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Although many of Major League Baseball’s biggest names on the trading block have found new homes, teams can acquire a litany of pitchers and hitters still available.
Here’s a look at the 10 biggest names up for grabs as the MLB non-waiver trade deadline of 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday nears.
Each player’s section is broken down into three parts: the latest trade rumors connecting players to various teams, a quick look at their 2018 performances and an outlook on where they could end up before the end of the month.
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A few players who have been involved in trade rumors earlier this season have been left off the list due to a lack of notable trade chatter in recent weeks.
Per Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom “isn’t going anywhere.” Andy Martino of Sportsnet New York reported on July 5 that neither deGrom nor Mets starter Noah Syndergaard seemed likely to move. Per Martino, “when other teams call, they are hearing that deGrom and even Syndergaard are not really available.”
In a July 13 piece, Mark Sheldon of MLB.com quoted Cincinnati Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett, who said that he felt the Reds “want me here for the long term.” Nothing new has popped up within the last two weeks, so barring an unforeseen turn of events, expect Gennett to stay.
Likewise, that should be the case with Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. Jon Heyman of Fancred reports that the 32-year-old will not be waiving his no-trade clause at this time.
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Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on Saturday that the Cleveland Indians and San Francisco Giants are interested in Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and The Athletic also noted on July 18 that the Milwaukee Brewers had interest in Dozier. That sentiment may have passed now that that the team acquired Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas.
After posting an .871 OPS in his last two full seasons, Dozier has dipped to a .716 mark. However, the 31-year-old may be on the wrong side of bad luck, as he has just a .254 BABIP this year. Per FanGraphs, he’s hitting the ball hard more consistently than ever thanks to his 35 percent hard-hit rate, so positive regression could be forthcoming.
The Twins’ move of infielder Eduardo Escobar (15 home runs, 63 RBI, .852 OPS with the Twins) signals that the team has started looking toward next season. Dozier is a free agent next year, so Minnesota may feel pressed to make a deal and avoid losing him for nothing.
Cleveland could be a decent fit if the Indians are willing to move second baseman Jason Kipnis back to the outfield (Kipnis has spent some time there). If not, then San Francisco looks like the better bet, although the Giants are sliding out of the playoff race with a 52-54 record.
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Speaking to Fox Sports’ Kevin Burkhardt, Rosenthal said Cincinnati Reds closer Raisel Iglesias was someone to keep an eye on as the trade deadline neared.
Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com wrote on July 20 that Iglesias was “in demand” around the league, and earlier this month, Heyman wrote that the Washington Nationals and Reds had talks about Iglesias and starting pitcher Matt Harvey.
Iglesias has saved 20 games in 23 chances and registered a 2.14 ERA. His strikeout rate is a bit down from last season (25.8 percent compared to 30.1 percent in 2017), and his hard-hit rate is a career-high 33.6 percent.
However, Iglesias is inducing soft contact 24.4 percent of the time, also a career watermark.
Acquiring the 28-year-old Iglesias would likely mean that a team parts with a sizable prospect haul. Aside from his impressive numbers this year, Iglesias is under team control through 2021, per C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic, so teams don’t have to worry about him leaving as a free agent for a few years.
The Reds can simply hang onto him for three more seasons and make him part of a new rebuild, but it’s possible Iglesias gets moved, especially if a reliever-needy team gets desperate and makes Cincinnati an offer it can’t refuse.
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Rosenthal tweeted a list of relievers on Saturday who are “in play” leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. San Diego Padres reliever Kirby Yates was one of them.
On July 19, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com said Yates was drawing “significant interest” around the league.
In fairness, Yates’ season may be unsustainable. He has a 38 percent hard-hit contact rate in addition to a .253 BABIP. Eventually, more of those hard-hit balls should find gaps. Still, Yates is off to an excellent start.
The Padres should strike while Yates’ stock is high and trade him to the highest bidder. While Yates has enjoyed an excellent campaign, the team needs some help in the starting rotation and lineup. It should look for prospects who could help satisfy either need.
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The rumors are flying on Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer. Per Heyman on Sunday, the Padres are the favorites, while the New York Yankees are also in the mix. Rosenthal and Jim Bowden of The Athletic reported Saturday that the Dodgers are involved as well.
Archer has been on the wrong end of luck during his career (of note, his 54-68 win-loss record doesn’t remotely represent how good of a pitcher he’s been overall), and that’s the case in 2018. A .343 BABIP has played a part in Archer’s career-high 4.31 ERA. He still has a solid 3.62 xFIP in addition to a 24.7 percent strikeout rate.
The Padres make the most sense if a deal goes down. They have a greater need for a starting pitcher than the Yankees or Dodgers, as they could use an ace to anchor the staff. While San Diego is well out of contention for a playoff berth, the Padres have a stacked farm system (ranked No. 1 by MLB.com) and a bright future. Archer, who is under team control through 2021, could play a big part in that resurgence.
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Rosenthal included Texas Rangers closer Keone Kela on that aforementioned reliever list tweeted out on Saturday.
Aside from Rosenthal’s note that he is “in play” leading up to the deadline, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted Thursday that Texas may be close to a deal.
It took close to four months for Kela to blow his first save of the year, as a performance against the scorching-hot Oakland Athletics on July 24 ended his 2018 streak of 23 successful save attempts. Kela has struck out 43 batters in 35.2 innings to go along with a 3.28 ERA.
Kela is just 25 years old and has proved capable of closing in a very tough environment for pitchers (per ESPN, Global Life Park in Arlington is routinely one of the game’s most notorious hitter parks). Texas should be able to get a sizable return for Kela, who is under team control through 2020 and arguably one of the three best relievers left on the trading block.
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The Washington Nationals covet Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, but there is reportedly a hang-up on the parameters of the deal. Per Heyman on Sunday, the Marlins want top prospect Victor Robles and catcher Spencer Kieboom included, while Washington isn’t willing to include both.
Realmuto is far and away the best hitting catcher in baseball this year, as he’s posted 13 home runs, 51 RBI and an .897 OPS in 77 games. He’s also above average behind the plate (0.5 defensive WAR). Realmuto’s efforts landed him on his first All-Star team this year.
It’s clear that the Nationals need an offensive upgrade at catcher. Matt Wieters is hitting .196, and Pedro Severino is batting .171. Miguel Montero went hitless in 13 plate appearances before being designated for assignment in April. Kieboom has been the best of the bunch as far as batting average (.226), but his OPS is low (.548).
The Nats have underachieved and sit in third place in the National League East with a 52-52 record, but is it worth mortgaging the future for the present? Robles is ranked as MLB Pipeline’s fifth-best prospect in all of minor league baseball. Realmuto is an excellent hitting catcher, but if Robles develops into a superstar, Washington will have significant regrets.
Ultimately, both sides don’t have much time to get something done, and the guess here is that they won’t.
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Rosenthal reported on July 23 that the Philadelphia Phillies were talking with the Toronto Blue Jays about acquiring right fielder Curtis Granderson. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe also wrote that the Cleveland Indians were checking in.
Granderson has fared well against right-handers, hitting 10 home runs, knocking in 31 runs and posting a .784 OPS. However, the 15-year veteran has extreme splits, to the point where he rarely plays against southpaws. In 24 plate appearances this year, Granderson has just two hits.
The Indians make a lot of sense for Granderson, who could form a right field platoon with Brandon Guyer. Granderson is a righty masher, while Guyer has had much success against southpaws (career .842 OPS).
Together, the two players could form a monster duo at the dish, although neither is solid in the field (both Guyer and Granderson have negative defensive WAR marks, per Baseball Reference). Still, acquiring Granderson would help Cleveland fill an outfield gap.
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Rosenthal reported on Friday that the Milwaukee Brewers were in discussions with the Baltimore Orioles about acquiring second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
On Wednesday, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported that the O’s were “willing to engage” teams on Schoop talks.
After a 32-homer, 105-RBI campaign in 2017, Schoop has regressed in 2018, as his OPS has dropped from .841 to .716. Of note, Schoop’s hard-hit contact rate has dropped from 36.1 percent to 26.5 percent.
On the plus side, Schoop may be rounding back into top form. He has a 1.059 OPS in July, a month in which he has doubled his home run total from eight to 16. He has also hit safely in his last 11 games.
Although the Brewers and Schoop were previously connected, that is likely out now that Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is on Milwaukee. That acquisition bumped previous third baseman Travis Shaw to second, which leaves no room for Schoop.
The issue for Baltimore is that the infielder market is drying up a bit, with Asdrubal Cabrera, Eduardo Escobar and Moustakas all finding new homes. If the O’s can’t find a good deal out there, they may as well keep the 26-year-old. Based on his performance last year and July output this season, that may not be a bad thing.
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The aforementioned Schoop rumors also apply to Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Gausman: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and The Athletic reported Friday that the Milwaukee Brewers have interest, and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN wrote Wednesday that the O’s were open to a deal.
Gausman has been up and down in 2018, resulting in a 4.43 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 124.0 innings. He’s been excellent at times (6.1 shutout innings and 10 strikeouts against the Chicago White Sox) and less so on other occasions (five earned runs each in back-to-back starts in July).
Gausman’s 19.5 percent strikeout rate is his lowest since 2014. However, he does induce a fair amount of ground balls (46.9 percent).
Milwaukee Brewers southpaw starter Brent Suter is out for the season due to a torn UCL. Without him, starting rotation depth has likely become Milwaukee’s biggest need.
Gausman could help fill that gap. Although he hasn’t fared as well as hoped this year, he’s still just 27 years old and has time to further develop his skill set.
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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on July 13 that Detroit Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos was “available.”
Mark Bowman of MLB.com wrote on Wednesday that there is some speculation connecting the Atlanta Braves and Tigers on a potential Castellanos trade: “If the Braves make an an offensive acquisition, the target would likely be a right-handed hitter. So as the Tigers have spent time scouring Atlanta’s farm system, there has been some belief Nicholas Castellanos would be a potential target.”
Castellanos is enjoying another successful season at the dish, as he’s posted 15 home runs, 57 RBI and an .847 OPS. He does have some issues in the field, however: Per Baseball Reference, the 26-year-old outfielder has a -1.7 defensive WAR this year.
Still, Castellanos has a valuable bat, particularly against left-handers. For the season, he’s batting an eye-popping .398 with six home runs and 18 RBI versus southpaws.
The Braves would make a lot of sense. They’ve been in a tailspin and have lost 14 of their last 19 games, dropping them out of first place in the National League East and on the outside looking in at the wild card.
Castellanos would help provide a much-needed boost to the lineup, which has been mostly cold during the team’s July swoon. A former third baseman, Castellanos could either play at the hot corner or give a corner outfielder a breather from time to time.
Ultimately, Atlanta can’t afford to stand pat at the deadline without making a move to improve its offense, and if Castellanos is available, the Braves should go for it.