Though Sonny Gray has garnered most of the headlines in Athletics trade rumors, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Jed Lowrie, Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson are all drawing interest as well. The A’s are hoping to move Lowrie to clear a spot for prospect Franklin Barreto to play in the Majors on a full-time basis, she notes. Barreto is currently getting at-bats, but Oakland also has Marcus Semien on the mend and returning perhaps in a week or more. Doolittle and Madson are both in the midst of strong seasons, although the injury-prone Doolittle has been limited to 14 2/3 innings. Madson, meanwhile, looks even better than he did in his 2015 comeback; he’s averaging 9.8 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 with a 54.4 percent ground-ball rate, leading to a 2.35 ERA. Of course, he’s also earning $7.5MM this year and next, and his contract calls for incentives for finishing games, which could make the price even more steep. The Rangers, Cubs, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Braves and Astros have all been scouting Oakland recently, according to Slusser.
- Also via Morosi, Tigers catcher Alex Avila is “on the radar” of the Cubs and the Blue Jays. Avila has had a staggering turnaround in his return to Detroit, hitting a ridiculous .315/.431/.586 with 11 homers while earning just a $2MM salary on a one-year deal. While many fans are understandably skeptical of Avila’s turnaround, I’ll point out that Avila’s 57 percent hard-hit rate leads all players with at least 190 plate appearances, and he entered play Thursday tied with teammate J.D. Martinez for the third-highest average exit velocity in baseball (93.7 mph), trailing only Aaron Judge and Miguel Sano. Avila has always had a massive walk rate, as well, and that’s been the case once again in 2017 (16.4 percent). There’s some regression coming, of course, as even with his batted-ball profile he’s probably not going to sustain a .426 BABIP.