The trade deadline is near, things are heating up, and a couple of bigger names have already come off the boarda��including one of the biggest. So without further ado, leta��s break down the rumors.
Off the Board: Scott Kazmir, Johnny Cueto
The former is older news, while the latter is quite fresh. Kazmir made his way from Oakland to Houston last Thursday, already pitched for the club, and is a necessary arm if the Astros hope to push for the AL West crown. For the first time in longer than I care to remember, Houston was buying at the deadline.
In return, they sent 20-year-old catcher Jacob Nottingham and 22-year-old pitcher Daniel Mengdena��both currently residing in high Single-A. Potentially they gave up what could be considered a lot, but realistically, we wona��t know for another couple of years. While Nottingham has been ripping the cover off the ball through 89 plate appearances between high Single-A Lancaster and Stocktona��.329/.382/.573a��with six doubles and four home runs, two things spring to mind: ita��s an incredibly small sample size and you must remember the level of competition. Meanwhile, Mengden has an ERA totaling 4.94 with a walk rate of 3.0 per nine in 54.2 innings of work.
Yesterday, I wrote this about the Royals:
a�?But with the 24-year-old going through a perceived rough patch, Vargas shelved, and Kris Medlena��relegated to bullpen duties for the time beinga��back at the major league level for the first time since his second Tommy John surgery, the Royals may need to go out and get themselves another starter.”
Sunday afternoon saw the Royals acquire Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto for three left-handed pitchers: Brandon Finnegana��who has split time between the majors and minors in 2015a��John Lamb, and Cody Reed. In 31.1 major league innings, Finnegan holds a 2.58 ERA to go along with a 3.78 FIP and 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings. His walks per nine currently rest at 4.0, and hea��s been shaky throughout 14 innings pitched at Triple-A Omaha: 7.07 ERA in 14 innings. Lamb, 24, has been very good at Triple-Aa��2.67 ERA, 9.2 strikeouts per ninea��while Reed, 22, continues to do okay at Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
The Royals desperately needed another starter with the troubles Yordano Ventura is going through, not to mention Jason Vargas being out for the season due to a torn UCL. Cueto provides plenty, and in a season in which KC looks very willing to put all their eggs in one basket, this was the move to make.
Fair Game: Cole Hamels
Hamelsa�� value remains what it was before his no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs Saturday afternoon, but thata��s one helluva way to go out, if in fact that was his last game with arrahiladelphia. The Phillies have a recent history of either being stubborn or unable to offload their once valuable players with now nauseating contracts over the past couple of years. The key difference here is that Hamels, 31, is still quite valuable. That said, hea��s locked up for $23.5 million per year through 2018, with a team option for $20 million the following year.
Ita��s been reported that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Texas Rangers are leading the race, while the New York Yankees are unwilling to trade top prospects Luis Severino (pitcher), Aaron Judge (outfielder), Greg Bird (first baseman), and Jorge Mateo (shortstop). Are the Yankees finally learning that they dona��t need to have it all? They currently stand 6.5 games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East, and while the starting rotation could definitely use a better arm, therea��s no need to throw that much potential away. Not just yet, anyway.
In this scenario Texas makes the least amount of sense to me, but stranger things have happened. The Dodgers wona��t want to part with their top prospects either, but are they willing to risk not having a backup plan if Zack Greinke opts out of his contract at the end of the season?
Mets Messing Around
The New York Mets are strange. They are still very much alive in the NL East, appear to be buyers at this yeara��s deadline, but therea��s always a bit of a catch. This time it seems that while they are looking to improve, they dona��t want to trade too much. I understand the predicament, but thata��s usually how these things work. I mean, if only they had someone who wasna��t playing but still held plenty of promise for the future a��
Enter Zack Wheeler, the pitcher currently recovering from Tommy John surgery. Turns out, the Mets have discussed trading him, but this seems to be where it ends. Excluding Bartolo Colon, general manager Sandy Alderson has said that he wona��t trade any of the a�?big foura�? in their starting rotation. That includes Matt Harvey, Noah SyndergDouble-Ard, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz.
Yet with those names seemingly off the table, theya��ve discussed shortstop Troy Tulowitzkia��long-time featured trade rumora��with the Colorado Rockies. Hea��s still just 30 years old, and is doing what he typically does by slashing .305/.353/.478 in 346 plate appearances. Hea��s also owed $94 million from 2016 through 2020, and the prospects it would take to get him right now starts to become unimaginable. Whether the Rockies do want to trade him or not, ita��s clear it would never happen with the Mets due to their reluctance to give up just about anybody.
San Diego reportedly requested too much for their liking in exchange for outfielder Justin Upton, so therea��s that. Yet they press on, discussing the likes of outfielders Gerardo Parra, Jay Bruce, and Carlos Gomez. When it comes to particulars, Parra would certainly be the least expensive. If they truly want to improve, theya��re going to have to part with someone. The Mets cannot have it both ways. In obvious news: they need bats.
Wea��re Having a a��
Well, you know:
Ita��s time, Detroit Tigers. Ita��s time, Milwaukee Brewers. The Tigers are 48a��50 and 11 games out of first place in the AL Central while the Brewers are 43a��56 and 20.5 games out of first in the NL Central. Both teams have movable, valuable pieces, though ita��s the former who takes the cake for most prized possession.
David Price, who was only acquired just last season, will soon be a free agent. Hea��s 29 years old and will end up costing $19.75 million once the year has come and gone. Ita��s likely hea��d be a rental, or perhaps the Dodgersa�� backup plan if they cannot find common ground with the Phillies on Hamels. Price is sporting a 2.31 ERA to go along with a 2.81 FIP and an 8.6 strikeout per nine rate. With each passing day of subpar baseball, it seems more and more likely that hea��ll be gone.
As for the Brewers, names like the aforementioned Parra, Adam Linda��barring issues with his lower back that just flared up over the weekenda��and even Jean Segura come to mind. Parra, who already possesses great defensive capabilities, is having a career year at the plate largely due to an injury suffered by Khris Davis earlier in the season. Slashing .317/.355/.507 with 23 doubles and nine home runs, Parra has never had more value. Or so the narrative would have you believe.
Other rentals available from Detroit could include but are not limited to: Yoenis Cespedes, Joakim Soria, Alex Avila, Alfredo Simon, and Rajai Davis.
Pirates Continue Search for Bats
a�� though, Ia��m having trouble figuring out why these ones:
Sources: #pirates have looked into Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino. Napoli scuffling at plate but has been decent defensively.
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) July 26, 2015
I can see why the Boston Red Sox would love to move these two, but leta��s take a quick glance at the numbers.
Shane Victorino (106 plate appearances): .245/.324/.298
Mike Napoli (335 plate appearances): .205/.301/.372
There is so much going on with those numbers, and absolutely none of it is good. There are plenty of serviceable bats out there, Pittsburgh. If I were you Ia��d keep looking.
Relief is Coming
Numerous teams dona��t stand a chance at making the postseason. With those teams typically comes a handy late-inning reliever, and this article lists 10 they believe could be on the move. Wea��ll knock it down to nine since Jason Grilli is out or the remainder of the season. That leaves Aroldis Chapman, Cody Allen, David Robertson, Francisco Rodriguez, Koji Uehara, Jonathan Papelbon, John Axford, Brad Ziegler, and Tyler Clippard.
With their recent poor play lately, Ia��d even add Jake McGee and potentially Brad Boxberger of Tampa Bay to that list. Then therea��s Craig Kimbrel of San Diego if they decide to reverse course on what they had in mind at the beginning of the season. At 47a��52 and 8.5 games back, things have not gone accordingly.
Of the list, Chapman is the most valuable. Will the Reds start a little rebuild by moving the flamethrower? I believe they should. As it stands, ita��s anybodya��s guess, but one thinga��s for certain: the trade market isna��t short on capable late-inning relief this season.
Laundry List Rotation
Without considering age or contract situation, herea��s a handful of other names to think about as we say our goodbyes and dish out hugs: pitchers Jeff Samardzija, James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Yovani Gallardo, and Mike Fiers. On a less optimistic notea��for the sellers, that isa��therea��s Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, and Justin Verlander.
Ita��s relatively easy to throw out all the names youa��ve seen throughout this article. Obviously theya��re not all going to be traded, but we know how trade deadlines can get. July 31 is near; ita��s time to get weird.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference.