Let’s open this stove with one of the best trade deadline quotes from one anonymous executive I’ve ever seen (via Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic): “Anyone who thinks the seller is being realistic has probably already acquired the player.” Amen.
Here’s to Jed Hoyer finding that special someone who thinks he’s being realistic.
Story to the Yankees? Really!?
So despite my best guesses, the Yankees actually went out and traded for Joey Gallo. It cost them a pretty penny (well, four pretty pennies), but they really did it. Good for them, I guess. But certainly they must be done now right?
Nope! According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees are actually still in play for Trevor Story, which would really just blow my mind if I’m being completely honest. Yes, they can fit him into their overall picture by moving Gleyber Torres to second and DJ LeMahieu to first, but I just didn’t expect them to be this all-in on the season, when they’re still in third place by 8.5 games!
At the same time, these are the sort of additions (everyday star position players) a team looks to make when they still have ground to make up before the end of the season. Whereas …
… By contrast, the first-place Boston Red Sox will likely look to add to their bullpen. We already know they’ve shown interest in Anthony Rizzo (indeed, it seems to be Boston or bust for Rizzo and the Cubs), but Rosenthal believes a Craig Kimbrel/Anthony Rizzo package is at least one conceivable path.
Maybe the Red Sox feel a little extra pressure from the additions in New York and Tampa Bay? In any case, one thing has become clear so far: the way the trades have played out so far have been pretty firmly in the Cubs favor. And if Story goes to New York, that’d be a double-whammy (taking another infielder off the market to a team not connected to the Cubs while pushing the Red Sox and Rays to explore even more additions).
Most of us thought Max Scherzer was going to be moved before his start today, but now it seems like he will take the ball today in what will likely be the final start of his Nationals career.
Max Scherzer’s surprise start today shouldn’t be interpreted as an indication of a breakdown in trade talks. Teams want to see that he’s healthy. Also, @MLB Trade Deadline historians will recall another ace (Greinke) being dealt after throwing 5 IP on 7/31/2019. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 29, 2021
The NL West teams (especially the Dodgers and Padres, but also the Giants) continue to be the most likely landing spots, and indeed, those are Scherzer’s preferred destinations, but Jose Berrios could muddy up those waters.
Great arms race out West. Dodgers and Padres both are in on Max Scherzer and José Berríos.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 29, 2021
About that “Flooded” Relief Market
Brett discussed the reportedly “flooded” relief market earlier today, and while I don’t expect that to negatively impact the Craig Kimbrel market – he’s the prize of the deadline for sure-thing contenders – Ryan Tepera does have some competition out there.
However, it has thinned out in some big ways over the past week.
For one, Andrew Chafin, Clay Holmes, Mychael Givens, Kendall Graveman, and Yimi Garcia have already been traded. For another, Taylor Rogers hit in the injured list, effectively taking him off the market. And now, most recently, there’s this:
Nationals announce that Daniel Hudson, Alex Avila, Trea Turner and Austin Voth have been placed on the IL for undisclosed reasons. They also announced yesterday that four total players had tested positive for the coronavirus.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 29, 2021
Daniel Hudson, 34, is having an excellent year as a set-up man for the Nationals (2.20 ERA, 2.50 FIP; 37.8 K%, 5.5 BB%), but he just hit the COVID IL. And while he could still be a target for teams aiming to bolster their bullpen *in October* this definitely muddies the water a bit.
There is still a lot of competition out there – and it’s not like the return for Tepera, on its own, will transform the Cubs organization – but the thinning of the herd* does work in their favor.
*Of course, I am not happy that people have tested positive for COVID-19. That part is terrible. I’m just discussing the realities of the situation.
Ope! And before I was able to click publish, another reliever was traded (or is about to be):
Source: The Nationals have traction on a deal that will send Brad Hand to the Blue Jays.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) July 29, 2021
The Blue Jays have been borderline buyers all month, but it appears they have chosen a lane. Here’s the return:
Return from Jays is Riley Adams, a 25-year-old catcher, per person familiar.
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) July 29, 2021
And there’s also this.
White Sox and Tampa have had multiple discussions. Sox would like bullpen and second base help. Tampa interested young controllable right handed hitter back from Sox. Fairbanks injury may impact available depth that Tampa would have had from the pen.
— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) July 29, 2021
Obviously, the White Sox have already gotten their second base help, but we do know they’ve been scouting Cubs relievers for the past week or so (at least). It’s curious, though, that the Rays and Sox, two contending teams, would be able to find a deal that works for both of them. But the Rays are always creative and have a ton of depth and the Sox are desperate to make this season work.