Scouts from at least a dozen teams watched Zack Wheeler’s start on Tuesday, SNY.tv’s Andy Martino reports. There’s enough interest in Wheeler that the feeling is “he should net a top 10 prospect and more” for the Mets, and he “could move any minute,” as Martino puts it. Beyond the Yankees and Reds, who were already known to be looking at Wheeler, the list of interested parties also included such clubs as the Rangers, Mariners, and Red Sox. It isn’t any surprise that contenders like Seattle and Boston are checking in, though the Sox may have already addressed their rotation need with their acquisition of Nathan Eovaldi earlier today. Texas is an interesting name, as the Rangers could’ve been doing their due diligence or (since Wheeler is under control through 2019) considering making an early move to upgrade next year’s pitching staff, which will be a clear offseason need for the club.
Here are more rumblings from around baseball as we’re less than a week away from the trade deadline…
- “Something extreme would have to happen for us to consider moving [Bryce Harper],” Nationals GM Mike Rizzo told Joel Sherman of the New York Post. While short of an outright denial, it doesn’t seem like a Harper trade is even a longshot possibility for the Nats. If anything, Rizzo said the team is still looking to add (in the form of starting pitching and a catcher), though Sherman notes that the general manager didn’t rule out the possibility of eventually selling some impending free agents if Washington can’t get back into the pennant race. Such moves would be lower-level veterans and not Harper, as Sherman runs through the rather limited and difficult market the Nationals would face if they did make him available.
- Dodgers scouts have been watching Tigers closer Shane Greene both before and after Greene’s recent DL stint, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. Greene only missed 12 days due to some minor shoulder inflammation, and has since pitched in five games. He has posted solid numbers (4.19 ERA, 9.63 K/9, 2.3 BB/9) despite some issues with allowing home runs (1.5 HR/9). Kenley Jansen obviously isn’t going anywhere as the Dodgers’ ninth inning arm, so Greene would bolster the Los Angeles setup corps.
- Also from Fenech’s piece, he reports that a Red Sox executive was recently in attendance to see Francisco Liriano in action, and notes that Liriano could be a fit as a left-hander out of Boston’s bullpen. The Sox are currently going with eight right-handed relievers, with southpaws Bobby Poyner, Robby Scott, and Williams Jerez down at Triple-A, all of whom are far less experienced than a veteran arm like Liriano. While Liriano has struggled overall as a starting pitcher for the Tigers this year, he has dominated left-handed hitters and would fit as a LOOGY in a return to relief work.
- The Braves have a lot of trade options to consider, chiefly in adding starting and/or relief pitching, as MLB.com’s Mark Bowman explores in an overview of the team’s deadline plans. If Atlanta does look for hitting, there is some speculation that Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos could be a target, as Detroit has had scouts looking at the Braves farm system (though the Braves’ past interest in Michael Fulmer surely also played a role in those evaluations). Castellanos may be available, if not outright shopped, in trade talks, though the Tigers have put a high asking price on the slugger.
- Kyle Gibson could emerge as part of the talks between the Twins and Brewers, MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi tweets, should the two teams expand their negotiations beyond just infielders. Milwaukee was in need of pitching even before recent bad injury news about Brent Suter and Zach Davies, and adding a controllable (through 2019) pitcher in the midst of a strong season like Gibson would be a major boost to the Brew Crew’s rotation. Adding Gibson to the mix might help Minnesota get a better return in a trade, as Brian Dozier and Eduardo Escobar are only rental players.