Jon Heyman kicks off his latest Inside Baseball column for FanRag sports by making a few predictions on some popular trade candidates. While he forecasts Sonny Gray to be the best pitcher that is seriously discussed in trades, he ultimately believes Gray will stay put, and teammate Rich Hill will be the top arm moved at this year’s non-waiver deadline. On the bullpen side of the equation, Aroldis Chapman has a “pretty good” chance to be moved, whereas teammate Andrew Miller was given a “less than one percent chance” to be traded by one Yankees-connected official, per Heyman.
A few of the more notable items from his lengthy column…
- Brad Ziegler, Daniel Hudson and Tyler Clippard are generating the most trade interest among D-backs players, per Heyman. Arizona considers Paul Goldschmidt, Jake Lamb and perhaps Brandon Drury to be among its untouchables in trade takes even if the club does elect to sell off some parts.
- The Marlins continue to hunt for starting pitching and have interest in Rays starters Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore but also recognize that they don’t have much in the way of prospect capital to offer up for controllable arms of that nature. Miami could turn to Jarred Cosart if a rotation alternative is needed, though Cosart is sporting a pretty pedestrian 3.92 ERA with 6.0 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 in eight starts (39 innings) since being demoted to the minors earlier this year.
- The Cardinals are considering a long-term deal for rising young right-hander Carlos Martinez, per Heyman, though there’s no indication of any serious talks between the two sides from his report. Martinez is a logical extension candidate as a 24-year-old former top prospect that has made good on that hype with a 2.97 ERA across his past 282 innings. However, he’s also on track to hit arbitration for the first time this offseason, which does eliminate some of the urgency to take a club-friendly deal from Martinez’s camp. That, of course, doesn’t mean that an agreement can’t be reached, but Martinez is already in line for a sizable payday this winter, and buying out free-agent seasons would be expensive considering the platform he’s in the midst of building.
- The Mariners could look to upgrade at closer in the coming weeks. Steve Cishek has been a nice pickup for the team (though he did blow a save tonight), but Joel Peralta didn’t pan out in Seattle and Joaquin Benoit has struggled. Heyman notes that GM Jerry Dipoto is a big fan of Angels setup man Joe Smith, which isn’t a big surprise considering Dipoto signed him to a three-year deal when he was the Halos’ GM. Smith, though, doesn’t really fit the description of the closer upgrade Heyman initially mentioned. That’s not meant to downplay Smith’s ability to help the Mariners, but I’d imagine a more powerful arm would be the type of target the club would pursue if looking to upgrade over Cishek.
- The Rays are getting quite a bit of interest in Moore, Odorizzi and Chris Archer, but there’s no sense that any of the three are available yet. Other teams do expect Tampa Bay to move at least one pitcher, though Heyman notes that it’s highly unlikely that Archer would be moved.
- The Rangers have exchanged numbers with Rougned Odor’s camp in extension talks, but the two sides aren’t believed to be close to a deal yet. Odor won’t be arbitration eligible until after the 2017 campaign, so he’s a ways off from his first significant salary. We’ve previously seen several second basemen in his service bracket — between two and three years of service once the season is up — sign extensions, so there are a fair number of comparables from which to draw. Brian Dozier signed away his arbitration year for a total of $20MM, while Matt Carpenter and Jason Kipnis each signed away their arb years and a pair of free-agent seasons for about $52MM in total, as can be seen in MLBTR’s Extension Tracker.
- The Blue Jays may try to add some left-handed pop and could be a landing spot for Jay Bruce, per Heyman. Toronto was known to be interested in Bruce back in Spring Training and even had a reported three-team trade with the Reds and Angels fall through after some medical reports on minor leaguers that were set to change hands derailed the deal. That, of course, looks quite fortuitous for the Blue Jays right now, as Michael Saunders would’ve gone to the Angels in that deal. The bullpen is also a likely area of focus for the Jays, he notes, which makes more sense than a run at Bruce, who doesn’t strike me as a great fit for their roster.