Teams around the league are waiting for the Cardinals to give a clear indication that they intend to trade right-hander Lance Lynn, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The impending free agent is among the most sought-after assets in a thin market for starting pitching, Olney adds. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests, though, that the Cardinals haven’t exactly made Lynn’s availability a secret. St. Louis is “in the process of generating a market and offers” for Lynn, according to Goold, though they’re also still trying to acquire a bat to put in the middle of their lineup. Goold speculates that once Sonny Gray is finally traded, other clubs may then pivot to the Redbirds and make their best offer for Lynn, who hasn’t had any substantive talks with Cardinals brass about an extension. The Yankees have interest in Lynn, per Goold, who also notes that the Dodgers and Indians have scouted St. Louis recently. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Royals have also had recent talks with the Cardinals about Lynn.
More trade rumblings with the non-waiver deadline now less than 72 hours away…
- Yu Darvish is still the Dodgers’ top target, but the team isn’t likely to surrender any of its “very top prospects” in order to pry him away from the Rangers, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Dodgers view Sonny Gray as a fallback option for Darvish, who is also drawing interest from the Yankees, Cubs and Astros, according to Heyman.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Giants are open to moving Hunter Strickland but feel that the vast number of relief options available on the trade market could prevent them from extracting max value. As such, San Francisco may simply elect to hold onto the 28-year-old with the intent of pairing him with Mark Melancon, a returning Will Smith and a seemingly rejuvenated Sam Dyson at the back of the bullpen in 2018. (On a somewhat related note, MLBTR recently ran down the trade market for right-handed relievers and for left-handed relievers.)
- Also from Crasnick (Twitter link), the Braves are listening to offers for right-hander Jim Johnson, though they’re not actively trying to move the veteran, either. The 34-year-old is playing out the first season of a two-year, $10MM extension inked last October. He’s worked to a 4.10 ERA through 41 2/3 frames, albeit with a career-high 10.8 K/9 that has contributed to a more encouraging 3.21 SIERA mark. Johnson’s 50.5 percent ground-ball rate is the lowest of his career, though, and his 3.2 BB/9 represents his highest mark since a brutal 2014 season.
- The Cubs have been oft-connected to Tigers catcher Alex Avila as they seek to acquire a more experienced backup option to young Willson Contreras, but MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that Avila is one of many names on the Cubs’ list. He’s not a priority for the Cubs, per Rosenthal, who adds that Chicago is seeking more of a defense-first upgrade. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that Chicago could be in on Marlins veteran A.J. Ellis as a possible option. Among the catchers that are likely to be available, Rene Rivera may well have the best defensive reputation.
- Newsday’s Marc Carig tweets that teams have continued to call the Mets on the availability of left-hander Jerry Blevins, but GM Sandy Alderson and his staff aren’t keen on moving the 33-year-old. Blevins is viewed by the Mets as an important piece to the team’s 2018 plans, per Carig. Blevins is much more of a specialist than fellow southpaw trade candidates Justin Wilson and Brad Hand, having limited same-handed opponents to a putrid .173/.230/.185 batting line. Conversely, right-handed opponents have absolutely clobbered Blevins (.316/.469/.632) through 49 plate appearances. He’s earning $5.5MM i 2017 and has a $7MM club option for the 2018 campaign.