As we head into the final weekend before the trade deadline, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Trade season continues:
With trade season in full swing, the deals and rumors kept coming yesterday, highlighted by a pair of intradivision swaps: the Pirates dealt first baseman Carlos Santana to the NL Central-leading Brewers while the Mets officially began their selloff by shipping closer David Robertson to the Marlins. A pair of big names also entered the rumor mill yesterday, as reports surfaced that the Padres are willing to listen to offers on superstar Juan Soto and the Dodgers have discussed a deal for third baseman Nolan Arenado with the Cardinals. And, while it at one point looked like the Cards might extend closer Jordan Hicks rather than trade him, talks on a new contract have apparently not progressed. With just four days until the deadline on August 1, who will be traded next?
2. Giolito to make Angels debut:
After being dealt to the west coast alongside relief arm Reynaldo Lopez in exchange for two prospects, right-hander Lucas Giolito is poised to make his first start as a member of the Angels this evening. He’ll take the mound against Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman to kick off a series that could have a major impact on the state of the AL Wild Card race. The Blue Jays currently hold the third and final spot with a 57-46 record that puts them three games ahead of Anaheim prior to their three-game set. The outcome of this series could be impactful not only for the Blue Jays and Angels, but also for the Red Sox and Yankees. Both clubs sit between Toronto and Anaheim in the standings, 1.5 games and 2.5 games out of the final Wild Card spot, respectively.
3. Freeland to return:
Rockies southpaw Kyle Freeland is expected to be activated from the 15-day injured list today to take the ball in this evening’s start against the A’s at Coors Field. Freeland made his major league debut in 2017 and posted a pair of excellent seasons to kick off his major league career, with a 3.39 ERA (143 ERA+) and 4.06 FIP in 358 1/3 innings. In the following years, however, he’s had the look of a back-of-the-rotation arm rather than a clear playoff-caliber rotation piece, with an exactly league average ERA+ of 100 since the start of the 2019 season. This season, Freeland sports a 4.72 ERA (107 ERA+) in 19 starts for the Rockies. His return should bring some stability to a Rockies rotation that currently includes Austin Gomber, Chase Anderson, and Peter Lambert.