The MLB trade deadline is on Monday, Aug. 1—a day later than usual since the typical date of July 31 falls on a Sunday this year.
One star in Aroldis Chapman was already traded from the New York Yankees to the Chicago Cubs well in advance of the ultimatum on deals. Whether that's a precursor to multiple big moves to come or proves to be the most noteworthy swap to go down remains to be seen.
By examining the latest buzz on those who are reportedly on the block, perhaps better inferences can be made as to what might happen as Aug. 1 approaches.
Dodgers Would Include Top Pitching Prospect in Chris Sale Offer
Imagine a future in which the Los Angeles Dodgers were able to trot out southpaw superstars Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale on back-to-back nights. What a terrifying ordeal that would be for opposing hitters.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman mentioned in his recent report that L.A. doesn't get the sense Sale will be moved. If the Chicago White Sox change their mind about Sale, though, according to Sherman, the Dodgers will sweeten their offer by featuring Julio Urias.
At only 19 years of age, Urias has already gotten the call up to the big leagues this season. Although he's struggled to a 4.69 ERA and a 1-2 record in nine starts and was optioned back to Triple-A in early July, his upside is obvious, creating a difficult dilemma for Los Angeles to deal with.
But the trade could well be worth it to land someone like Sale. He's only 27 years old and has a contract that contains club options in 2018 and 2019, per Spotrac. The Dodgers would only be on the hook for a $12 million Sale salary in 2017, too.
The only possible hangup is Sale's bizarre clubhouse behavior that got him suspended recently when he reportedly cut up the White Sox's throwback jerseys. He commented on the issue thereafter, per MLB.com's Scott Merkin:
[The '76 uniforms] are uncomfortable and unorthodox. I didn't want to go out there and not be at the top of my game in every aspect that I need to be in. Not only that, but I didn't want anything to alter my mechanics. ...There's a lot of different things that went into it. Looking bad had absolutely zero to do with it. Nothing.
Given how relatively unproven Urias is and the fact Kershaw is currently on the disabled list with a back injury, the push for Sale would make a lot of sense.
Sale is the type of talent who'd provide insurance for Kershaw in the short term, form a magnificent one-two punch down the road and give L.A. an even better chance of catching the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
In addition to Urias, though, the Dodgers could also be sacrificing much more. Today's Knuckleball's Jon Heyman reported Chicago is asking for "five top prospects" for Sale. Even if Urias' presence in a package might knock the demand down, that's a lot for L.A. to weigh.
Wade Davis, Andrew Miller Likely Will Remain with Current Teams
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that rival general managers believe Wade Davis and Andrew Miller won't be going anywhere. However, per Nightengale, both their current clubs are still listening to offers.
Davis has been dynamic out of the Kansas City Royals bullpen in recent years, while Miller has thrived as both a closer and lights-out reliever for the New York Yankees over the past two seasons.
The numbers for Davis and Miller are absurd. The former has a 1.60 ERA this season and 21 saves, while the latter has a 1.39 ERA and 77 strikeouts in only 45.1 innings and had 36 saves in 38 chances last season.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reported the Washington Nationals are prioritizing bullpen help and are honing in on the likes of both Davis and Miller after missing out on Chapman. Stark added the caveat that Davis and Miller might be too pricey for Washington to swing a trade, yet the possibility is there.
The situation in Kansas City is particularly intriguing. Coming off back-to-back World Series trips, including a triumph this past year, the Royals' 2016 playoff hopes are remote at best. Davis is also relatively inexpensive in 2017, due for a $10 million club option, per Spotrac.
If K.C. sells high on Davis now, it can probably get a lot in return for him and address other areas of the roster. Should the Royals struggle again next season, though, the situation becomes more complicated if other teams know Davis could just walk in free agency.
Still under contract at $9 million per year over the next two seasons, Miller is a less logical trade piece for the Yankees to play with, especially after dealing away Chapman.
Jay Bruce Sweepstakes Involve 'At Least 4 Clubs'
ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported on the rampant interest in the Cincinnati Reds outfielder, indicating Cincinnati has "picked up the pace" on trade discussions.
Crasnick speculated, but didn't report, that the Cleveland Indians, Giants and Dodgers are looking for more offensive firepower and could be among those talking to the Reds. Crasnick did report Wednesday the Seattle Mariners have reached out to Cincinnati.
On track to log the second-best batting average and his personal-best slugging percentage this season, Jay Bruce has been one of the few positive subplots to a woeful Reds season. He may well be the best power hitter to have his name surfaced ahead of the deadline.
Bruce has the top slugging percentage (.572), the second-most home runs (25) and the most RBI (79) among all outfielders. He bolstered to those totals with a solo blast against the Giants on Wednesday, marking the fifth straight contest logging a homer.
Fox Sports Ohio highlighted how Bruce ascended to rarefied air in tying his teammate Adam Duvall with 25 dingers on the season:
Given how much rebuilding Cincinnati has to do, it comes as little surprise that the Reds are seeking a top prospect in exchange for Bruce, per Crasnick.
Bruce has only this season guaranteed to remain on his contract. Per Spotrac, he has a $13 million club option for next season that includes a $1 million buyout. Even if his prospective new team doesn't get what it desires out of him, it'd be a rather inexpensive mistake if only one prospect were involved.
Also of note is how Bruce has a limited no-trade clause, permitting him to block trades to eight teams, none of which are mentioned in the Crasnick rumors.
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