Things are “heating up,” my friends …
- According to Jon Morosi on Twitter, talks between the Houston Astros and Sonny Gray are “heating up,” which is not entirely unsurprising. The Astros are well-known buyers this year (especially for starting pitchers), and were expected to move quickly after missing out on a trade for Jose Quintana. Similarly, Gray is as likely to be traded as nearly any other starter on the market this summer, so I’d keep your eyes wide open.
- With all of that said, Gray did just pitch yesterday, which means that a team like the Astros (or Yankees, or Brewers), may have some time before the next artificial deadline for a deal (trade for him before the start, and get one extra game out of him). And as far as the Astros go, he’s not necessarily the only guy they’re watching:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 20, 2017
- The Tigers recently suggested that they’d be willing to include some money in a deal for Verlander (first of all, duh, and second of all that would be downright necessary if he goes to a more financially conservative team like the Astros), so this all bears following.
- According to Jon Heyman, teams have been kicking the tires on a possible trade for Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, but that sort of move seems unlikely for now (if you recall, Ken Rosenthal said something similar late last week). According to Heyman, the Cardinals (please, no), Giants, and Phillies are among the known interested parties, while Marlins sources suggest there could be at least one to two more mystery teams. Stanton is having one of his really good seasons, slashing .275/.360/.590 with 30 home runs. He improves every team in baseball, but costs a pretty penny.
- One final interesting, but also terrifying note from that Heyman article: While the Cardinals are interested in Stanton and clearly have the funds to absorb his contract (they offered, but are not paying, each of Albert Pujols, Jason Heyward, and David Price deals worth $200M or more), they apparently see Manny Machado (soon to be a free agent) as a better mega-contract fit. Just keep that in the back of your mind.
- But as the Cardinals contemplate a huge move like that, Buster Olney suggests that they have not yet even decided if they’ll be buyers at all this summer. Indeed, according to Olney, the Pirates, Angels, Mariners, Cardinals, and Rangers are five teams who could swing in either direction, depending on how the next week or so goes. So, with that in mind, let’s *really* hope the Cubs win this weekend series against St. Louis.
- At ESPN, Jerry Crasnick writes about how the two best teams in baseball, Dodgers and Astros, might act up to the deadline. As you can imagine, they’re commanding divisional leads provides plenty of leverage to sit back and wait out the market. Neither team is starved for moves, so there’s no urgency in their deals.
- Among the Dodgers’ rumored interest, Crasnick identifies Orioles reliever Zach Britton (who was just recently attached to the Cubs). Staring down a Britton-Kenley Jansen back-of-the-bullpen is downright terrifying, especially with the way managers use relievers in the postseason nowadays, so you can see why the Dodgers would be interested. With that said, the Dodgers are reportedly skeptical that the Orioles will even make Britton available this summer, which isn’t entirely ridiculous, given that his perceived value is a bit lower than it probably should be.
- For the Astros, Crasnick writes that if they do trade for a starter, it’ll be a top tier guy. The only problem is the most likely target, Quintana, has already been traded. They’ll have to decide, now, if they want to move big-time prospect pieces for a slightly less dependable and lower upside Sonny Gray. My gut tells me they pull the trigger, but it could really depend on who else is interested in the A’s starter. The Brewers have been connected to Gray for quite a while now.
- The Seattle Mariners are just 1.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card spot, and, as such, fancy themselves buyers, so they swung a deal for Marlins’ reliever David Phelps, to whom the Cubs were recently connected. Brett has more here, though the return now reportedly includes outfield prospect Brayan Hernandez (6th in the Mariners system), as well as right-handers Brandon Miller (16th), Pablo Lopez (22nd), and Lucas Schiraldi (not in MLB Pipeline’s top 30).
- And finally:
Trade market for #Reds' Cozart seems limited. CIN does not intend to make him qualifying offer. Might lose him as FA for nothing in return.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 20, 2017
- If I were the Reds, I’d definitely trade Cozart for whatever I could get, ESPECIALLY if they don’t intend on making their All-Star shortstop a qualifying offer this offseason (it’s conceivable Cozart would accept). So, I’d expect something to get done. The Cubs next play the Reds in the middle of August, and all else equal, you’d probably rather see them weakened at that point.