We’re in the final hours before the MLB trade deadline, and the rumours are flying.
Through July 30, there are 17 teams within six games of a playoff spot. That’s a crowded field of contenders — one that’s had several teams paralysed by indecision — but the bottom line is that there’s plenty of incentive for competent squads to make some deadline improvements. After all, one win can be the difference between a shot at the World Series and a spot on the couch all October long.
We’ve already seen some prominent players get traded earlier this month. The Cubs made a trade for Jose Quintana just over two weeks ago, and they followed that up with a deal for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila on Monday. The Yankees, meanwhile, have added Todd Frazier, David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Jaime Garcia since the calendar turned to July.
Now, let’s take a look at some other big names who could be on the move before the deadline.
Yankees are the favourites for Sonny Grey, but how much will they give up?
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that several executives expect the Yankees to step up and trade for starting pitcher Sonny Grey, but the Athletics are said to want a king’s ransom for the 27-year-old righty, who’s still under team control for two more years. The Yankees have the prospects to pony up, but how far are they willing to go?
Justin Verlander to stay put…for now
It was always going to be difficult for the Tigers to trade Verlander — not only is he a team icon, but he also has $US56 million coming to him in the next two years, as well as a full no-trade clause. Sure enough, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the 34-year-old righty has been taken off the trading block, though GM Al Avila will almost certainly redouble his efforts to move him this winter.
Future still unclear for Yu Darvish, but it could be in Texas
Despite a recent hiccup against the Marlins, Darvish remains a true ace — an intimidating hurler with multiple strikeout pitches who can shut down the other side. Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan noted that teams haven’t been willing to match the Rangers’ big asking price, but it’s worth noting that Texas just traded Jonathan Lucroy to the Rockies, so they don’t appear to have their hearts set on postseason contention. Nightengale reported that any deal for Darvish will likely materialise later in the afternoon.
The Indians want Britton, but Baltimore maintains poker face
It’s no secret that the Indians have been making a hard push for Zach Britton, the Orioles closer who finished fourth in last year’s Cy Young voting. But the Orioles are a notoriously difficult team to negotiate with, and Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that teams are struggling to get a read on the Baltimore front office. The Astros are also reported to be a big player for Britton, though almost every contending team would be glad to have him.
In thin relief pitching market, Hand could net a huge return
The Padres aren’t very good this year, but lefty reliever Brad Hand and his 2.00 ERA have been huge bright spots. Accordingly, San Diego has set a high price for the 27-year-old, who’s under team control through 2019. Padres beat reporter AJ Cassavell reported that four teams are still in on Hand; three days ago, FanRag’s Jon Heyman reported that the Nationals, Astros and Dodgers were all in the mix.
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