“This is the reality: there are a lot more sellers than buyers right now,” a club personnel director tells Peter Gammons in the writer’s latest piece for his Gammons Daily website. Not only are some teams still wondering if they can get back into the postseason race, other teams further back in the standings are looking to rebound in 2018 and thus won’t engage in full-scale selloffs at the deadline. It makes for a lot of speculation but little hard facts at this point in July. As one GM jokes, “the whole countdown to deadline day has become akin to stores putting Christmas decorations in their showcase windows on Labor Day.” Here are some hot stove items from Gammons…
- “The Cubs have called almost every team” in search of starting pitching, including asking the Tigers about Michael Fulmer and Daniel Norris. It would take a blockbuster offer for Detroit to eve consider moving Fulmer, as he has already displayed frontline-starter capabilities over his year and a half as a major leaguer, and he has yet to even reach his arbitration seasons. Norris would come at a lesser but still substantial price since he is controlled through 2022, though the southpaw has battled both injuries and inconsistency during his four years in the bigs. The Cubs are known to be looking for controllable young arms, and may be willing to deal from their surplus of young position players to do so.
- One Tigers pitcher that isn’t on the Cubs’ radar is Justin Verlander, as one Cubs official tells Gammons that “no one is going to pay $70MM for him, even though he may still be a very good pitcher.” Chicago reportedly at least asked about Verlander at one point, though with Detroit apparently wanting to both get top prospects and get Verlander’s salary off the books, it isn’t surprising that the Cubs’ interest in Verlander was described yesterday as “more smoke than fire” by the Detroit Free Press’ Anthony Fenech.
- Billy Beane told Gammons earlier this week that he hadn’t received any serious interest in Sonny Gray prior to last weekend, and the same goes for any serious calls about Jed Lowrie. The veteran infielder is thought to be a good target for teams in need of middle infield help and the Athletics to find lineup space for prospect Franklin Barreto, though it appears that Lowrie’s market has yet to develop with over three weeks still to go until the deadline. MLBTR’s Connor Byrne examined Lowrie, Gray and other Oakland trade candidates in a Taking Inventory piece earlier today.
- Returning to Gammons’ original point about teams not wanting rebuild when they feel they have a chance in 2018, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said that his team isn’t likely to trade young right-hander Gerrit Cole. “We haven’t had a real conversation about Gerrit, and I don’t see us doing so,” Huntington said. “We think we can be serious contenders next year….Our goal is to maintain a level of competitiveness every year, and not to have to jump back and build all over again.”