There’s a belief among some rival evaluators that the Rangers will trade ace Yu Darvish by the July 31 deadline if they don’t believe they’ll be able to re-sign the impending free agent, reports Buster Olney of ESPN.com. With Texas unsure of whether it’ll be able to retain Darvish long term, there’s at least one starter-needy team waiting to make a move until it sees whether the Rangers shop him. Consequently, the possibility of a Darvish trade is affecting the market for starters and “muddying the waters” for the AL West rival Athletics in their quest to deal Sonny Gray, writes Olney.
- Given that the Marlins’ ownership situation is in limbo, their baseball department isn’t in proper position to weigh offers for outfielders Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich, according to Olney. Moving either could make the Marlins more appealing to potential bidders because their contracts factor into the franchise’s heavy debt, though Olney notes that trading a superstar like Stanton might sabotage the rebranding effort of the next owner. And if Jeffrey Loria’s successor signs off on a Stanton trade, the team’s fan base could see it as a typical Marlins cost-cutting maneuver.
- First baseman Carlos Santana’s down season may help explain the Indians’ interest in slugging outfielders J.D. Martinez and Jay Bruce, suggests Olney. The Tribe missed out on acquiring Martinez, whom the Tigers sent to the Diamondbacks this week, but the Mets’ Bruce remains a prime trade candidate. It’s unclear whether Bruce would play first for the Indians, who have seen Santana slump to a .238/.335/.406 batting line in 397 plate appearances during a contract year. Cleveland could acquire a natural first baseman instead, with Olney pointing out that Texas’ Mike Napoli (a former Indian) and Oakland’s Yonder Alonso may end up elsewhere.
- It’s a buyers’ market this year as the deadline approaches, so a successful return for sellers could depend more on how much salary they shed than the quality of prospects they acquire, per Olney. As an example, Olney points to the trade Miami and Seattle made this week. The Marlins received four prospects for reliever David Phelps and got rid of his $4.6MM salary in the process, but only one of those minor leaguers (outfielder Brayan Hernandez) looks particularly promising. The quantity of prospects the Marlins picked up isn’t impressing rival evaluators, as some of them believe landing four players was done to make the package look better than it actually is.