As an established veteran on a cellar-dwelling team, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu has come up often as a speculative trade candidate, but the club’s “strongly inclined” to retain him, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The 31-year-old hasn’t exactly boosted his trade value this season, having hit a career-worst .250/.312/.435 (101 wRC+, compared to 139 from 2014-17) and accounted for a replacement-level WAR across 407 plate appearances. Regardless of whether the White Sox keep Abreu, he’s slated to go through arbitration once more over the winter. In the meantime, he’s on a $13MM salary this season.
More trade-related items as the countdown to the July 31 deadline continues…
- The Brewers’ interest in Royals second baseman/outfielder Whit Merrifield has been known for a while, and Robert Murray of The Athletic (subscription required) explores the possibility of Milwaukee acquiring him. The Brewers haven’t pursued Merrifield as aggressively as they did during the winter, according to Murray, who hears he’d be rather expensive to pry out of Kansas City. Landing Merrifield would require “three higher-end prospects, at least,” an executive told Murray. Milwaukee happens to have a quality farm system, though it’s unlikely to trade its best prospect – second baseman Keston Hiura – suggests Murray, who goes on to run down farmhands the team could deal for Merrifield. The 29-year-old Merrifield has upped his stock during a terrific season in which he has hit .305/.375/.429 with five home runs and 17 steals through 412 PAs. Adding to his appeal, Merrifield’s on a near-minimum salary this season and won’t even be eligible for arbitration until after the 2019 campaign.
- The Red Sox sent a high-level executive, senior vice president of baseball operations Frank Wren, to scout the Royals–Twins game on Friday, per Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press. It’s unclear which players Wren focused on, though it’s worth pointing out that Boston has shown reported interest in both Merrifield and Royals teammate Mike Moustakas. And with the Twins likely to sell at the deadline, Buster Olney of ESPN doesn’t rule out the Red Sox pursuing second baseman Brian Dozier.
- Along with Baltimore’s closer, Zach Britton, the reliever-needy Dodgers are interested in Orioles setup man Brad Brach, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers have also scouted the Marlins and Rays and “monitored” Athletics closer Blake Treinen, Shaikin adds, though it seems improbable he’ll go anywhere with the A’s making a major push for a playoff spot. Conversely, as a pending free agent on a rebuilding team, the 32-year-old Brach is a good bet to end up in another uniform in the coming weeks. The problem for Baltimore is that Brach is in the midst of his least effective season in a while, with a 4.34 ERA/3.61 FIP and a 4.34 BB/9 in 37 1/3 innings. On the positive side, Brach has struck out upward of nine hitters per nine and generated swinging strikes at a solid clip (13.2 percent).