The trade deadline chatter hasn’t really picked up yet, perhaps in large part owing to the tightly packed American League. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag recently took his weekly spin around the A.L., providing a few items of note. While there has been a bit of buzz around Justin Verlander, the Tigers haven’t asked him to provide a list of teams to which he’d permit a trade. The Astros, meanwhile, seem to be hoping for a chance at adding a difference-making starter, but don’t know whether such an arm will end up being made available. And the White Sox, unsurprisingly, are ready and willing to get deals done.
Here’s more from the American League:
- It’s still not clear when the Angels can expect righty Garrett Richards to return, but Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times provides an update (Twitter links). The biceps nerve irritation he has experienced isn’t completely relieved, but it has improved. Just when he’ll be cleared to throw, though, has yet to be determined — and no doubt there’ll be a lengthy and cautious build-up once the medical staff gives a go-ahead.
- Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto suggests that he still doesn’t perceive a need to shake things up too drastically at the deadline, despite a lull that has the M’s now sitting four games under .500. As MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports, Dipoto says that the team’s “roster plan has never really changed.” While buy and sell-side opportunities could arise at the deadline, it seems a major shift in either direction is unlikely. Starting pitching, clearly, is a prime need. “We’re not going to empty both barrels to try to go out and find the ace to perch atop the rotation to take us to the promised land, because that guy doesn’t exist,” said Dipoto. But he also noted that the trade deadline is but one of “two windows when you can access starting pitching” and promised at least to “stay in tune with” the market for starters.
- There’s a similar sentiment in Texas, it seems. It would take “unique circumstances” for the Rangers to sell veteran players at the deadline, GM Jon Daniels tells Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. While Texas is likely only competing for a Wild Card at this point, neither is the organization facing any need to trim salary, per the report. With confidence within the organization seemingly still running high, it appears the likeliest scenario is that the team will mostly look to maintain its roster through the non-waiver trade period.
- Meanwhile, it’s still unclear what will happen with Rangers infielder/outfielder Jurickson Profar, as Wilson writes. Presumably, the still youthful former top prospect could end up playing a significant role with Texas or be utilized as a trade chip over the summer. For the time being, he’s receiving only brief stints in the majors. Regardless of how things turn out, Profar says that he’s dealing with things by playing his hardest wherever that may be — mostly, this year, at Triple-A. He has hit well at Round Rock, slashing .303/.376/.444 in 223 plate appearances this year, and would still be an interesting trade candidate to dangle this summer.
- The Rays failed to sign supplemental first-round draft pick Drew Rasmussen, as MLB.com’s Jim Callis first tweeted. It seems that Rasmussen will not be turned loose in free agency, as John Manuel of Baseball America writes; instead, he’ll likely head back to Oregon State for his senior year. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, is still hoping the league will award it a compensatory pick in next year’s draft. (While the organization did not make a sufficient offer to do so, it feels that there were issues with Rasmussen’s pre-draft MRIs.) Meanwhile, Orioles fourth-rounder Jack Conlon will be granted unrestricted free agency after going unsigned, as BA’s Hudson Belinsky explains. That gives him the option of signing on with any MLB organization — without being capped by bonus pools — or instead heading to college. Angels fifth-rounder Joe Booker was the only other player from the first ten rounds of the draft to go unsigned, as Belinsky tweeted he’ll instead honor a commitment to South Alabama.