Thanks to a recent surge that has helped them climb over the .500 mark, the Pirates have ruled out trading either outfielder Andrew McCutchen or utilityman Josh Harrison prior to the deadline, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (video link). However, they’re not necessarily going into the deadline as full-blown buyers. Rather, the team could both buy and sell, as it did last year, and is willing to listen to offers for complementary players such as left-handed setup man Tony Watson, righty reliever Juan Nicasio, third baseman David Freese and first baseman/outfielder John Jaso. As for starter Gerrit Cole, the likelihood is that he’ll stay put, though the Pirates could still entertain offers for him, per Rosenthal.
More from Rosenthal:
- The Astros appeared to be making a serious push for Athletics righty Sonny Gray at one point this week, but they’re not aggressively involved in the sweepstakes for the 27-year-old right now, according to Rosenthal (FanRag’s Jon Heyman issued a similar report Thursday). Given the recent success of starters Mike Fiers and Brad Peacock, Houston could pursue an elite reliever instead of another piece for its rotation, suggests Rosenthal, who adds that prospect Derek Fisher will likely take over in left field next month if the team doesn’t trade him. Baseball America’s 54th-ranked prospect, the 23-year-old has slashed .311/.380/.584 with 21 home runs and 16 steals across 375 Triple-A plate appearances this season. Fisher got his first taste of big league action last month and swatted two homers in just 21 trips to the plate.
- As one would expect, the Rangers will have an “awfully high” asking price for ace Yu Darvish if they do market him, relays Rosenthal. Even though Darvish is an impending free agent on a team that doesn’t look likely to make the playoffs, trading him isn’t as obvious as it might seem, contends Rosenthal. Not only do the Rangers “have an unusually close relationship” with the 30-year-old and a desire to keep him for the long haul, but retaining Darvish for the stretch run will give them a better chance to make up a 4.5-game deficit in the wild-card race. Also, they’d lose the ability to make Darvish a qualifying offer after after the season, which Rosenthal regards as a formality. The Rangers will net a pick after the second round if they issue Darvish a QO and he rejects it.
- If the Braves trade lefty Jaime Garcia, they might use the money they save by dealing him (up to $4.7MM) to acquire a controllable reliever, says Rosenthal, who lists the Orioles’ Brad Brach as a possibility. Brach may not be a realistic target, though, given that Orioles general manager Dan Duquette shot down the idea of trading veterans Saturday.