- The Cards will be looking for a middle-of-the-lineup slugger this winter to boost the lineup. “For us, we have a talented team, but when you look at our club, no one stood out as an All-Star, that threat,” president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. Seven Cards regulars were above-average run-creators in 2017 as per the wRC+ metric, though injuries and a lack of regular playing time impacted that group. Josh Donaldson has been rumored to be one of the Cardinals’ offseason targets, and would certainly fit the bill as a big lineup upgrade if St. Louis is able to pry him away from the Blue Jays.
- With Trevor Rosenthal sidelined by Tommy John surgery, the Cards will look into adding ninth-inning help, even if they’re wary of shopping at the high end of the free agent closer market. “Ideally, you don’t pay retail for closers if you can avoid it, and we’ve been lucky for the last long period of not having to dip into that end of the market. But we don’t have an heir apparent at the moment, so we will have to evaluate what our options are,” GM Michael Girsch said.
- Flexibility seems to be the key word for this Cardinals’ offseason, as with so many multi-positional players on the roster, the club has several options in deciding who could potentially stay or go. (And who could be added, in regards to acquiring that big bat.) Mozeliak said that catcher Yadier Molina is the only position player who has his spot on the field firmly established for 2018. This means that Dexter Fowler could potentially move out of center field, which Mozeliak said will likely be discussed in the coming weeks. 2016 was the only season of Fowler’s career that saw him post positive numbers in the Defensive Runs Saved and UZR/150 categories, as he struggled to minus-18 DRS and -9.9 UZR/150 last year over 933 1/3 IP in center field.
- The Cardinals have yet to decide whether or not to issue a qualifying offer to free agent starter Lance Lynn. If Lynn rejected the QO, the Cards would be in line for compensation (an extra draft pick just prior to the third round) if he signed elsewhere. If he accepted, then he’d return to St. Louis on a one-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $18.1MM. After missing all of 2016 due to Tommy John surgery, Lynn returned to post very solid numbers this season and pitched 186 1/3 innings, which could quiet concerns about his post-surgery durability. Even with such a major recent injury on his record, Lynn is likely to find a good multi-year deal on the open market, so one would think he’d reject a QO.
The Cubs’ clubhouse celebration after clinching the NL Central included some telling comments from Jon Lester, who proclaimed that John Lackey had made “probably his last regular-season start. Here’s to one hell of a career!” before toasting his longtime teammate. (USA Today’s Bob Nightengale has the details.) This is the first open acknowledgement that Lackey is heading towards retirement after the season. Lackey’s two-year, $32MM contract is up once the Cubs conclude their postseason run, and he turns 39 in October. He struggled to a 4.56 ERA over 169 2/3 innings thanks in large part to problems with the long ball, as Lackey surrendered a league-high 36 homers and a career-high 18.3% home run rate. Still, Lackey has enjoyed a tremendous 15 seasons in the big leagues and, coming out of the Cubs bullpen in the playoffs, he’ll look to collect his fourth World Series ring.
Here’s more from around baseball as we head into the final weekend of the regular season…
- The Cardinals don’t expect extensions with any of their upcoming free agents before the season is over, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. This includes Lance Lynn, whose representatives haven’t had any in-depth talks with the club about a new deal. When asked if Thursday’s start could be his last with the Cardinals, Lynn said it “certainly looks that way.” Lynn looks to be one of the top pitchers available in this year’s free agent market, and it appears he’ll be departing a Cards rotation that will mostly be relying on promising younger arms in 2018.
- Also from Goold’s article, he reports that the Cardinals have been in touch with Juan Nicasio about a new deal. Nicasio came to St. Louis after a rather surprising series of transactions that saw the right-hander waived by the Pirates, claimed by the Phillies and then dealt to the Cards all within a week’s time at the end of August and in early September. No matter the uniform, Nicasio pitched well, posting a 2.65 ERA, 3.55 K/BB rate and 71 strikeouts over 71 1/3 innings for his three teams, making a league-high 75 appearances. The Cardinals have clearly liked what they’ve seen in their short time with Nicasio on the roster and may be trying to lock Nicasio up before he hits the open market.
- There is mutual interest between the Giants and Nick Hundley in a new contract, though Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle observes that it might hinge on how much playing time Hundley is able to find elsewhere from a catching-needy team. Obviously, anything more than a backup role isn’t an option in San Francisco with Buster Posey locked in as the regular catcher. Hundley hit .246/.276/.425 over 296 PA with the Giants while becoming a big voice in the team’s clubhouse.
The Cardinals’ trade of right-hander Mike Leake didn’t go over well with his now-former teammates, writes Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I said, ’Is this a joke?’ … It was shocking to all of us,” outfielder Tommy Pham tells Hummel, describing the moment he learned of the news. Right-hander Lance Lynn’s comments suggested a bit of frustration as well: “If you look at everything that’s happened so far, there’s been no acquisitions (by the Cardinals).”
Lynn also further addressed the lack of extension talks between the Cardinals and his agents. “I’m sure whenever the time comes — when the World Series is over and five days after, I’m sure somebody will talk to me,” said Lynn. “…They’ve had a whole season. Five days isn’t going to matter. But I just work here.” Cards fans will definitely want to check out the full column for more player quotes as well as notes on Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha.
A bit more out of St. Louis…
- The Cardinals have collected an abundance of outfield talent in the minors and could potentially trade from that depth this winter, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re not going to have enough room at the inn,” said president of baseball operations John Mozeliak of his organization’s outfield depth. “That is something we, as an organization, are going to have to take a very hard look at this offseason and decide what makes the most sense.” St. Louis was reportedly open to considering trades involving Randal Grichuk and Stephen Piscotty prior to the non-waiver trade deadline. Their minor league ranks include Magneuris Sierra, Harrison Bader, recently acquired Tyler O’Neill, international signee/former Cuban pro Randy Arozarena as well as the much-improved Oscar Mercado, whose stock has risen considerably in 2017, Goold notes as part of his in-depth look at the team’s outfield stockpile. St. Louis is known to be seeking an impact bat for the middle of the lineup and, more speculatively speaking, could also pursue rotation help (especially if Lynn departs) and bullpen arms.
- Right-hander Luke Weaver has impressed the Cardinals this month and looks more and more like a long-term asset in St. Louis, writes MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. While he was initially stepping into the spot of the injured Wainwright, the trade of Leake now creates a potential long-term opening for Weaver, who has turned in 29 innings with a 2.48 ERA, 11.1 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent ground-ball rate. Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun sang Weaver’s praises when speaking with Langosch after facing him in two separate games this month. And, asked if Weaver will hold a rotation spot through season’s end, Cards skipper Mike Matheny replied, “There’s no reason he shouldn’t be here.”
In the wake of today’s Mike Leake trade, some have wondered whether the Cardinals might be more inclined to bring back fellow right-hander Lance Lynn, who’s set to reach free agency this fall. But Lynn himself suggested that, at a minimum, that’s hardly an inevitability. As Chris Lee of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, the veteran hurler says there has “been zero communication” between his camp and the Cards’ front office about a new contract. You’ll want to read all of his comments for yourself, but it certainly did not sound as if the 30-year-old is entirely sanguine about the chances of a reunion.
- It’s worth noting, too, that Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak has emphasized a desire to rely on the team’s younger arms in explaining the Leake swap, as Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com tweets. That would seem to suggest that Luke Weaver and others factor prominently in the club’s plans for 2018 (and, of course, beyond). Mozeliak covered a few of the up-and-coming hurlers in his comments today, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch covers in his story on the trade.
- Nationals star Bryce Harper does not seem to be making much headway in his effort to return from his recent knee injury, as Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com reports (Twitter links). Harper says he suffered not only a bone bruise but also a strained calf, while indicating some concern with the fact that there’s not much time left in the regular season. Skipper Dusty Baker acknowledged that Harper is still “a long way of running,” adding that the club will give Jayson Werth some time in right field in case Harper isn’t ready for the postseason.
- The Giants have at least some level of interest in Tigers outfielder Justin Upton, according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network (links to Twitter). Trouble is, San Francisco (quite understandably) would only want to deal for Upton if it can be assured that he won’t exercise his opt-out clause and head out onto the open market this fall. Upton will be deciding between another foray into free agency and the $88.5MM over four years still left on his contract. It seems unlikely that he’ll be inclined to tip his hand on that call, let alone pre-commit, so it’s hard to imagine how a deal could come together. The Giants, after all, won’t want to sacrifice value to rent Upton in a lost season. And the Tigers would surely rather deal him in the offseason or offer him a qualifying offer (if he opts out) than give him away for nothing. Of course, San Francisco could still pursue Upton in trade or free agency after the season if he ends up remaining with Detroit through the end of the season.
- Another Mets pitcher has suffered a significant injury, though he is not a major leaguer. Prospect Jordan Humphreys has undergone Tommy John surgery, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo (via Twitter). The 21-year-old landed with the Mets as an 18th-round pick, but impressed this year at the Class A level, throwing 69 2/3 innings of 1.55 ERA ball with 10.3 K/9 against 1.2 BB/9. He had just been promoted to High-A before hitting the shelf. MLB.com recently rated Humphreys the organization’s 15th-best prospect.
The Cardinals “float[ed]” a trade proposal for Sonny Gray before the Athletics shipped him to the Yankees, according to MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal. In concept, at least, St. Louis would have considered sending young outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland along with a promising starter (Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty), though it seems talks never got going. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks closer at the Cards’ lack of action on deadline day. Top baseball decisionmaker John Mozeliak acknowledged “a level of frustration” that nothing got done, though he also said the team wasn’t inclined to make deals just for the sake of action. Ultimately, momentum never built toward a deal for Lance Lynn, and the club’s other chatter never materialized into a trade. You’ll want to peruse the lengthy column for all the details.
Here are some more post-deadline links of note:
- The Dodgers’ acquisition of Yu Darvish came together quite late, as Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports explains in fascinating detail. It became apparent the Dodgers wouldn’t get Zach Britton from the Orioles within a half hour of the deadline, but the team had already “abandoned hope” of landing Darvish. The Rangers, meanwhile, had run through their alternative trade partners for the ace righty and found none availing. The paths of the two organizations converged just twenty minutes before the deadline. You’ll certainly want to give the story a full read; Texas fans will also want to check out this piece from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News on the team’s unannounced but still-evident rebuilding path.
- In the end, there just wasn’t that much demand in the marketplace for Darvish, Rosenthal also notes — so much so that the Dodgers were nearly in position to land both Darvish from the Rangers and lefty Zach Britton from the Orioles. That said, there was “some overlap” between the prospects in both potential deals, and it obviously would’ve required a steep overall price to get both arms. Instead, Los Angeles added two different lefties, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani.
- As regards Britton, Rosenthal had some stern words for how things played out. The Orioles spurned not only the Dodgers but likely also the Astros. For Baltimore, the deadline approach “was disturbingly short-sighted,” by Rosenthal’s reckoning. And when Houston wasn’t able to find another top-end arm, says Rosenthal, its body of deadline work became a “lost opportunity.” It does seem worth bearing in mind, particularly regarding the Astros, that the August trade period appears to be full of opportunities for making further moves if the need is there.
- Over in Toronto, the Blue Jays ended up holding onto righty Marco Estrada and then watched him turn in a strong outing last night. As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca writes, Jays GM Ross Atkins suggested yesterday that the organization may yet see Estrada as a part of the team’s future — though his contract is up at year’s end and he perhaps remains a plausible August trade piece. With Estrada remaining in Toronto through the deadline, said Atkins, “we’ll start thinking about not only how he impacts us now, but how he can potentially impact us beyond 2017.”
- Be sure also to check out the trade deadline rundown from Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, who assesses some winners and losers from the day’s action. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney also issued deadline grades in an Insider piece.
- With the Braves holding on deadline day, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman takes stock of the months to come. Second baseman Brandon Phillips, reliever Jim Johnson, and starter R.A. Dickey could all be possible August trade chips, he notes, while the inclination of the organization remains to consider deals involving first baseman Matt Adams over the offseason. Meanwhile, Atlanta continues its long-standing pursuit of controllable pitching, though that’ll surely await the end of the current season.
The Nationals have been linked to a variety of relievers even after adding two veterans earlier this month, and Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post tweets that the pursuit continues in earnest today. While it seems a variety of hurlers could be of interest, adding a pitcher capable of taking on closing duties remains a “priority,” per the report. Washington has been connected to Brandon Kintzler of the Twins today, along with a long list of other pitchers.
Here’s some more midday chatter as the non-waiver deadline looms:
- Some Dodgers front office folks would like to see the club come away with a “wipeout left-handed reliever” today, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. That has been noted as a strong priority over recent weeks, of course, though the club has also been said to be eyeing top-tier starting pitching as well. At this point, it would seem, Zach Britton of the Orioles is the likeliest target among lefty pen pieces, though it’s still unclear whether he’ll end up being moved.
- There’s industry chatter linking the Indians to Cardinals righty Lance Lynn, Olney tweets — a connection that was made a few days ago as well. And Cleveland also has some interest in discussing some of the excess young outfielders on the St. Louis roster, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds on Twitter. The Cards are said to be willing to listen on some such position players — in particular, Tommy Pham and Randal Grichuk. It’s not immediately clear, though, whether the sides are engaged in earnest today.
- The Angels have been rumored to be looking at second basemen of late, and recently spoke with the Giants about Joe Panik, per Olney (via Twitter). But those talks evidently did not materialize into anything the sides found worthy of further pursuit, and there’s no indication that Panik is in play today.
- Both the Cubs and Red Sox appear to have made their moves at this point, per reports from Olney (via Twitter) and Sean McAdam of the Boston Sports Journal (Twitter link). Chicago is, however, still keeping an eye out for controllable pitching depth, while Boston will also “monitor [the] market” up until the deadline.
With two days left before the deadline, here’s the latest on the market for Athletics starter Sonny Gray, with the most recent updates at the top.
- Gray to the Yankees is “somewhere between likely to inevitable,” according to Sherman, who reports that the trade could happen Sunday. An executive who has been involved in Gray talks told Sherman that the Yankees are “holding firm” in what they’re willing to offer because they’re not convinced there are any other serious bidders. In case their negotiations with the A’s collapse, the Yankees are discussing starters with other teams as fallback options, per Sherman.
- Neither the Astros nor Brewers are “serious players for Gray,” writes MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal, who adds that the Braves and Cubs also don’t look likely to acquire him. The Dodgers are the biggest threat to the Yankees in this sweepstakes, but Gray isn’t LA’s main focus, per Rosenthal. With that in mind, Rosenthal expects the Yankees to land Gray, though it might not happen until Monday. Gray to the Bronx makes sense, opines Rosenthal, who notes that the Yankees need answers in their rotation beyond this year (only Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery are locks to return in 2018) and want to get under the $197MM luxury-tax threshold next season. Acquiring the affordable Gray would help them on both fronts.
- Heyman, Sherman, Bob Nightengale of USA Today and Buster Olney of ESPN (on Twitter) each report that the A’s and Yankees are making progress in Gray talks. There’s “optimism” a deal will happen, per Nightengale.
- As expected, Oakland has pushed Gray’s next start from Sunday to Monday, reports Joe Stiglich of NBC Sports California (Twitter link).
- The A’s talks centering on Gray have been heavier with the Yankees than any other team over the past 48 hours, per Morosi (Twitter link).
- Gray will, in fact, skip his start tomorrow if he hasn’t been traded by then, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. Bob Klapisch of USA Today previously tweeted that the A’s were likely to pull Gray from his scheduled start tomorrow due to requests from teams interested in trading for him.
- The Yankees’ reluctance to part with Torres or Frazier is not currently holding up talks with the A’s about Gray, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The two sides are currently discussing other players and still have not reached an agreement. In fact, Morosi tweets that the A’s prefer another Yankees prospect, Estevan Florial, to Frazier because of his center field defense.
- Only after the A’s trade Gray will there be a flurry of activity surrounding other starters, Jon Morosi writes for MLB.com. Teams in the pitching market are primarily seeking multiyear assets like Gray rather than rentals, Morosi writes. That means there are more teams interested in Gray than in rentals like Yu Darvish or Lance Lynn.
- The Brewers and Athletics have hit an impasse in their discussions about Gray, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets. The hangup, it seems, is that the A’s want top young outfielder Lewis Brinson, and the Brewers don’t want to trade him. Brinson arrived last winter in the Jonathan Lucroy deal and made his big-league debut last month.
- The Yankees still have interest in Gray, but are now looking to rental options like Darvish, Lynn and Jaime Garcia, FanRag’s Jon Heyman writes. (A report earlier today also connected the Yankees to Dan Straily.) As was previously reported, the Yankees do not want to part with Gleyber Torres or Clint Frazier. Still, teams expect Gray to be traded before Sunday, when he’s scheduled to start.
- The Yankees “might take” first baseman Yonder Alonso to help “facilitate” a Gray deal, but they aren’t currently focused on first base, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick writes (Twitter links). If the Athletics don’t reduce their price for Gray, the Yankees are prepared to look elsewhere. To state the obvious, Alonso is a terrific asset in his own right, and does not fit the profile of a player a team would take merely to facilitate a trade. The first baseman is batting .262/.360/.525 with 21 home runs this season.
The American League-leading Astros have shown interest in a bevy of starting pitchers leading up to Monday’s trade deadline, and the latest is Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn, tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network. While the teams were recently embroiled in a hacking scandal that resulted in Major League Baseball forcing the Cardinals to send two draft picks and pay a $2MM fine to the Astros, the clubs are “comfortable” dealing with each other, per Morosi.
As Morosi points out (on Twitter), Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow is quite familiar with Lynn, having been in St. Louis’ front office when the team used a first-round pick on the hurler in the 2008 draft. Lynn has enjoyed a nice career with the Cardinals since debuting in 2011, but with his contract up at year’s end and the Redbirds sitting at 51-52 (3.5 games out of the National League Central lead and seven back of a wild-card spot), he could move in the next couple days.
With the exception of 2016, which he missed on account of Tommy John surgery, the 30-year-old Lynn has typically been good for 30-plus starts and at least 175 innings of strong work per season. That has been the case again this year in his return from the procedure, as Lynn has logged a 3.21 ERA, 7.98 K/9, 3.06 BB/9 and a 44 percent ground-ball rate across 120 2/3 frames (21 starts). Lynn has also registered an 11 percent infield fly rate, which ties him for 20th among starters, and posted a 9.1 percent swinging-strike mark that’s right in line with his career mark (9.2). Additionally, per Statcast (via Baseball Savant), Lynn’s terrific .305 expected weighted on-base average against is in line with his actual wOBA allowed (.298).
On the negative side, Lynn’s velocity hasn’t gotten back to its previous levels, and there’s some luckiness behind his stellar run prevention. FIP (4.83), xFIP (4.45) and SIERA (4.39) indicate there could be regression coming, and both Lynn’s .225 batting average on balls in play and 82.3 percent strand rate look likely to trend in the wrong direction as the season progresses.
Regardless of any red flags, Lynn’s track record and results this year have put him on several teams’ radars as Monday approaches. If the Astros win the derby for the $7.5MM man, he’d presumably join Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers and Charlie Morton to comprise their top four starters, though Brad Peacock and Mike Fiers have pitched so well out of their rotation over the past couple months that it would be unwise to discount them.
Teams around the league are waiting for the Cardinals to give a clear indication that they intend to trade right-hander Lance Lynn, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. The impending free agent is among the most sought-after assets in a thin market for starting pitching, Olney adds. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch suggests, though, that the Cardinals haven’t exactly made Lynn’s availability a secret. St. Louis is “in the process of generating a market and offers” for Lynn, according to Goold, though they’re also still trying to acquire a bat to put in the middle of their lineup. Goold speculates that once Sonny Gray is finally traded, other clubs may then pivot to the Redbirds and make their best offer for Lynn, who hasn’t had any substantive talks with Cardinals brass about an extension. The Yankees have interest in Lynn, per Goold, who also notes that the Dodgers and Indians have scouted St. Louis recently. MLB.com’s Jon Morosi tweets that the Royals have also had recent talks with the Cardinals about Lynn.
More trade rumblings with the non-waiver deadline now less than 72 hours away…
- Yu Darvish is still the Dodgers’ top target, but the team isn’t likely to surrender any of its “very top prospects” in order to pry him away from the Rangers, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The Dodgers view Sonny Gray as a fallback option for Darvish, who is also drawing interest from the Yankees, Cubs and Astros, according to Heyman.
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that the Giants are open to moving Hunter Strickland but feel that the vast number of relief options available on the trade market could prevent them from extracting max value. As such, San Francisco may simply elect to hold onto the 28-year-old with the intent of pairing him with Mark Melancon, a returning Will Smith and a seemingly rejuvenated Sam Dyson at the back of the bullpen in 2018. (On a somewhat related note, MLBTR recently ran down the trade market for right-handed relievers and for left-handed relievers.)
- Also from Crasnick (Twitter link), the Braves are listening to offers for right-hander Jim Johnson, though they’re not actively trying to move the veteran, either. The 34-year-old is playing out the first season of a two-year, $10MM extension inked last October. He’s worked to a 4.10 ERA through 41 2/3 frames, albeit with a career-high 10.8 K/9 that has contributed to a more encouraging 3.21 SIERA mark. Johnson’s 50.5 percent ground-ball rate is the lowest of his career, though, and his 3.2 BB/9 represents his highest mark since a brutal 2014 season.
- The Cubs have been oft-connected to Tigers catcher Alex Avila as they seek to acquire a more experienced backup option to young Willson Contreras, but MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that Avila is one of many names on the Cubs’ list. He’s not a priority for the Cubs, per Rosenthal, who adds that Chicago is seeking more of a defense-first upgrade. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets that Chicago could be in on Marlins veteran A.J. Ellis as a possible option. Among the catchers that are likely to be available, Rene Rivera may well have the best defensive reputation.
- Newsday’s Marc Carig tweets that teams have continued to call the Mets on the availability of left-hander Jerry Blevins, but GM Sandy Alderson and his staff aren’t keen on moving the 33-year-old. Blevins is viewed by the Mets as an important piece to the team’s 2018 plans, per Carig. Blevins is much more of a specialist than fellow southpaw trade candidates Justin Wilson and Brad Hand, having limited same-handed opponents to a putrid .173/.230/.185 batting line. Conversely, right-handed opponents have absolutely clobbered Blevins (.316/.469/.632) through 49 plate appearances. He’s earning $5.5MM i 2017 and has a $7MM club option for the 2018 campaign.
In his Inside Baseball column today, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag takes a look at some of the most important remaining trade deadline scenarios. He also runs down some news and notes from both the American League and National League. Among the highlights with relevance to the trade market:
- The Royals remain on the hunt for rotation help even after netting Trevor Cahill, Heyman writes. (That much may be evidenced by their apparent talks for Francisco Liriano, which are reportedly progressing.) Heyman notes that Kansas City even called the Athletics on Sonny Gray and the Rangers on Yu Darvish, though the team was realistic about the fact that it doesn’t have much of a chance of outbidding the competition for either player.
- If the Cardinals ultimately make Lance Lynn available, the Yankees would have interest in the right-hander, though Sonny Gray remains New York’s top target. Lynn is a free agent at season’s end, and as such wouldn’t help fill any of the upcoming voids in the Yankees’ rotation after the 2017 season.
- The Braves have scouted Gray more than any team in the league, per Heyman, though they’re not currently believed to be the favorite to land him. Heyman notes that the money saved in the Jaime Garcia deal could help facilitate the acquisition of Gray, which is a suggestion that has been made in recent days. It seems worth bearing in mind, though, that Gray is only earning $3.575MM in 2017. Plus, any financial crunch the Braves had would only have been present due to the fact that the team acquired Garcia (and Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey) as stopgaps in the first place.
- Starting pitching remains a target area for the Rockies after picking up Pat Neshek in a trade, and Colorado even considered Darvish as an option, though the Rockies are unsurprisingly on Darvish’s no-trade list. (That’s not a knock on the Rockies by any means, but I’d imagine that most pitchers, if given the opportunity, would want to safeguard themselves from being traded to pitch at Coors Field.)
- Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is more willing to part with top prospects in order to land Sonny Gray than his front office is, according to Heyman. General manager David Stearns and his staff are reluctant to part with the club’s very top prospects, and Attanasio has been deferring to the preferences of his baseball operations staff. The Athletics are eyeing center field prospect Lewis Brinson, Heyman continues, but it seems that the Brewers’ front office isn’t keen on parting with that level of talent.
- It’s been reported that the Mets are likely to hang onto lefty Jerry Blevins, and Heyman notes that GM Sandy Alderson’s rationale is that if he traded Blevins, he’d merely be looking to fill that void with a free agent in a market where most relievers will enter the offseason seeking three-year deals. (Of course, that logic could also be used to argue that Blevins’ value is all the higher, and the Mets managed to pick up Blevins on a one-year guarantee even though he reportedly sought three years himself early last offseason. Boone Logan, who also signed a one-year deal in Cleveland, was also reportedly seeking three at one point.)