The Rangers are still pushing hardest for White Sox ace Chris Sale, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (Twitter links). Chicago is holding out with a high asking price, per the report, demanding Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo as headliners. Presumably, the club is looking for more to go with that pair, though the full demands from the Sox remain unknown. Texas will obviously be hesitant to part with Mazara, in particular, since he’s not only an important future piece but has played a notable role on this year’s roster. On the other hand, he seems like a perfectly reasonable request; there simply aren’t very many pitchers out there that combine Sale’s track record and contract situation.
Here’s more on the market for starters:
- The Athletics and Dodgers have discussed trade scenarios involving both lefty Rich Hill and outfielder Josh Reddick, per ESPN.com’s Buster Olney. It seems that the sides have batted around concepts involving both players in a single swap, as well as scenarios involving each player separately. It’s not hard to see the interest here from a Los Angeles organization that not only desires to add a starter and a left-handed-hitting outfielder, but has exhibited more injury risk tolerance in acquiring starting pitching than any team in baseball.
- Other teams may be looking at Mariners righty Taijuan Walker, but Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto says that he’s not interested in offers, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. “We’re not currently discussing Taijuan with anybody,” said Dipoto. “He’ll stay right where he is.” Dipoto says that the same holds with regard to lefty James Paxton, as SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets.
- At this point, the Twins would need to be “overwhelmed” to deal away righty Ervin Santana, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Minnesota is still said to be open to dealing relief assets, but apparently is rather committed to keeping the veteran righty in its rotation over the final two years of his contract.
- While the Blue Jays’ tough call on whether to keep Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, or instead to move him to the pen to limit his innings, has long been building as an important decision. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark takes a look at the subject with the trade deadline seemingly forcing the issue. While GM Ross Atkins says the club won’t let Sanchez’s status impact its plans, and stresses that the organization is looking at far more than a simple innings tally, Stark reports that rival executives see Toronto as an aggressive pursuer of starters. He suggests that Jeremy Hellickson could make a nice target as a back-of-the-staff rental that shouldn’t cost too much.
- Before striking a deal this morning for two starters, the Marlins tried to work something out with the pitching-rich Rays, according to multiple reports. Per Stark (Twitter links), the sides weren’t seeing eye to eye on Miami’s interest in Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore. One source suggests that Tampa Bay wanted Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto — which would obviously be a non-starter — while another suggests it never got that specific, with Tampa Bay simply not interested in the Marlins’ farm.
- Moore seems now to be the Rays starter who is most likely to be traded, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). Always regarded as a highly-talented pitcher, Moore has looked more like his pre-Tommy John self of late. His last poor outing came on June 24th, leaving him with a 5.04 ERA to that point on the year. Since that time, over seven starts, Moore has allowed just nine earned runs in 40 2/3 innings. He only has a 25: 14 K/BB ratio in that span, which isn’t all that exciting, and doesn’t have a velocity bump or increasing whiff rate to support the improved results,
- The Mets have chatted with the Pirates about a possible Jon Niese return, SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets. New York has previously been suggested to have some interest in the lefty, who was dealt from New York to Pittsburgh over the winter. As before, though, the Mets don’t appear to be prioritizing starting pitching, given that the club has reasonable back-of-the-rotation options at hand with Zack Wheeler still working toward a return