The Yankees showed interest in Mets second baseman Neil Walker before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The crosstown rivals actually had a deal for Walker in place, tweets Mike Puma of Newsday, but it fell through over medical concerns. Walker suffered a partially torn hamstring in mid-June and returned shortly before the deadline. At that point, the Yankees had recently lost second baseman Starlin Castro to a hamstring injury of his own, but he’s now nearing a rehab assignment, per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com (Twitter link). As for Walker, the impending free agent has already cleared revocable waivers this month, making him eligible for a trade, though he’s owed sizable sum (around $6MM) through season’s end.
- The Rangers don’t expect to reunite with Yu Darvish in free agency, suggests Heyman, who adds that they decided a couple days before the non-waiver deadline that they were going to trade the ace. Texas ended up dealing Darvish to the Dodgers right before the clock ran out. The Astros were a rumored Darvish suitor leading up to then, but they didn’t make a real effort to land him, reports Heyman.
- Speaking of the Astros, their talks with the Tigers regarding Justin Verlander are all but dead, per Heyman, which jibes with a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “It never got close,” a personal familiar with the discussions told Heyman, and that source expects Verlander to still be in a Tigers uniform when the 2018 season begins. Houston was unwilling to deal any of its best prospects for the expensive, aging Verlander (or any of its other deadline targets), but a Tigers official told Heyman, “You’re trading an icon, you’ve got to get something back.” The Astros have been conservative in terms of making acquisitions this summer, surely because a 71-42 team doesn’t need a ton of help, but GM Jeff Luhnow’s lack of bold moves has led to frustration within the organization, writes Heyman. Ace Dallas Keuchel voiced some displeasure immediately after the club’s quiet deadline (only scuffling lefty Francisco Liriano came aboard), and outfielder Josh Reddick followed suit Thursday in an interview with MLB Network Radio (Twitter link). Astros players were “down in the dumps” after the deadline, Reddick revealed.
- The Twins reportedly listened to offers for righty Ervin Santana in advance of the deadline, but their interest in dealing the solid mid-rotation starter was minimal, relays Heyman. Santana is under control through next season on fair $13.5MM salaries (his deal also features a $14MM club option for 2019), making it unlikely he’d go unclaimed on waivers this month, notes Heyman.
- Although GM Sandy Alderson is in the last year of his contract, people around the Mets expect him to return in 2018. There’s less certainty surrounding manager Terry Collins, who’s also in a contract year. Heyman lists Mets bench coach Dickie Scott, Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren (who previously held that post with the Mets) and Athletics third base coach Chip Hale as potential replacements for Collins if he’s not back next year.
- Meanwhile, both Pirates GM Neal Huntington and skipper Clint Hurdle appear safe. As long as the two want to return in 2018, the Pirates will exercise their options.
- The White Sox would like to deal veteran hurlers Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez and Tyler Clippard, which isn’t surprising considering they’re impending free agents on a rebuilding team. Given the seasons they’re having, Holland and Gonzalez probably won’t carry much appeal to rotation-needy contenders, though Clippard has put up six straight scoreless appearances out of Chicago’s bullpen. Across that seven-inning span, Clippard allowed three hits and three walks, with nine strikeouts. MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted Wednesday that Clippard’s a prime August trade candidate.
- The Diamondbacks were in on reliever Joe Smith before the Blue Jays dealt him to the Indians, but David Hernandez “seemed to be” Arizona’s top target, Heyman writes. The D-backs ended up acquiring Hernandez from the Angels, making this his second stint in Arizona. Hernandez has only thrown 2 2/3 innings in his return to the club, but they’ve been spotless (no runs, hits or walks allowed).