Of the several teams eyeing Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, the Brewers have shown the most interest, reports Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The unexpected playoff hopefuls began doing “background work” on both Gray and now-former White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana just over a week ago, but the latter went to the NL Central rival Cubs on Thursday in a blockbuster trade. Acquiring Gray would be a quite a counterpunch by Milwaukee, which has a 5.5-game lead over the Cubs, and Cafardo observes that the Brewers have the prospect capital to make it happen. But even after getting Quintana, the Cubs haven’t closed the door on adding Gray, too.
More pre-deadline info from Cafardo:
- The Cardinals, Dodgers and Royals seem to be leading the chase for Tigers contract-year slugger J.D. Martinez, according to Cafardo. As AL Central rivals of the Tigers, the Royals are especially familiar with Martinez, who has slashed .298/.379/.602 with 14 home runs in 219 plate appearances this year. The $11.75MM right fielder would significantly boost a below-average Kansas City offense that has received awful production from longtime franchise cornerstone Alex Gordon in left field. Meanwhile, with Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk on the disabled list, the Cardinals are shorthanded in the outfield. Winners of 40 of their past 51 games, the 62-29 Dodgers seemingly aren’t lacking for quality players anywhere, but picking up Martinez would make them all the formidable as they vie for a World Series.
- Along with the previously reported Astros and Nationals, the Red Sox are interested in Tigers closer Justin Wilson, writes Cafardo. The Red Sox have come up as potential suitors for other on-the-block relievers, including David Phelps and Pat Neshek, so the connection to Wilson isn’t exactly shocking. The 29-year-old left-hander has posted outstanding numbers over 34 1/3 innings (2.36 ERA, 12.84 K/9, 3.41 BB/9) and would immediately become Boston’s top southpaw reliever, though Fernando Abad has held his own this season and Robby Scott has fared well against lefty-swingers. Wilson is making a highly affordable $2.7MM this season and comes with another year of arbitration eligibility.
- Continuing the Tigers theme, righty Michael Fulmer is the Detroit starter who’s garnering the most attention from pitcher-needy teams, per Cafardo. Considering Fulmer’s among the top young hurlers in the game and controllable for the foreeseable future, that’s not surprising. There’s no indication the Tigers will seriously consider moving Fulmer, who informed Evan Woodbery of MLive.com that he doesn’t expect to go anywhere. Nevertheless, one NL executive told Cafardo that GM Al Avila is at least entertaining the offers that come in for the 24-year-old. “I think Al is being forced to listen,” said the exec. “The Tigers could get a huge haul for Fulmer, but they’re trying to get their payroll down and get younger. Trading Fulmer is not necessarily the way to do it.”