ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark examines the seeming dearth of available starters on this year’s market, with several unnamed executives telling him it seems to be harder than at any point in recent memory to pry arms loose. He goes through several possible reasons for that — including, most interestingly, the fact that the infusion of money into baseball has reduced the financial pressure on smaller-market teams to sell off assets at the deadline. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports also tackles the subject, suggesting that the standoff between buyers and sellers could topple over on deadline day — possibly resulting in a wild finish.
While we wait for the tension to break, here’s the latest on a market that is proving difficult to project:
- Even as the Marlins reportedly make their pitch for Andrew Cashner, the team is continuing to look far and wide for their rotation needs, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. He adds three more names that the club has asked about: Edinson Volquez of the Royals, Matt Shoemaker of the Angels, and Julio Teheran of the division-rival Braves. Nothing in the Miami system is off limits, per the report, including first baseman Josh Naylor and righty Luis Castillo — each of whom have been asked about quite frequently by other clubs, per Jackson. Rival clubs get the sense that the Marlins are “desperate” to bolster their rotation, ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick tweets, but it’s still not entirely clear how the team will make that happen given its thin farm. Of course, as the examples of Naylor and Castillo show, the system isn’t devoid of talent, but it would certainly sting to part with the organization’s best pieces, and it’s not at all clear that those players would be enough to score a quality, controllable arm.
- Another team that hopes to add arms but has limitations in doing so is the Tigers, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com (via Twitter). Detroit is said not to have much payroll flexibility, and is also generally regarded as having a weaker farm system. At the same time, it’s probably wise not to count out the Mike Illitch-owned Tigers, who have made many bold strikes in the past and sit in reasonable striking distance of both the AL Central and the Wild Card at six games over .500.
- After missing on Aroldis Chapman, the Nationals should only step up their efforts to upgrade, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post opines. While GM Mike Rizzo has undeniably been a shrewd dealmaker, he and the organization have largely resisted major in-season additions, and Kilgore says that this is not the year to be stingy with prospects. Washington has been tied mostly to relief targets, and finding a big-time late-inning arm surely remains a priority. That said, things still seem rather wide open for the Nats, who aren’t overrun with needs but seem interested in a big addition. After all, the club even reportedly asked the Blue Jays whether star outfielder Jose Bautista might be available, per Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post (Twitter link).
- Despite moving to add infielder Eduardo Nunez tonight, the Giants are still focused on pitching, GM Bobby Evans tells reporters including Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area (via Twitter). It’s hard to draw a bead on the Giants’ favored targets, as ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick says they’re “blanketing” the market for starters and relievers (Twitter links). But the team is among may that have reached out to the Royals, so you can at least add some hypothetical new names to the long list of possibilities for San Francisco.
- Meanwhile, southpaw Josh Osich wasn’t terribly pleased that he was placed on the DL with a seemingly minor forearm issue, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. He was replaced with fellow lefty Matt Reynolds, leading the Chronicle’s Henry Schulman to suggest on Twitter that the organization hopes to get a look at the 31-year-old before the deadline. Reynolds has appeared in five major league seasons and had some success at times. And it’s hard to ignore his current Triple-A line: over 32 1/3 innings, he owns a 1.11 ERA with 12.8 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 while allowing only 16 hits.
- Mariners righty Taijuan Walker is drawing “strong interest” around the game, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). It’s still somewhat difficult to imagine the organization parting with the talented hurler at this particular point in time, not least of which because he’s currently on the DL with a foot injury. Plus, GM Jerry Dipoto strongly suggested just recently that a sell-off shouldn’t be expected. But Nightengale says that Walker is scheduled for a bullpen on Friday at Wrigley Field that is expected to be watched by opposing teams’ scouts.
- The Phillies “don’t seem motivated” to trade reliever Jeanmar Gomez, Jayson Stark of ESPN.com tweets. On the one hand, that’s a bit surprising given that the emergent righty has worked to a strong 2.83 ERA in 47 2/3 innings while largely thriving in the closer’s role. On the other, Philadelphia has no real reason to part with its final year of control if it can’t draw an interesting return, as Gomez will likely provides some affordable (albeit increasingly expensive) stability next year.