to have elbow issues. According to Ken Rosenthal of the The Athletic, isn’t not all dead, as the Blue Jays are getting some last-minute calls on Giles.
The latest on the Giants ...
We still don’t know whether they’re selling, buying or standing pat. The Madison Bumgarmer chatter hasn’t been as intense as we would have predicted two months ago, with most signs leaning toward MadBum staying in S.F.
However, Jon Morosi of MLB.com says the Giants are listening to offers on their pitchers, a group that also includes relievers like Will Smith and Sam Dyson, who could draw interest.
On the Bumgarner front, it sounds like the Giants are listening to offers, but according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, they may even be involving Bumgarner in the conversations.
Robbie Ray drawing interest from Yankees, Astros
The starting pitching market may, in fact, come down to a race to get Robbie Ray from the Arizona Diamondbacks. According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Yankees and Astros are both engaged:
Ray is carrying a 3.91 ERA this season, but has established himself as a strikeout machine the past few seasons, averaging more than 12 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s also under contract for 2020, making him more attractive than just a rental arm.
The most sure thing today? Shane Greene
On a trade-deadline day where we might have already seen the biggest deal of the day, one for-sure deal today will be the Detroit Tigers trading closer Shane Greene, according to Sherman.
Surest player to be traded today? Name that comes up most often is #Tigers closer Shane Greene. “They are trading him,” 1 rival exec said.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 31, 2019
As we covered below, the market for top-notch closers is very rich these days, so Greene — an All-Star this year with 22 saves — might be be a more affordable option. Teams such as the Braves, Red Sox, Nationals and Dodgers are chasing relief pitching.
Rangers get Nate Jones and international slot money from White Sox
In another deal between non-contenders, the Texas Rangers acquired pitcher Nate Jones — who is out the rest of the season with injury — along with some international slot money.
We have acquired RHP Nate Jones, international slot compensation, and cash considerations from the White Sox.— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) July 31, 2019
Jones has been placed on the 60-day DL and will be out for the rest of the season with a right forearm injury. pic.twitter.com/ah5EkLgwvk
The White Sox are getting minor league pitchers Joe Jarneski and Ray Castro. The real reason this trade was made, however, was for the Rangers to get an additional $1M in international money, per Jeff Passan.
July 30: Prices are high on closers
Edwin Diaz of the Mets and Felipe Vasquez of Pirates, two closers who can definitely help contenders, won’t come cheap, tweets Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Same goes for Kirby Yates of the Padres and Raisel Iglesias of the Reds.
Teams like the Dodgers and Red Sox need back-end bullpen help, with Vasquez being a particularly good fit for the Dodgers — if his price weren’t so high.
Per source, the asking prices for closers Edwin Diaz, Felipe Vazquez, Raisel Iglesias and Kirby Yates remain very high. Shane Greene's price is "far more reasonable," the source said. Sam Dyson/Tony Watson might be on the reasonable side, too, should the Giants decide to sell.— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 31, 2019
Teams will trade for relievers, that’s always part of this time of year. They just might not trade for the top arms out there.
Bumgarner, Bauer, Syndergaard and the starter market
We knew from the start of all this that starting pitching would the big prize during MLB trade deadline week. Plenty of teams need it and there are some intriguing names out there — like Madison Bumgarner, Trevor Bauer and Robbie Ray.
With Marcus Stroman off the market and less than 24 hours left before the deadline, the pressure is on teams like the Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Twins and Phillies to fortify their rotations for the stretch run.
So what do we know so far? Nothing conclusive, but ESPN Jeff Passan says signs are pointing to the market being in the beginning stages of opening up.
The trade market is finally beginning to unclog. Trevor Bauer is very much in play, and the Cleveland Indians, rival executives tell ESPN, seem motivated to move him soon. Madison Bumgarner remains available, according to sources. And interest in Robbie Ray has picked up as well.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 30, 2019
Our own Tim Brown reported the Giants were talking to the Astros about Madison Bumgarner, which seems to go against the notion that they might keep MadBum. Of course, we don’t know if that’s just a short conversation or deep talks.
Source says Giants and Astros "engaged" on Bumgarner. Amount of traction unclear.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) July 30, 2019
The Astros are also in on D-backs strikeout machine Robbie Ray, according to Brown, who thinks the Astros will do *something* before 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Wide net for Astros also includes Ray, among all the others you've heard. The stunner would be if 'Stros don't end up with one of the top-end available SPs.— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) July 30, 2019
Andy Martino of SNY has the Astros also interested in Trevor Bauer. The Reds are another team interested, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The Bauer talk has been back-and-forth — the Indians might trade him, they might not — but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported Tuesday afternoon that things are starting to toward trading Bauer.
Have spoken to multiple execs who say the believe it is now much more likely than not that #Indians trade Bauer— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 30, 2019
A name that has more traction Tuesday is Mets starter Noah Syndergaard, who has most closely been connected to the Padres over the past month or so. But it sounds like the two sides are pretty far apart, according to Martino.
Padres made what they consider to be a strong offer for Syndergaard involving major league players, but still can’t find common ground. Teams have been talking NS for like 8 months and they’re not there yet.— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) July 30, 2019
Rosenthal also reports that the Mets aren’t looking to rebuild, rather flip Syndergaard for major-league ready players who can help them in their quest for 2020.
More evidence #Mets do not intend to take step back: Sources say team is asking for major-league or major-league ready pieces for Syndergaard, even from clubs with top farm systems.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2019
A pitcher who hasn’t been talked about as much as Bumgarner and Syndergaard is Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd. Detroit is the worst team in the league, but isn’t just giving away Boyd, who has had a breakout season and is under team control 2023.
Braves get reliever Chris Martin from Rangers
The Atlanta Braves added another late-inning option to their bullpen on Tuesday, acquiring reliever Chris Martin from the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers make it official. Chris Martin to Atlanta for LHP Kolby Allard. Allard goes to Triple-A Nashville.— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 31, 2019
Martin, 33, has pitched in a variety of late-inning roles for the Rangers this season. He's earned four saves while posting a solid 3.03 ERA over 38 innings. On the season, Martin has struck out 43 batters and walked only four.
The Rangers will receive left-hander pitching Kolby Allard in the deal.
Justin Smoak getting interest
With pitching dominating the conversation, don’t be surprised if the Toronto Blue Jays move first baseman/DH Justin Smoak. According to Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Indians and Rays could be among the fits. Jon Heyman also mentions the Phillies as an interested team.
Sounds like interest in Justin Smoak is picking up— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) July 30, 2019
Multiple contenders checking on him per sources. @JonHeyman mentioned CLE. Told Rays also intrigued
#BlueJays like Smoak, consistent defender w OPS+ above 110 for three straight years, but listening on pending free agents
Smoak is hitting just .215 this season but has 18 homers and a respectable .357 on-base percentage.
Cubs get David Phelps from Blue Jays
The Blue Jays did swing another deal Tuesday, sending relief pitcher David Phelps to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor-league pitcher Thomas Hatch.
The #Cubs today acquired RHP David Phelps and a cash consideration from the Toronto Blue Jays for minor league RHP Thomas Hatch.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 30, 2019
To make room for Phelps on the 40-man roster, LHP Xavier Cedeño has been transferred to the 60-day IL. pic.twitter.com/7tsw2vYqED
Phelps, 32, is a veteran right-hander who has a 3.63 ERA across 17 appearances this season. He missed all of 2018 with injury.
Red Sox unlikely to land Edwin Diaz, other top relief arms
The Boston Red Sox are on the hunt for a reliever to upgrade their struggling bullpen, but according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, they’re no longer focusing on top tier relievers like Edwin Diaz of the New York Mets.
Source: Red Sox unlikely to land Edwin Diaz, Shane Greene or Raisel Iglesias. Team focused on lesser bullpen names. @alexspeier first reported Diaz unlikely for Sox— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) July 30, 2019
The Red Sox are reportedly going to focus on “lesser bullpen names” instead of chasing Diaz, Shane Greene of the Detroit Tigers, or Raisel Iglesias of the Cincinnati Reds. There are a lot of “lesser bullpen names” out there, but they’re considered “lesser” for a reason: they’re not that good. The Red Sox bullpen is sporting a 4.54 ERA right now, which is 12th worst in baseball. Boston clearly needs help to get ahold of a wild-card spot, but it doesn’t look like they want to give up much to get it.
July 29: Ken Giles, Felipe Vasquez and the complicated relief market
Ken Giles once seemed like sure-thing trade bait for the Toronto Blue Jays, as he’s managed to rejuvenate his career north of the border this season. But then, his elbow got in the way.
Giles, 28, has saved 14 games this season for the Jays. He didn’t get the call Monday, and the Blue Jays are saying elbow inflammation is to blame.
Ken Giles still dealing with elbow inflammation according to #BlueJays manager Charlie Montoyo.— Gregor Chisholm (@GregorChisholm) July 30, 2019
Don’t expect GMs to bring on a guy with elbow issues, as MLB insiders were quick to point out.
Teams started ruling out #Jays closer Ken Giles on Sunday when he didn’t pitch because of elbow soreness, and now that he sat out again Monday, his trade value is gone until this winter.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 30, 2019
Giles might have been a lower-cost option for a team — like the Dodgers, let’s say — that need bullpen help. Now, that means the relief market is without one less option.
L.A. is interested in Pirates closer Felipe Vasquez, but the Pirates reportedly want a lot for him. That would be top prospect Gavin Lux, who is tearing up the minors.
But, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Dodgers aren’t into that.
The Pirates-Dodgers talks about Felipe Vazquez currently bogged down in part because Pirates want No.1 prospect Gavin Lux and the Dodgers want to keep him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 29, 2019
This could be a storyline that gets interesting in the next 36 hours, as teams try to round out their bullpens.
The Braves may be seeking outfield help
After losing Nick Markakis to a broken wrist, the NL East-leading Braves could be looking to trade for an outfielder, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
The Atlanta #Braves have been calling numerous teams in recent days in search of an outfielder after Nick Markakis suffered a broken left wrist that will sideline him at least until mid-September, and perhaps for the rest of the season.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) July 29, 2019
The Braves could fill Markakis’ spot internally (they have Adam Duvall and Ender Inciarte) but there’s nothing wrong with seeing what’s out there. They’ll also be looking into pitching options before Wednesday’s deadline.
Domingo Santana could help a contender
Speaking of outfielders: Mariners slugger Domingo Santana has caught some eyes, according to Jon Heyman, as there aren’t a ton of outfield bats on the market.
Domingo Santana has drawn some interest, including from the Indians and Rays— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 28, 2019
Santana, 26, has hit 20 homers already this season for Seattle, who are unloading anybody outside of their core players who have value.
Brewers get rotation help, acquire Jordan Lyles from Pirates
The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly welcomed old friend Jordan Lyles back to their team and rotation. The 28-year-old Lyles has struggled this season, posting a 5.36 ERA over 82 1/3 innings.
Milwaukee has plenty of familiarity with Lyles. The team acquired him last season. Down the stretch, Lyles posted a 3.31 ERA in 11 games with the Brewers. Lyles was used as a reliever with the Brewers last season. He could start for the Brewers this time around.
July 27: Could Mets’ Stroman trade hurt Syndergaard market?
The Mets made the first big trade of the season on Sunday by landing right-hander Marcus Stroman for pitching prospects Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson. However, that may hinder their ability to make other trades with fellow starters Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler on the block.
As #Mets and #Padres continue discussing Noah Syndergaard, source says it’s clear San Diego will not include MacKenzie Gore in the trade — especially after the Stroman deal did not include a top 100 prospect per @MLBPipeline. @MLBNetwork @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 29, 2019
The Mets weren’t expected to be in the market for a pitcher, but they thought the value for Stroman was too good to pass up. That seems fine in a vacuum, but they might have torpedoed the trade market for pitchers.
Why would the Padres give up a top-10 overall prospect for Syndergaard when the Mets only had to give up a borderline top-100 prospect for Stroman — a lesser but still comparable arm.
Time will tell if the Mets can find a taker for any of their available pitchers or if they’ll continue to push all in on a long-shot playoff run.
July 27: Mets eyeing Marcus Stroman trade?
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen surprised us over the winter by acquiring Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz. Could he be preparing to pull off another shocking deal?
That's a possibility that was suggested The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.
According to Rosenthal, there's a scenario on the table that could see the Mets trade Noah Syndergaard and end up with Marcus Stroman.
One of many scenarios #Mets are exploring, per sources: Syndergaard to #Padres, then using some of return to land Stroman from #BlueJays. Not known which players would go from SD to NYM if deal occurred. RHP Cal Quantrill, a Canadian native, would be logical target for TOR.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 27, 2019
That would be wild.
It also feels like a long shot. But again, Van Wagenen seems like he's always looking for a splashy move that will prevent the Mets from going into a full rebuild. A deal for Stroman would fit that mold, but would also require a contract extension.
July 25: Madison Bumgarner likely staying with Giants
The San Francisco Giants recent hot stretch has reportedly led to a change in plans.
MLB.com's Mark Feinsand says the team is now unlikely to trade ace Madison Bumgarner after moving to within 3 1/2 games of the NL Wild Card thanks to their 16-4 record in July.
According to a source with knowledge of the team’s plans, the Giants are poised to become buyers if they’re still in the thick of the National League Wild Card race come Monday, and it’s all but certain ace lefty Madison Bumgarner will not be traded, regardless of how the weekend goes.
Four weeks ago, the Giants were 35-47 and all but certain to be among the most active sellers at the trade deadline. While they haven’t fully committed to buying or selling, it sounds certain that Bumgarner will play out the final year of his contract in San Francisco. If that holds true, it will greatly alter the trade deadline landscape.
Mets intent on trading Noah Syndergaard
As one ace comes off the trade block, another former ace’s position there appears to be solidified.
We’re speaking of Noah Syndergaard, who ESPN’s Buster Olney says the New York Mets are now intent on dealing before Wednesday’s deadline.
Rival evaluators say they believe the Mets are fully intent on dealing Noah Syndergaard before the trade deadline. "It's beyond listening," said one. "They want to move him."— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 25, 2019
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal also says the Mets are now leaning toward moving Noah Syndergaard in a trade. He adds that Zack Wheeler, whom the Mets previously seemed intent on dealing, could be in line for extension.
An option #Mets are exploring, per sources: Trading Syndergaard and signing Wheeler to an extension. NYM would benefit from return for Syndergaard while keeping Wheeler, a quality starting pitcher who otherwise would depart in free agency. @TheAthleticMLB— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 25, 2019
If the Mets do trade Syndergaard, Marc Carig of The Athletic says it will require a “Top 30 prospect” and two other solid pieces.
On Wednesday, Yahoo Sports’ Matt Ehalt wrote that the San Diego Padres are interested in Syndergaard and would represent a good fit. However, a Mets-Padres deal might make more sense in the offseason.
Blue Jays change course on Marcus Stroman?
It's trade season, which means one thing: Beware of posturing general managers.
That might be the situation in Toronto, as the latest from SNY's Andy Martino suggests the Blue Jays might be looking to extend Marcus Stroman instead of trading him.
Source: Blue Jays have told interested teams that they might not trade Stroman, but extend him. Unclear if this is a res possibility or a negotiating tactic— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) July 25, 2019
It feels like a leverage play from Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins, but it should also be a reminder that nothing is certain in terms of who will and won't be traded.
With Madison Bumgarner reportedly off the market though, interest in Stroman is likely to increase in the coming days. That leaves the Blue Jays in a strong position.
Royals not planning to trade Whit Merrifield
The focus heading to the trade deadline has primarily been on pitching. There are some potential game-changing hitters believed to be available as well. Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals had been atop that list for weeks, but we can cross him off now.
Despite being in the middle of a rebuild, the Royals have no plans to trade their versatile leadoff man, MLB.com's Jon Morosi reports.
Despite interest from multiple contenders — including the Cubs, Braves and Phillies — the Royals are informing clubs that they will keep Merrifield beyond next week’s Trade Deadline, one source told MLB.com Thursday.
Merrifield, 30, leads MLB with 132 hits and has a strong .306/.357/.495 battling line. He's also started at five different positions in the field. Merrifield is under team control through 2023, which seems to be the primary reason Kansas City is holding on.
Yankees zeroed in starting pitching
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been known to pull off surprises around the MLB trade deadline. This year, the approach seems to be pretty straight forward. It's all about acquiring a starting pitcher, or two, to help bolster the Yankees rotation.
The Yankees need for starting pitching was clear during their just concluded home run-fueled series against the Minnesota Twins. Starters CC Sabathia, Domingo Germán and JA Happ were all hit hard. With James Paxton also coming off a rough start and the return of ace Luis Severino still far beyond the horizon, Cashman knows they’ll need reinforcements.
"The target would be to continue to reinforce the rotation, because obviously that's where the majority of your innings are going to have to come from," Cashman said recently. "We've got a long way to go and those innings are vitally important, so we're going to target starting pitching. And then if not, we'll continue to reinforce the bullpen."
Big names like Marcus Stroman, Madison Bumgarner and Trevor Bauer might be too pricey for New York. But they’ve had scouts watching Matthew Boyd of the Detroit Tigers, Robbie Ray of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Mike Minor of the Texas Rangers.
The starting pitching market will explode sooner than later, and the Yankees seem poised to ignite it.
July 24: Marcus Stroman expected to be on the move
With lots of buzz but not a lot happening, it’s fair to wonder whether this year’s MLB trade deadline would be another dud like the last few free agencies. But lots of teams need starting pitching for the stretch run and, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, one name that many execs are expecting to move is Toronto Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman.
“[Multiple executives said they've been led to believe the Blue Jays will deal Stroman before July 31. He is in the midst of perhaps his best season, posting a 3.06 ERA over 20 starts and posting a 57.1% ground ball rate, the second highest in the major leagues. And even more alluring, the 28-year-old is not a free agent until after the 2020 season.”
Among the teams that would be a good fit for Stroman are the New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros.
Sell, Tigers, sell
The Detroit Tigers are expected to be one of the biggest sellers at the trade deadline with closer Shane Green, outfielder Nick Castellanos and potentially starter Matthew Boyd being mentioned in rumors.
But how likely are they to move?
According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Tigers are “virtually certain” to trade Castellanos. Green is a “probably.” Boyd has a high price tag since he’s having a breakout season and not a rental, but there’s still a possibility someone pays it.
July 22: The Phillies are eyeing three starters
Might the Philadelphia Phillies still be able to make good on Bryce Harper’s maiden voyage? That may depend on what they do at the trade deadline.
They’re one of the many teams that could use some starting pitching, and according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, they have their eye on two Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers: strikeout machine Robbie Ray and high-paid veteran Zack Greinke.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal also wrote Monday about Greinke’s appeal. While he’s expensive, he’s also quite productive — he has a 2.93 ERA this season and his walks and homers allowed are both down from the past two season. Rosenthal writes:
Fans and executives recoil at the money owed Greinke — about $11.5 million more this season, plus $35 million in each of the final two years of his deal, including $3 million installments of his signing bonus. But Greinke, 35, actually is outperforming his salary this season, just as he did in 2017, the second year of his six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks.
According to FanGraphs’ “dollars” metric — WAR converted to a dollar scale, based upon what a player would earn in free agency — Greinke was worth $18.2 million in 2016, $37.9 million in ’17 and $23.4 million in ’18. At his current pace, he would be worth $43.2 million this season, which to this point is the best of his four in Arizona.
That’s not all the Phillies have an eye on, however. NBC Sports Philly’s Jim Salisbury says the squad is also watching Detroit Tigers starter Matthew Boyd and closer Shane Greene.
Hunter Pence draws attention of the Rays
The rejuvenated career of Hunter Pence has caught the eye of the Tampa Bay Rays, who are looking for a veteran bat, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
Pence, 36, is one of the best stories in baseball this season, as he turned a minor-league contract into an All-Star appearance with the Texas Rangers. He’s hitting .290 with a .349 on-base percentage as Texas’ DH.
Could Charlie Blackmon be on the move?
The odds aren’t good, but Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is getting mentioned in trade talks, according to Morosi.
Blackmon, 33, is coming off a third straight All-Star game and is having a very productive season — he has a .967 OPS with 21 homers. Still, he has a 15-team no-trade clause and is a cornerstone of the franchise, so any move involving Blackmon would have to come with a big return.
July 19: Yankees scouting Marcus Stroman
According to Jon Morosi of MLB.com, several contending teams have sent scouts to watch what could be the final start for Marcus Stroman in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform.
Morosi specifically notes the New York Yankees will have a strong scouting presence when the 2019 All-Star takes the hill Friday night against the Detroit Tigers.
The group is reported to include Jim Hendry, who's a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman.
Stroman, 28, has posted an impressive 3.25 ERA this season despite regularly facing strong lineups in the AL East. That would seemingly make him a good fit for New York.
He’s also reportedly drawing interest from the Minnesota Twins. According to Anderson Pickard of MLB Daily Dish, the Twins will also have scouts on hand to watch Stroman pitch.
Morosi adds that the Philadelphia Phillies are another team eyeing Stroman. The Phillies have slipped a bit lately (17-23 in June and July), but remain firmly in the mix. They enter the weekend a half-game behind the second spot in the NL’s jam-packed wild card race. Adding a pitcher of Stroman's caliber could help separate them from that pack.
July 17: Rangers could trade All-Star Mike Minor
The Texas Rangers were one of the biggest surprises in the first half of the season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be trade-deadline sellers.
With their postseason fortunes starting to go downhill (they’re 50-45 and 4.5 games out of the wild-card race), there are reports that the Rangers could be in selling mode quickly, including All-Star pitcher Mike Minor.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com says the Brewers and Phillies could be destinations for Minor, whose 2.73 ERA and two complete games already this season could be appealing to a number of contenders.
Sources: Mike Minor is increasingly likely to be traded in the next two weeks, as I reported a short time ago on @MLBNetwork. The #Brewers and #Phillies are among the interested teams, although there’s no indication that a deal is close. @MLB— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 17, 2019
Starting pitching figures to be the biggest need on this year’s market, with teams like the Yankees and the Braves needed pitching help in addition to the Brewers and Phillies. Minor, 31, might be not be as big of a name as Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman or Noah Syndergaard, but he could still very much help a contender.
Deals that are already done
• The Mets sent Jason Vargas to the Phillies, not exactly the Mets pitching trade everybody was anticipating. It was, however, interesting that the Mets traded Vargas to a team in their division that they are still seemingly competing against. In return for Vargas, the Mets got Double-A catcher Austin Bossart.
• The Minnesota Twins added an experienced late-inning reliever to the mix, acquiring closer Sergio Romo in a trade with Miami Marlins. ESPN's Jeff Passan was the to report the deal was close. Romo, 36, has posted a 3.58 ERA over 37 2/3 innings. He's notched 17 saves, raising his career total to 126. He has postseason experience as a three-time World Series champion with the San Francisco Giants.
• The Oakland Athletics already loaded bullpen got even deeper after they acquired veteran left-hander Jake Diekman from the Kansas City Royals. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the trade on July 27. Diekman, 32, has appeared in 48 games this season, posting a 4.75 ERA. He’s been equally effective against right-handers (.211 batting average against) and left-handers (.213) and should slide right into a middle relief role for Bob Melvin.
• The Chicago Cubs added a lefty to their bullpen with the acquisition of Derek Holland from the San Francisco Giants. Holland, 32, was a starter as recently as mid-May, but the Giants demoted him to the bullpen after six pretty rough starts. After 32 innings in the bullpen only lowered his ERA to 5.90, the Giants designated him for assignment on July 21. Holland was traded with cash to the Cubs, and in exchange the Giants received... more cash.
• The Los Angeles Dodgers added more depth to their position player ranks, acquiring Tyler White from the Houston Astros. The deal was first reported by The Athletic's Jake Kaplan. White, 28, got off to a sluggish start this season, hitting 225/.320/.330 with three home runs in 253 plate appearances. He was designated for assignment by the Astros on July 20.
• The Philadelphia Phillies added bullpen depth, acquiring right-hander Mike Morin from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash considerations. Morin, 28, had been designated for assignment by the Twins, but that more due to Minnesota's depth. Morin posted a 3.18 ERA in 23 relief appearances and should immediately slide into a middle relief role for Philadelphia.
• The New York Yankees added an intriguing bench piece by acquiring Terrance Gore from the Kansas City Royals. The veteran outfielder is a one-dimensional player, but that one dimension has game-changing potential. Over parts of six MLB seasons, Gore has stolen 40 bases in 49 attempts. His speed creates an advantage that can loom large in tightly contested playoff games.
• The Chicago Cubs added veteran catcher Martin Maldonado in a trade with the Kansas City Royals that aims to limit the damage while All-Star catcher Willson Contreras is injured. In return, the Cubs gave up Mike Montgomery, who will become a starter for the Royals immediately.
• The A’s tried to pull off one of their buy-low steals by getting Homer Bailey from the Royals. Bailey, 33, was 7-6 with a 4.80 ERA with the Royals this season after getting traded from the Reds to the Dodgers in the offseason, then released by L.A. We’ve seen the wild card-contending A’s flourish with these types of deals in the past.
• The Boston Red Sox kicked off trade season by getting Baltimore Orioles starter Andrew Cashner to add depth to their rotation. Cashner, was coming off a brutal 2018, but was actually pretty good for the Orioles this season with a 3.38 ERA and 9-3 record. The Red Sox plan to move Nate Eovaldi to their bullpen when he returns from injury, making the need greater for another starter. In his first start for Boston, Cashner gave up five earned runs in five innings.
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