While the Blue Jays got off to a terrible start in 2017, their strong play from late April through early June has them back in the mix for a Wild Card spot, writes MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand as part of a look at numerous trade-related topics. As such, the Jays don’t seem like obvious sellers at the moment — a sentiment that GM Ross Atkins himself suggested to Feinsand. “Obviously we’re not pleased with our record, but we’re pleased with the fact that our team was able to dig out of a significant hole,” the GM said. “…Now we’re very much in it. We can’t climb back into one of those holes, because there’s not as much time left.” The Jays fell to 35-37 with tonight’s loss, though they’re still just five back in the AL East and 2.5 games out of an AL Wild Card spot. Feinsand notes that the injury to Devon Travis makes second base the biggest need Toronto faces between now and the trade deadline and lists a few speculative targets for Toronto, including Ian Kinsler and Jed Lowrie.
A bit more from Feinsand and some other trade chatter to close out the night…
- The Braves have already received interest in Jaime Garcia, Brandon Phillips and Jason Motte, Feinsand reports, but the Braves are likely to hold for now as they seek to generate interest from additional clubs. Garcia was hit hard for the second straight start tonight, but he’s been solid for the majority of the season and could step into the back of a contender’s rotation as a reliable source of league-average innings. Phillips, meanwhile, has been quietly productive in his first season with Atlanta, and the Reds are on the hook for nearly all of his salary. And Motte, since inking a minors pact with the Braves, has turned in a 2.14 ERA through 21 innings, albeit with some very unappealing peripherals (5.1 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, .179 BABIP, 5.89 FIP, 5.09 SIERA).
- Despite a lack of starting pitching and a very rough stretch over the past month, the Orioles still view themselves as contenders, GM Dan Duquette tells FanRag’s Jon Heyman. “We have a number of players who are capable of playing better and contributing more to the 2017 team than they have to date,” says Duquette. “…They have all played to a much higher level than they have played at so far this season. We are still contenders and we look forward to these players contributing to the club.” Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, Mark Trumbo and Darren O’Day are among the rebound candidates listed by Duquette, whose Orioles are 13-28 in their past 41 games.
- While the White Sox are known to be open for business, Heyman reports that there isn’t presently much of a market for Todd Frazier or Melky Cabrera. He hears that the Sox would “have to practically give [Frazier] away” or at eat virtually all of his salary in a trade. Frazier’s swinging a hot bat in June (.269/.351/.537, five homers), so perhaps he’s beginning to turn it around and boost that stock. Cabrera, meanwhile, is hitting quite well in 2017 after a slow start to the year, as he’s slashed .331/.386/.480 over the past calendar month. I’d imagine, however, that his $15MM salary and defensive shortcomings limit his market despite the improved production. Also of ChiSox note: Heyman writes that there’s no evidence of recent talks with the Nationals regarding David Robertson.
- The Red Sox should be able to add about $9MM to their payroll this summer without crossing the luxury tax barrier, per Alex Speier of the Boston Globe. While around $2MM of that sum could be set aside for the salary that’ll need to be paid for internal promotions, Boston should have the remaining funds to address one, if not two needs, provided they don’t break the bank for a starting pitcher. Speier again lists Todd Frazier as a possibility, and Heyman linked the Red Sox to the Royals’ Mike Moustakas in his aforementioned column. Feinsand notes that Boston is indeed “in the market” for third base help as well, with Pablo Sandoval back on the DL and not playing well even when on the field.
- MLB.com’s Jon Morosi runs down a host of trade-related topics in his latest column, echoing recent suggestions from FOX’s Ken Rosenthal that the Pirates are likelier to trade Andrew McCutchen than Gerrit Cole. However, execs around the game do expect Pittsburgh to at least listen to offers on Cole, Morosi writes, though it may be hard for the Bucs to sell low on Cole.
- The Dodgers are more focused on adding rotation help than landing a significant bat due largely to the emergence of Cody Bellinger, per Morosi. According to Morosi, though, the Tigers have eyes on Dodgers prospect Alex Verdugo and would like to come away from the 2017 trade deadline with a center field option for the 2018 season, if they emerge as sellers. (Detroit hasn’t yet made that determination, he adds.) Tigers outfielder J.D. Martinez, Morosi points out, could be among the targets the Dodgers look at if they do elect to pursue a right-handed-hitting outfielder, though that connection is made speculatively, and I’d expect the Dodgers to be rather reluctant to part with a near-MLB-ready asset such as Verdugo in order to land a rental like Martinez.