Intrigue paves the march to the MLB trade deadline, with the hours before the cutoff point promising a flurry of deals.
The hits keep coming in advance of the deadline. One example? On Sunday, the Cleveland Indians reportedly acquired pitcher Andrew Miller from the New York Yankees, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Rosenthal dropped another recent bomb as well, reporting the Indians struck a deal for Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, pending the player’s approval.
That’s just the beginning.
With the rumors flying faster than a pitch from the recently traded Aroldis Chapman, here’s an update on notable rumblings.
MLB Trade Deadline Info
Time: 4 p.m. ET
Latest Rumors on Top Names
Rangers Shopping for Chris Sale-Type Help?
Injuries have slammed the Texas Rangers this summer, derailing one of the best teams in baseball, as names such as Colby Lewis and Derek Holland battle issues.
Sitting on only a five-game lead over the Houston Astros in the American League West, the Rangers need some help not only to keep the lead but make some noise once the playoffs roll around in case their notable players don’t recover well.
Per Rosenthal, the Rangers remain in talks with the Chicago White Sox:
Chris Sale has come up in rumors for a long time now, which isn’t much of a surprise, given the 27-year-old lefty boasts a 3.17 ERA, 133 strikeouts and a 14-4 record. On a team two games below .500, those numbers look mighty attractive.
The same goes for Jose Quintana, also 27, who has a 2.89 ERA and 125 fanned batters with just an 8-8 record. He’s the more likely of the two to get dealt right now, especially with USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale noting Chicago’s “asking price remains steep” on Sale.
The Rangers’ striking a deal with the White Sox or backing off will speak a lot to how the front office views the pitching situation, especially from a health standpoint. Chicago is proof enough that quality starters remain available; it’s the job of a team such as the Rangers to go out there and get them.
Brian McCann’s Availability
It’s acceptable to classify the New York Yankees as sellers at the deadline, especially after the Miller note above.
This makes it all the easier to see them move veteran catcher Brian McCann, given their depth at the position.
Citing sources with said depth as the reasoning, Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported the Yankees have received interest on McCann.
“The Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves are believed to be two of the teams that have talked to the Yankees. Rival general managers say they like McCann for ‘makeup’ reasons, but the Yankees would have to pay his contract down significantly. He has a full no-trade clause,” Heyman wrote.
ESPN’s Buster Olney provided further context:
As Heyman noted, the Yankees have plenty of talent at catcher already with Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez. McCann is an experienced guy who is hitting .235/.334/.430 with 15 homers and 41 RBI this year; he represents a solid upgrade for a team in need.
This one will come down to whether McCann would welcome a change in scenery thanks to his no-trade clause. At least when it comes to the Atlanta Braves (36-68), it’s not about contention when compared to the Yankees (52-51).
McCann is one of the most interesting cases on the market because he gets to decide how teams act.
Shelby Miller on the Block
It’s Shelby Miller time again in the world of trade rumors.
Miller has been a disaster since joining the Arizona Diamondbacks this year, sitting on a 7.14 ERA on 14 starts with all of 50 strikeouts and a 2-9 record. He’s struggled to the point of the team sending him down to the minor leagues.
For comparison’s sake, over each of the prior three seasons, Miller’s ERA never wavered above 3.74, and he struck out at least 127 batters.
Despite Miller’s struggles, Heyman‘s colleague Robert Murray recently revealed a new wrinkle surrounding the righty: “Trade interest in Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Shelby Miller is ‘picking up,’ but no deal is believed to be close, league sources tell Today’s Knuckleball.”
“We’ve had a ton of (interest),” said Arizona general manager Dave Stewart, according to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. “My story to them is the same: We haven’t given up on the young man.”
In an odd twist, Arizona cannot afford to give away Miller on the cheap, not after trading for him in the first place. And there’s always a chance he pitches out of this funk and gets back to his usual self, which could happen since he’s only 25 years old.
Rest assured that if a deal goes through, the buyer will have some confidence that Miller can turn his career around, making 2016 an anomaly and not the beginning of a trend. It’s something to watch based on how it could impact many teams down the road.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.
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