There’s no doubt the 2020 trade deadline will be the most unusual in baseball history, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required) looks at some of the many unique aspects of the lead-up to August 31. Everything about how teams evaluate their own rosters, decide on being buyers or sellers, scout other teams’ talent, and potentially spend to acquire that talent will be in flux, plus there are some factors unique to the threat of COVID-19.
For instance, there might have to be some back-channel negotiations with trade candidates to ensure that a player wouldn’t opt out of the season rather than be dealt to an undesirable location. Just the idea of changing locations whatsoever also carries issues, as Rosenthal notes that intake testing could delay a new acquisition’s arrival to his new team by a few days (no small amount of time in a shortened season), and there is inherent risk in travel and in introducing the health x-factor of an unfamiliar player into a new clubhouse.
In regards to the latter concern, agent Scott Boras contacted Rosenthal with the following message (Twitter link): “So that deadline deals are not impacted by COVID, I am letting all owners know if any of our players are traded and asked to leave their existing teams’ protocols, we have arranged a private jet protocol to allow players to be safely transported (between clubs).”
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- Rosenthal’s piece also notes that the Rangers have been getting trade interest in Lance Lynn, though a move doesn’t seem likely with Texas battling for a playoff spot. Lynn theoretically would be a good trade candidate if the Rangers were to fall out of the race, as the veteran is under contract for $8MM in 2021 and has been one of the sport’s best pitchers this season. After yesterday’s complete-game victory over the Rockies, Lynn has a sparkling 1.11 ERA, 3.00 K/BB rate, and 11.0 K/9 over a league-best 32 1/3 innings.
- Athletics reliever Burch Smith suffered a right forearm strain during Saturday’s game with the Giants. (Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was among those to report the news.) The hurler will undergo an MRI on Monday and an injured list placement seems inevitable, though the A’s are hopeful that the injury isn’t structural in nature. Smith allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings of work tonight, boosting his ERA to 2.25 after he delivered scoreless work over his previous 10 1/3 frames for Oakland. Smith was dealt from the Giants to the A’s back in February.
- Tommy Pham and Wil Myers both made early exits from the Padres’ game with the Diamondbacks tonight. Pham left during the second inning due to cramping in both calves, while Myers left in the fifth inning due to lower back tightness.
- White Sox prospect Jake Burger is now represented by The Bledsoe Agency, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). Picked 11th overall in the 2017 draft, Burger’s young career has been waylaid with injuries, as two torn Achilles tendons and a severe heel bruise have kept him off the field since 2017. Burger’s switch has been noted in MLB Trade Rumors’ updated Agency Database.