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Lukewarm Stove: Yankees Getting Active, Gray and the Astros, Cardinals and a Reliever, More

Chicago Cubs Rumors, MLB News and Rumors

I’m always telling you guys that the post-All-Star Break rumor season is legit, and so far it has been.


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On Bleacher Nation today ALONE, we’ve already had one Lukewarm Stove, a specific Zach-Britton-to-the-Cubs rumor, and another report clearing up the Cubs’ interest in Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman, Gerrit Cole, Michael Fulmer, and Sonny Gray.

Yeah, it’s been a busy day, and, yet, here I am introducing another Lukewarm Stove. Let’s get right to it.

  • Earlier today, it was confirmed that Yankees starter Michael Pineda needs Tommy John surgery, which, obviously means that his season is over. Of course, the Yankees’ season (47-43) is not, and they’re still just 3.5 games back of the first-place Red Sox. So, let the starting pitcher rumors begin:

  • Sonny Gray is about as available as available gets, but query whether the Yankees will pony up the prospects to get a deal done. Because remember, Gray may not be getting the results of his career best 2.73 ERA 2015 season, but his peripherals are actually a bit better this year. Plus, he’s under fairly cheap team control through the 2019 season, and the Brewers (and Cubs) are still considered interested buyers (among others).

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  • Of course, Gray isn’t the only starter available. One other big-time starting pitcher has been available for a while now, and it seems his team is getting more serious about moving him:

  • The Yankees – and their endless rolls of free money – could be an ideal landing spot for a high-dollar contract like Verlander’s. Of course, as Morosi suggest, there’s not new interest to report on that specific front. I’ll be surprised if the Yankees don’t add this deadline, but remember, they weren’t exactly projected to take the AL East, so we’ll have to see how this plays out.

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  • If the Tigers are willing to eat a great deal of money on Verlander’s deal, you do wonder whether the Cubs might once again pop up connected to Verlander.
  • At USA Today, Bob Nightengale runs down some rumors, featuring the likely destinations for all of the top players on the trade block. Notably, according to Nightengale, the Oakland A’s are receiving a barrage of calls from contending clubs “offering everyone from their top prospects to their groundskeeper” in exchange for Sonny Gray. Although Nightengale considers the Brewers as right up in the race, he predicts that Gray will ultimately land with the pitching-needy Houston Astros in exchange for a package centered around struggling, but young starter Joe Musgrove, pitching prospect Forrest Whitley (#50-75 overall prospect), and outfield prospect Teoscar Hernandez (top 10 in the system). That’s not an overwhelming package, but Gray does come with some risk, so we’ll have to see what happens.
  • Nightengale also predicts that right-handed reliever Brad Brach goes to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for starter Tyler Lyons. Brach is a good reliever and Lyons has been a terrible starter, and Brach is controllable through next year.

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  • Speaking of bullpen upgrade, it sounds like the Washington Nationals are not done adding to the pen, themselves. After already acquiring Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson from the A’s, the Nats are now connected to Tigers’ lefty Justin Wilson. They were also reportedly deep in talks with the Marlins over David Phelps and AJ Ramos, but those conversations likely died when the deal with the A’s went through. Unsurprisingly, the Nats are also considered a possible destination for a starter, too. When you’re as playoff bound as they are, upgrades are likely.
  • But the Nationals aren’t the only ones interest in Wilson. Apparently, the Tampa Bay Rays have checked in on both him and Pirates’ lefty Tony Watson. Although, as Steve Adams points out, Watson is owed a lot more than Wilson the rest of the way, so the Rays may be partial to the dollar cost savings. These two, according to Joel Sherman, are not the only relievers the Rays are interested in, however, so there’s still a lot up in the air.
  • And all of this, by the way, reminds me of that Zach Britton rumor from earlier this afternoon. Although the Cubs presumably would love to have Britton, as he can help out both this and next season, there are other teams, like the Nationals, who arguably need his services a lot more. Will the Cubs really be willing to outbid a team like Washington who are definitely heading towards October baseball with the league’s worst bullpen (well, it’s slightly better now that they’ve made a couple of additions, but you get the point)? I’m not so sure. Remember how aggressive the Cubs were last year in a similar situation.
  • Meanwhile, Brett is almost on the hook for a 34-hour Blogathon at the $6,000 mark (and even more if we can raise more), so give to a good cause for a good reason:

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Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @Michael_Cerami.